There are 3 definitions of heel in English:

heel1

Line breaks: heel
Pronunciation: /hiːl
 
/

noun

1The back part of the human foot below the ankle.
More example sentences
  • Knees are bent and held in front of the chest, with the heels positioned below the hips.
  • This pointing pulls the heel and ankle bones forward putting a great deal of rubbing on the skin on top of the ankle bones and over the tendon in front of the ankle.
  • The commonest ankle sprain is when the heel or foot turn inwards in relation to the lower leg, overstretching the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
1.1The back part of the foot in vertebrate animals.
More example sentences
  • From its surprisingly small feet spread white, feathery wings at its heels.
  • These animals also have spurred heels, but these appear to be a feature of both sexes in the young, the females losing them as they mature.
  • If you can (and your horse will stand for you), try drying off their heels with a hair dryer on a cool setting after the once weekly wash.
1.2The part of a shoe or boot supporting the heel: shoes with low heels
More example sentences
  • They are a plain looking, solid sort of shoe with a chunky heel, quite rigid support and come in an infinite range of colours and limited editions.
  • Mine are presently a half-inch above the heel of my shoes.
  • A shoe with a distinct heel will be much, much easier to walk in.
Synonyms
wedge, wedge heel, stiletto, stiletto heel, platform heel, spike heel, Cuban heel, kitten heel, Louis heel, stacked heel
1.3The part of a sock covering the heel.
More example sentences
  • As he stood with one foot on the top step, it was quite obvious that he had a hole the size of a silver dollar in the right heel of his maroon sock.
  • Changing out of his painting clothes after a somewhat disappointing day in his studio, he noticed the worn spot on the heel of his sock.
  • Your sock's heel should fit snugly around your heel.
1.4 (heels) High-heeled shoes.
More example sentences
  • The three inch brown suede heels seemed like sneakers on her joyous feet.
  • She wore a short black dress, her black walking heels, and a tight red cardigan with just the middle button done up over the dress.
  • People don't seem to understand that modeling is not just getting on the catwalk and walking in heels.
2The part of the palm of the hand next to the wrist: he rubbed the heel of his hand against the window
More example sentences
  • I closed my eyes a moment, rubbing the center of my forehead - just between my eyebrows - with the heel of my palm.
  • Claire sniffles, rubbing at her eyes with the heel of her palm.
  • He rubbed his eye with the heel of his palm and smiled widely.
3A thing resembling a heel in form or position, in particular:
3.1The end of a violin bow at which it is held.
3.2The part of the head of a golf club nearest the shaft.
More example sentences
  • Irons from the 1930s, for example, had a center of gravity high on the clubface and well toward the heel.
  • The iron's center of gravity is toward the heel and higher than in the company's more forgiving irons.
  • On the first tee, he hit a shot off the heel and almost hit somebody's head in the gallery.
3.3A crusty end of a loaf of bread, or the rind of a cheese.
More example sentences
  • He seized the heel of black bread that was resting next to the bowl, scraped out the inside, and dipped it in the soup.
  • She plopped down her bowl of stew and heel of crusty bread, holding the mug of cider in her hand as she sat.
  • He had just finished soaking up the last of his roast beef with a heel of bread.
Synonyms
tail end, crust, end, remnant, remainder, remains, stump, butt, vestige
3.4A piece of the main stem of a plant left attached to the base of a cutting.
4 informal , dated An inconsiderate or untrustworthy man: what kind of a heel do you think I am?
More example sentences
  • Chief Executives have gone from heroes in gray pinstriped suits to heels in orange jumpsuits.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Fit or renew a heel on (a shoe or boot): they were soling and heeling heavy working boots
More example sentences
  • In fact, if you are dining there he will lend you a pair of flip-flops to get back to your chair while he heels your soles.
2(Of a dog) follow closely behind its owner: these dogs are born with the instinctive urge to heel
More example sentences
  • Once your puppy is heeling properly, it's time to teach him to sit.
  • Now I let it off the chain and it follows me everywhere, obediently heeling.
  • Three weeks ago, Mary appeared on the TV programme, teaching a dog how to heel to a TV theme tune.
3 Rugby Push or kick (the ball) out of the back of the scrum with one’s heel: the ball was eventually heeled out
More example sentences
  • They swiftly heeled a scrum on the champions' line, and Thomson cleverly waited while he assessed his options.
  • Within ten minutes, the ball is heeled by the Scottish forwards and sent out to the wing.
  • Such preliminary use of a foot would be a new skill to today's players, though much of the time it would merely amount to heeling the ball with the feet in a concerted rucking drive.
4 Golf Strike (the ball) with the heel of the club.
More example sentences
  • I heeled the shot and hit a line drive through the fence and into the putting green area.
5 [no object] Touch the ground with the heel when dancing: they got into lines and began to heel, toe, and then jump together

exclamation

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A command to a dog to walk close behind its owner.
More example sentences
  • ‘Heel’ I said and Rusty obeyed.
  • I was getting a little scared I wouldn't get her back so I shouted ‘HEEL!’

Origin

Old English hēla, hǣla, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hiel, also to hough.

Phrases

at (or to) heel

(Of a dog) close to and slightly behind its owner.
More example sentences
  • Their big shaggy sheepdogs with matted pelts stayed close at heel.
  • Off he would set on his rounds with his faithful collie dog at heel and following, some way behind, was the goat.
  • By the end of the song, which has no tune whatsoever, and a performance from the singer that could bring dogs to heel, you feel a bit like squealing and pulling a wacky face yourself.

at (or on) the heels of

Following closely after: he headed off with Sammy at his heels
More example sentences
  • Following hard on the heels of the German jazz group is an Indian jazz pianist.
  • The move follows hard on the heels of an acquisition which has seen business gains in the west of Scotland.
  • The move follows hot on the heels of two other UK acquisitions by the company in recent weeks.

bring someone to heel

Bring someone under control: a threat that brought Edward to heel
More example sentences
  • There was no government watchdog to thank for bringing him to heel.
  • If we don't enforce the Act to that end, then the courts will bring us to heel.
  • If the perpetrators come from a few districts and some dubious ‘communes’, it's difficult to understand why the forces of law and order have not been able to bring them to heel.
Synonyms
subjugate, conquer, vanquish, defeat, crush, quell, quash, gain mastery over, gain ascendancy over, gain control of, bring under the yoke, bring someone to their knees, overcome, overpower; tame, break

cool (or British kick) one's heels

Be kept waiting: he could cool his heels an hour or two longer
More example sentences
  • Their ages meant they were part of the groups of teenage boys who hung around, kicking their heels and getting bored.
  • Life companies have come under intense pressure to reduce their exposure to stock markets, leaving activist fund managers kicking their heels.
  • The three-week break from rugby union has given most injuries time to heal, but York faced the prospect of kicking their heels for another week.

in the heel of the hunt

Irish At the last minute; finally: in the heel of the hunt, the outcome of the match was decided by a penalty
More example sentences
  • If the instant experts continue on their merry way, giving the deaf ear to the voice of reason and experience, the players will be the biggest losers in the heel of the hunt when injury strikes, aided and abetted by a shorn pitch.
  • But, in the heel of the hunt, I'd much prefer the smoking ban as currently mooted to be implemented.
  • The catalogue of blunders at either end would have filled a notebook, but in the heel of the hunt both should give thanks for a reasonably safe delivery, even if one or the other might regret the two points left behind.

kick up one's heels

North American Have a lively, enjoyable time.
More example sentences
  • She had no idea of the paces we would put her through or do but by Wednesday she was dancing, kicking up her heels, doing a whole number, a tango thing with the dancers.
  • Steamboat Springs is also known for its western hospitality so bring your cowboy boots and belt buckles, kick up your heels, and be prepared to enjoy yourself.
  • Do you kids feel that you need to kick up your heels?

set (or rock) someone back on their heels

Astonish or disconcert someone: she said something that rocked me back on my heels
More example sentences
  • Then, just as the team seemed to be establishing a foothold, two interceptions set them back on their heels.
  • A tremendous drive set them back on their heels, forcing them to concede a penalty.
  • They counter attack from deep in their own defence and our forwards should have been tackling them with a ferocity that would have disrupted them and rocked them back on their heels near their own lines.

take to one's heels

Run away.
More example sentences
  • They stopped and searched the youth, finding nothing, but he was so frightened by the confrontation he took to his heels.
  • A horse standing there took to his heels in fear and galloped 200 yards at full speed round the fenced area.
  • Mr Robinson then felt convinced that something serious was about to take place, and he took to his heels and ran for it.
Synonyms
run away, run off, make a run for it, run for it, take flight, make off, take off, make a break for it, bolt, flee, beat a (hasty) retreat, make a quick exit, make one's getaway, escape, head for the hills
informal beat it, clear off, clear out, vamoose, skedaddle, split, cut and run, leg it, hightail it, hotfoot it, show a clean pair of heels, turn tail, scram, hook it, fly the coop, skip off, do a fade
British informal do a runner, scarper, do a bunk
North American informal light out, bug out, cut out, peel out, take a powder, skidoo
Australian informal go through, shoot through
archaic fly, levant

turn on one's heel

Turn sharply round: he turned on his heel and strode out
More example sentences
  • Her friends were there now so she just turned on her heel and walked away round the corner.
  • With that, she swiftly turned on her heel and disappeared as she rounded the corner to her destination.
  • He turns on his heel and walks off toward the street.

under the heel of

Dominated or controlled by: a population under the heel of a military dictatorship
More example sentences
  • Have those societies, tribes, castes, and languages of the Low Life of New York disappeared under the heel of gentrification, or are writers just not working hard enough these days as chroniclers?
  • He has seen his country crushed under the heel of a ‘liberating’ force which has destroyed its monasteries, killed its religious leaders, and done its best to obliterate its native culture.
  • As the Iron Curtain fell across Europe after the end of the war, Poland was swept behind it and under the heel of Joseph Stalin - a dictator as cruel as Adolf Hitler was.

Derivatives

heeled

adjective
[in combination]: high-heeled shoes

heelless

adjective
More example sentences
  • By the early 19th century women dancers began to wear the new thin, heelless, satin ballet slipper, tied with ribbons around the ankle and stiffened at the toe by rows of darning.
  • Under the overcoat, she wore a blue skirt and a white blouse and thick stockings and heelless black shoes.
  • For instance, the Prince in Swan Lake wears heelless character boots.

Definition of heel in:

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Pronunciation: fɪˌɔːrɪˈt(j)ʊərə
noun
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There are 3 definitions of heel in English:

heel2

Line breaks: heel
Pronunciation: /hiːl
 
/

verb

[no object]
1(Of a boat or ship) lean over owing to the pressure of wind or an uneven load: the boat heeled in the freshening breeze the Mary Rose heeled over and sank in 1545 Compare with list2.
More example sentences
  • As the wind increased, the yacht heeled over to a precarious angle and its bow was being continually submerged by the oncoming swell.
  • The worst thing, we agreed, was putting on the oilskins in such conditions, whether on a fishing boat or a yacht heeled well over and battering her way into a difficult sea.
  • Even as he spoke, the ship heeled over in the rising wind, and he moaned.
Synonyms
lean over, list, cant, careen, tilt, tip, incline, slant, slope, keel over, be at an angle
1.1 [with object] Cause (a boat or ship) to lean over: the boat was heeled over so far that water sloshed over the gunwales
More example sentences
  • Placed too high up on a sailboat's mast, the radar might miss seeing a nearby target on the windward side when a boat is heeled over.

noun

Back to top  
1An instance of a ship heeling.
More example sentences
  • This system is designed to compensate for wind and heel and control roll, yaw and surge.
1.1 [mass noun] The degree of incline of a ship’s leaning measured from the vertical.
More example sentences
  • This would result in a boat that has identical stability to that of the standard boat up to 38-40 degrees of heel.
  • She knew what the best angle of heel was for a swift passage.

Origin

late 16th century: from obsolete heeld, hield 'incline', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hellen.

Definition of heel in:

There are 3 definitions of heel in English:

heel3

Line breaks: heel
Pronunciation: /hiːl
 
/

verb

[with object] (heel something in)
Set a plant in the ground and cover its roots: the plants can be heeled in together in a sheltered spot
More example sentences
  • Of course if the weather is very cold when your plants arrive, this is the only option for them, since if it's too cold for planting then it's also too cold to heel plants in.
  • They're bare roots and so far I've left them packed in their plastic bags and in the garage, but as I don't have their permanent containers yet I will need to heel them in today.
  • Find a way to heel it in in such a way that the amount of sun and wind the root ball receives is minimal.

Origin

Old English helian 'cover, hide', of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin celare 'hide'.

Definition of heel in: