Keel-hauling

or -haling. A long, troublesome, and vexatious examination or repetition of annoyances from a landlord or government official. In the Dutch and many other navies, delinquents were, at one time, tied to a yard-arm with weights on their feet, and dragged by a rope under the keel of a ship, in at one side and out at the other. The result was often fatal.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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