on an even keel

Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.

e·ven 1

a. Having a horizontal surface; flat: an even floor.
b. Having no irregularities, roughness, or indentations; smooth. See Synonyms at level.
c. Being in the same plane or line; parallel: The picture is even with the window.
a. Having no variations or fluctuations; uniform: the even rhythm of his breathing.
b. Of uniform distribution: an even application of varnish.
c. Placid; calm: an even temperament.
a. Equal or identical in degree, extent, or amount: Use even amounts of butter and sugar.
b. Equally matched or balanced: an even fight.
c. Just; fair: an even bargain.
d. Having nothing due on either side; square: If we each take half, then we'll be even.
e. Having exacted full revenge: He finally got even with his betrayer.
4. Having equal probability; as likely as not: an even chance of winning.
5. Sports
a. Having an equal score: The teams are even at halftime.
b. Being equal for each opponent. Used of a score.
6. Mathematics
a. Exactly divisible by 2.
b. Characterized or indicated by a number exactly divisible by 2.
a. Having an even number in a sequence.
b. Having an even number of members.
8. Having an exact amount, extent, or number; precise: an even pound; an even foot.
a. To a greater degree or extent. Used as an intensive with comparative adjectives and adverbs: This painting is good, but that one is even better.
b. Indeed; moreover. Used as an intensive: He was happy, even ecstatic. Even a child knows better.
c. Used as an intensive to indicate something that is unexpected: declined even to consider the idea.
2. At the same time as; already; just: Even as we watched, the turtle emerged from its shell.
3. To a degree that extends; fully: loyal even unto death.
4. Exactly; precisely: It was even as he said: the jewel was gone.
tr. & intr.v. e·vened, e·ven·ing, e·vens
To make or become even.
on an even keel
In a stable or unimpaired state: "There was good reason to keep relations with Washington on an even keel" (Helen Kitchen).

[Middle English, from Old English efen.]

e′ven·er n.
e′ven·ly adv.
e′ven·ness n.

e·ven 2

n. Archaic

[Middle English, from Old English ǣfen.]
References in classic literature ?
Some ships sailed fast on an even keel, others had to be trimmed quite one foot by the stern, and I have heard of a ship that gave her best speed on a wind when so loaded as to float a couple of inches by the head.
The wind, from which we had been running away on an even keel, now caught us on our beam, and the Mary Rebecca was pressed down on her port side as if she were about to capsize.
Sticking to your normal routine as much as possible, being prepared, and centering yourself with time for journal writing can help to keep you on an even keel.