Main definitions of heel in English

: heel1heel2heel3

heel1

noun

  • 1The back part of the human foot below the ankle.

    • ‘Knees are bent and held in front of the chest, with the heels positioned below the hips.’
    • ‘This causes the foot to be sharply angled at the heel, with the foot pointing up and outward.’
    • ‘The ability, and willingness, to fall forward from your ankles while keeping your heel down is key.’
    • ‘She had broken her shin bone and fractured the inside of her ankle and heel.’
    • ‘Slight changes in pressure in your toes, heels and ankles are enough to manoeuvre you and the board in the correct direction.’
    • ‘The balls of your feet should be on the platform, with your heels slightly below.’
    • ‘Instead, he prescribes taking a stance with your heels directly below your body and focusing on keeping your torso upright.’
    • ‘Then push your foot all the way up in the boot - when you flex the ankle, the heel shouldn't slide up more than half an inch.’
    • ‘Grasp the foot of your injured leg with your hand and slowly pull your heel up to your buttocks.’
    • ‘Start with both heels on the floor and point your feet upward as high as you can.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the phantom pains are coming on strong the illusion is complete; I can feel my toes, my heel and my ankle even if I can't see them.’
    • ‘Briefly, subjects stood with their heel, calf, buttocks, back, and head fixed with a strap against a vertical backboard.’
    • ‘Instead of merely cushioning the user's foot, the Pump system offers a custom fit while protecting the heel, the ankle and the collar area of the foot.’
    • ‘If I were to try to locate the sensations I'd say they were at the bottom of my leg in my heel / ankle/toes.’
    • ‘My legs and feet drew a lot of attention, especially my ankles and heels.’
    • ‘The tendon is attached to the back of the heel and is pulled by two muscles in the calf.’
    • ‘Then, she began to wrap it firmly around her ankle, starting at the heel of her foot and going half way to her knee.’
    • ‘The classic swelling of the toes, heels, ankles, and wrists was labelled ‘regular gout’.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 The back part of the foot in vertebrate animals.
      • ‘From its surprisingly small feet spread white, feathery wings at its heels.’
      • ‘Cows' heels would not seem to be plump, fruitful, delicious or in any way edible but, strangely enough, they are considered a delicacy by some, especially in Barbuda.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 The part of a shoe or boot supporting the heel.
      ‘shoes with low heels’
      • ‘As for the sole, the wedge heel has crept into men's shoe styles.’
      • ‘In interviews with police officers I wore a skirt, blouse, tights, shoes with a slight heel, and a little make-up.’
      • ‘Instead of the flats women normally wore, the heel of the shoe was extended a good deal so it appeared that they wearer would be walking on their toes.’
      • ‘Wood floors must be adequately protected from damp and soft timbers can be easily gouged by heels, chair legs and animal claws.’
      • ‘He crushed his cigarette stub out beneath the heel of his shoe.’
      • ‘Mine are presently a half-inch above the heel of my shoes.’
      • ‘No one returns a pair of Gucci shoes claiming that the heel isn't durable.’
      • ‘The heel of her shoe broke off, but she ran up the stairs anyway.’
      • ‘Shoes should have adequate arch support and cushioned heels.’
      • ‘A low heel is more professional than flats or high heels.’
      • ‘A shoe with a distinct heel will be much, much easier to walk in.’
      • ‘He ground the heel of his shoe into the feebly sparking wire and scowled.’
      • ‘As the heel of my shoe tapped against the ground it made a click like noise, which echoed through the long narrow corridor.’
      • ‘It started when I kicked my right ankle with the heel of my left shoe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He scuffed a pit in the snow with the heel of his shoe.’
      • ‘I spun around on the heel of the shoes and almost collapsed into a bar stool, but luckily the counter was there for me to catch.’
      • ‘The authors recommend shoes with low heels or better still, none at all.’
      • ‘I step on it with the heel of my shoe - I certainly didn't miss them.’
      • ‘Are women as focused on those things as they are with getting, say, the newest Gucci shoes with bamboo heels?’
      wedge, wedge heel, stiletto, stiletto heel, platform heel, spike heel, cuban heel, kitten heel, louis heel, stacked heel
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 The part of a sock covering the heel.
      • ‘Your sock's heel should fit snugly around your heel.’
      • ‘The heel is a double knitted fabric, which I think helps the sock to stay up since it pulls the fabric in at the ankles.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4heels High-heeled shoes.
      • ‘She wore a tailored black pantsuit, black heels, and double strands of pearls around her neck and one wrist.’
      • ‘He dived into my closet and re-emerged with a floating black skirt, a dark scarlet tank-top, and black heels.’
      • ‘She was wearing an off white gown with matching heels, and her hair hung down over her shoulders.’
      • ‘I stood there a moment longer, teetering on my heels, my stomach lurching and twisting, waiting for him to turn around and see me.’
      • ‘I strained in my heels to make our lips meet but he turned his head before they could.’
      • ‘By time I made it to the stairs, I slipped on my heels and felt a hem in my dress tear.’
      • ‘She was jogging in a pair of bright red heels, matching tank top, and a white, linen skirt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She looked perfect, wearing a vintage summer dress with heels, her blonde hair framing her face in gentle waves.’
      • ‘She wanted to look into his eyes but that would mean raising her head and if she did that, because he was so near and she was wearing heels, her lips would be mere centimetres from his.’
      • ‘She was dressed in a gray wool skirt and white shirt and black heels, not very fashionable, very plain, even for my taste.’
      • ‘She purred before turning in her mini skirt and heels and heading down the hall.’
      • ‘She slipped on a pair of heels, twisted her hair up in a clip, and gracefully walked out of her room.’
      • ‘The three inch brown suede heels seemed like sneakers on her joyous feet.’
      • ‘She was quite tall, wearing a long black dress with heels, and her hair was cut into a short ‘bob’.’
      • ‘Standing there in front of the mirror in my dress and heels, with my hair and make-up done, I felt way overdressed for anything.’
      • ‘People don't seem to understand that modeling is not just getting on the catwalk and walking in heels.’
      • ‘She sort of remembered wearing the camisole and heels maybe once or twice, but the pants and scarf seemed to be brand new.’
      • ‘She wore a red tank top with a dark blue jean miniskirt accompanied with black heels.’
      • ‘Her clothes matched with her hair, consisting of a short black skirt, green shirt, and black heels.’
  • 2The part of the palm of the hand next to the wrist.

    ‘he rubbed the heel of his hand against the window’
    • ‘I closed my eyes, pressing the heel of my palm against my forehead.’
    • ‘The palm heel should rest just above the horizontal line linking the eyebrow with the base of the ear.’
    • ‘He leaned back against the wall, shut his eyes, and gently bashed the heel of his palm into his forehead.’
    • ‘The older fighter stood there in an empty stance as if he were simply holding a conversation, until the moment she struck at his chest with the heel of her left palm.’
    • ‘He stopped and smacked himself in the forehead with the heel of his hand.’
    • ‘Luckily, the heel of her palm caught her before she hit the stone ground.’
    • ‘Before slamming the heel of his palm into the front door he closes his eyes to imagine the silence that will sweep over his eagerly awaiting audience as he walks onto center stage.’
    • ‘It's executed with the inside edge of your hand where your thumb is, not the meaty part near the heel of the palm.’
    • ‘The sting of fingernails in the heel of my hand told me that my fist was clenched.’
    • ‘I closed my eyes a moment, rubbing the center of my forehead - just between my eyebrows - with the heel of my palm.’
    • ‘The young cadet clutched his head, hammering the heel of his palm against his forehead.’
    • ‘Pressing the heels of my palms against my eyes I tried to shut out the threatening tears and held my breath to keep from weeping.’
    • ‘Kneel at his or her feet, put the heel of one hand above his or her navel, put the other hand over your fist with the fingers of both hands pointing toward his or her head.’
    • ‘He sighed and dropped his forehead against the heel of his hand, digging the spoon into his bowl.’
    • ‘She shoved the heels of her palms into her eyes as fresh tears flowed.’
    • ‘He closed his eyes, pressing the heels of his palms to his forehead.’
    • ‘He rubbed his eye with the heel of his palm and smiled widely.’
    • ‘Claire sniffles, rubbing at her eyes with the heel of her palm.’
    • ‘I fell quiet, rubbing the heels of my hands over my face.’
    • ‘He struck her in the chest with the heel of his palm and Liz staggered backwards.’
  • 3The end of a violin bow at which it is held.

    1. 3.1 The part of the head of a golf club nearest the shaft.
      • ‘Some golfers hit it off the heel because they dip their upper bodies toward the ball during the swing.’
      • ‘In a poor set-up position, the heel of the putter is off the ground; my left wrist is arched and my left elbow is well away from my side.’
      • ‘This causes the heel of the clubface to make contact with the ball first, producing sidespin and, presto, a slice.’
      • ‘I have no idea why the club is not working for you, but there is no harm in adding some lead tape to the back of the head, a little toward the heel.’
      • ‘On the first tee, he hit a shot off the heel and almost hit somebody's head in the gallery.’
      • ‘The iron's center of gravity is toward the heel and higher than in the company's more forgiving irons.’
      • ‘As a result, the heel of the club was digging into the sand.’
      • ‘Jeff said at first it felt uncomfortable, as if his hands were higher and the heel of his club was off the ground.’
      • ‘To maintain the loft, feel as if the heel of the club leads the shot.’
      • ‘Irons from the 1930s, for example, had a center of gravity high on the clubface and well toward the heel.’
      • ‘The guy had caught it so far in on the heel that the ball had literally rolled between his legs.’
      • ‘Adding weight to the heel area helps the clubface rotate, or close, through impact.’
    2. 3.2 A piece of the main stem of a plant left attached to the base of a cutting.
    3. 3.3 A crusty end of a loaf of bread, or the rind of a cheese.
      • ‘He seized the heel of black bread that was resting next to the bowl, scraped out the inside, and dipped it in the soup.’
      • ‘He had just finished soaking up the last of his roast beef with a heel of bread.’
      • ‘She plopped down her bowl of stew and heel of crusty bread, holding the mug of cider in her hand as she sat.’
      • ‘Diana was counting the tiny cracks branching off of the main one when a dirty hand thrust a heel of bread under her nose.’
      • ‘Such behaviour is just unfathomable to me, like throwing out the heel of the bread or cutting the fat off rashers.’
      tail end, crust, end, remnant, remainder, remains, stump, butt, vestige
      View synonyms
  • 4dated, informal An inconsiderate or untrustworthy person.

    ‘what kind of a heel do you think I am?’
    • ‘Chief Executives have gone from heroes in gray pinstriped suits to heels in orange jumpsuits.’
    1. 4.1 (in professional wrestling) a wrestler who adopts a mean or unsympathetic persona in the ring.
      ‘he played the perfect wrestling heel, arrogant, overly aggressive, yet the first to run away when the odds are not in his favour’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Fit or renew a heel on (a shoe or boot)

    ‘they were soling and heeling heavy working boots’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘Once your puppy is heeling properly, it's time to teach him to sit.’
    • ‘Three weeks ago, Mary appeared on the TV programme, teaching a dog how to heel to a TV theme tune.’
    • ‘Now I let it off the chain and it follows me everywhere, obediently heeling.’
  • 3Rugby
    Push or kick (the ball) out of the back of the scrum with one's heel.

    ‘the ball was eventually heeled out’
    • ‘Within ten minutes, the ball is heeled by the Scottish forwards and sent out to the wing.’
    • ‘They swiftly heeled a scrum on the champions' line, and Thomson cleverly waited while he assessed his options.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4Golf
    Strike (the ball) with the heel of the club.

    • ‘I heeled the shot and hit a line drive through the fence and into the putting green area.’
  • 5no object Touch the ground with the heel when dancing.

    ‘they got into lines and began to heel, toe, and then jump together’

exclamation

  • A command to a dog to walk close behind its owner.

    • ‘‘Heel’ I said and Rusty obeyed.’
    • ‘I was getting a little scared I wouldn't get her back so I shouted ‘HEEL!’’

Phrases

  • at (or to) heel

    • (of a dog) close to and slightly behind its owner.

      • ‘I want to do nothing more than watch the children go roller-skating by, or simply observe that healthy, handsome bloke cross the road with his big, black dog at heel.’
      • ‘Their big shaggy sheepdogs with matted pelts stayed close at heel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are several ways to teach your dog to walk to heel, but you should choose and stick to one to avoid confusing him.’
      • ‘Off he would set on his rounds with his faithful collie dog at heel and following, some way behind, was the goat.’
  • at (or on) the heels of

    • Following closely after.

      ‘he headed off with Sammy at his heels’
      • ‘The move follows hard on the heels of an acquisition which has seen business gains in the west of Scotland.’
      • ‘It follows on the heels of another decision to raise the economic output of the region up to the national average.’
      • ‘It's closure follows on the heels of a number of other high profile shut-downs.’
      • ‘The move follows hot on the heels of two other UK acquisitions by the company in recent weeks.’
      • ‘Hot on its heels is a seriously perturbed tortoise racing for the horizon in this Costa Rican forest.’
      • ‘Set to follow hot on the heels of leafy displays are the ultimate in chic garden greenery: green flowers.’
      • ‘They come hard on the heels of a compliment from a spectator or another player.’
      • ‘The announcements come hard on the heels of the end of the strike on March 9.’
      • ‘The trainer was philosophical about his victory coming hard on the heels of his loss.’
      • ‘There it follows hard on the heels of introductions to the academic essay and the personal essay.’
      • ‘This latest incident followed close on the heels of a robbery last week.’
      • ‘This followed on the heels of a teacher who wrote a prayer for a student to give during an end of year banquet.’
      • ‘On the heels of the Crusades, a new attitude towards women began to manifest itself in Europe.’
      • ‘Following hard on the heels of the German jazz group is an Indian jazz pianist.’
      • ‘Hard on the heels of this competition will follow the Spanish Open at the same location.’
      • ‘These come hard on the heels of the revolt over foundation hospitals.’
      • ‘The success of the first one had brought another on its heels.’
      • ‘Disaster follows on the heels of calamity for the northernmost part of North America.’
      • ‘Last week's announcement in Cork came hard on the heels of another important development in June.’
      • ‘The deal follows hot on the heels of last month's agreement for an exact twin company in Austria.’
  • bring someone to heel

    • Bring someone under control.

      ‘a threat that brought Edward to heel’
      • ‘The result is an increasingly difficult relationship between the US and British governments on one side and Western journalists, who are not used to being brought to heel, on the other.’
      • ‘Should the Internet be brought to heel now whilst there is still time, or should it be treated like other mediums, such as magazines and videos, in which some uses are deemed a necessary evil?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When a similar party (Austrian Freedom Party) became a coalition partner in Austria, the EU took immediate action to bring them to heel.’
      • ‘Will I knuckle under and write nothing about the Treasurer that isn't positive, or will a threatening call to my boss's boss be needed to bring me to heel?’
      • ‘This was the man who had promised the Council of the Wise that he could bring me to heel.’
      • ‘Adopted in Britain in 1999, they are now regarded as the only way in which young thugs who terrorise neighbourhoods without actually breaking the law can be brought to heel.’
      • ‘If we don't enforce the Act to that end, then the courts will bring us to heel.’
      • ‘Where spoilers are identified, peacekeepers must be able to engage in robust and aggressive action to bring them to heel.’
      • ‘There was no government watchdog to thank for bringing him to heel.’
      • ‘But, on occasion, it was also necessary to bring them to heel.’
      • ‘If youngsters and teenagers are so out of control that we have to roll up our streets at midnight just to bring them to heel, we've missed the point.’
      • ‘I doubt it, but it is good to see ordinary citizens rising up, through the criminal justice system, to bring the Democratic Party to heel.’
      • ‘This is, of course, hostile to the world of those with ‘abstract reasons’ who wanted him to bring the world to heel.’
      • ‘These are people who, whether they were guilty or not, were targeted by very powerful forces determined to bring them to heel.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • in the heel of the hunt

    • At the last minute; finally.

      ‘in the heel of the hunt, the outcome of the match was decided by a penalty’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both teams deserve credit for their open play and in the heel of the hunt United deserved their win.’
      • ‘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.’
  • kick one's heels

    • Pass time idly while having to wait for someone or something.

      ‘the midfielder has been kicking his heels on the sidelines this season’
  • kick up one's heels

    • Have a lively, enjoyable time.

      • ‘All let their worries go, and went back to their young days kicking up their heels, and having a ball.’
      • ‘With the women in one circle (no one to impress now girls so we can just kick up our heels!) and the men in another, the guests whirl the bride and groom around, dancing with them and surrounding them with concentric circles of joy.’
      • ‘Diane, who passed away in early June, after an awe-inspiring battle with pancreatic cancer, would have, as one press member put it, ‘shrugged her shoulders,’ then gone off to kick up her heels from pure joy!’
      • ‘Once you have reached a stage of utter bliss, kick off the comfy shoes, kick up your heels and head for any of the bars or nightclubs where you can work off your sumptuous meal by dancing the night away.’
      • ‘The mother-daughter duo kick up their heels and kick off the second season of their reality show tomorrow.’
      • ‘At 95, that merry widow is still kicking up her heels.’
      • ‘But while property sharks may be kicking up their heels, small-time Plateau landowners and their tenants are bearing the brunt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They chase each other around, climb over stuff - they're so happy they want to kick up their heels.’
      • ‘It was a warm night but people seemed to want to kick up their heels.’
      • ‘Lees did have some time to kick up her heels outside of the classroom as well.’
      • ‘Do you kids feel that you need to kick up your heels?’
      • ‘But the young ones had something entirely different in mind, and proceeded to run, buck, and twirl on the ice, kicking up their heels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wear clothes you wouldn't want your neighbours to see, get a henna tattoo, have a few drinks, kick up your heels and most important of all… smile at strangers and meet the locals!’
      • ‘‘No,’ I reply, ‘it's for people like you and me who want to kick up our heels at a certain age.’’
      • ‘His men were playing a banjo tune and kicking up their heels.’
      • ‘Smelling the roses and kicking up your heels while you are still young enough to enjoy it is an aim for many hard-working professionals.’
  • set (or rock) someone back on their heels

    • Astonish or disconcert someone.

      ‘she said something that rocked me back on my heels’
      • ‘An early goal could have rocked Brighton 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.’
      • ‘Then, just as the team seemed to be establishing a foothold, two interceptions set them back on their heels.’
      • ‘But the home side seemed galvanised early on, some ferocious tackling rocking Queensland back on their heels.’
  • take to one's heels

    • Run away.

      • ‘While many traders took to their heels, others managed to hide the endangered species.’
      • ‘With that, Kate took to her heels and ran, making sure to nudge Sam a little off-balance before she went.’
      • ‘Upset and shouting, Buck took to his heels and dashed out of the room, the wooden door banging on its hinges behind him as his cowboy boots clattered on the timber porch.’
      • ‘They abandoned their plans for the night's entertainment and took to their heels, praying the alley had an open end.’
      • ‘Even small children and young girls turn out to watch the fun; no wonder they are chased away and take to their heels.’
      • ‘We took to our heels across the bridge and shifted back into our positions with the rest of the column.’
      • ‘They stopped and searched the youth, finding nothing, but he was so frightened by the confrontation he took to his heels.’
      • ‘They took to their heels, fleeing into the surrounding bush.’
      • ‘Then, all at once, the two took to their heels and ran off.’
      • ‘When negotiation and a verbal retreat, however undignified, is not an option, I take to my heels.’
      • ‘I took to my heels and ran in and they started running too.’
      • ‘A horse standing there took to his heels in fear and galloped 200 yards at full speed round the fenced area.’
      • ‘When he took to his heels, some petrol splashed on his clothing.’
      • ‘If something creepy appeared on the television he would get to his feet and politely leave, taking to his heels like a scalded cat.’
      • ‘Ignoring a cab waiting at the kerb, in her desperation to get away from what seemed like a nightmare Iris took to her heels and ran.’
      • ‘Six months ago, he also made a gang of car thieves take to their heels when he grabbed them by the ankles.’
      • ‘Mr Robinson then felt convinced that something serious was about to take place, and he took to his heels and ran for it.’
      • ‘He began to embrace her but she fought him off, taking to her heels again.’
      • ‘When she was out of sight, the man also took to his heels in case the woman quickly found out what was contained in the plastic bag and followed him.’
      • ‘Then, overcome by bravery, we took to our heels and ran.’
      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 retreat, beat a hasty retreat, make a quick exit, make one's getaway, escape, head for the hills
      View synonyms
  • turn on one's heel

    • Turn sharply round.

      ‘he turned on his heel and strode out’
      • ‘Steven turned on his heel and stalked off to the kitchen leaving his dad to wonder what was going on.’
      • ‘At which point he turned on his heel and continued down the carriage.’
      • ‘Val had to listen to some ridiculous questions at that meeting, and I don't blame him for turning on his heel and leaving.’
      • ‘And then you have to turn on your heel and go back the way you came.’
      • ‘Each one of them wanted to meet the challenge, but I had to explain to them quite fast what I wanted from them, to stop them turning on their heel.’
      • ‘The day I stand up and address a jury and my stomach isn't churning then I will just turn on my heel and walk out of court and never come back.’
      • ‘When they issue an order, I might question it a little bit, but pretty soon I'm going to salute, turn on my heel, and execute it.’
      • ‘They parted like the Red Sea and I stepped past them, then turned on my heel so that I could keep an eye on the fight.’
      • ‘Mr Bright said he ‘then pounded his fists on the bar, turned on his heel and stormed out’.’
      • ‘He turns on his heel and walks off toward the street.’
      • ‘She turns on her heel and quickly returns with our drinks in small, metallic pots and chipped mugs.’
      • ‘So go he does, turning on his heel and slinking out with the cringe of a dog that's been kicked one too many times.’
      • ‘After a few moments demanding cash, the eight-times married actress turned on her heel and disappeared into the back of a black limo.’
      • ‘Her friends were there now so she just turned on her heel and walked away round the corner.’
      • ‘I turned on my heel, into the lounge and ordered a bottle.’
      • ‘If I were to walk into a place of business tomorrow and discover that you were the one with whom I must interview, I would turn on my heel immediately and never return.’
      • ‘And with that, I turned on my heel and walked out the back door.’
      • ‘He turned on his heel to leave the room, the applause ringing out behind him.’
      • ‘My friend turns on his heel and exits the quiet, comfortable train.’
      • ‘With that, she swiftly turned on her heel and disappeared as she rounded the corner to her destination.’
  • under the heel of

    • Dominated or controlled by.

      ‘a population under the heel of a military dictatorship’
      • ‘Museums, artists and society in general face the threat of coming under the heel of an extreme right-wing bureaucracy in Washington and elsewhere.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The company, which now specialises in the manufacture and distribution of personal care and cosmetic products, has been under the heel of its bankers for some time now.’
      • ‘One of the reasons we watch movies is to escape from real life into a world where the good guys in the white hats win in the end, where the guy gets the girl, and where visionary entrepreneurs aren't ground under the heel of corporate America.’
      • ‘Of course, feminists would argue that the idea that men are now crushed under the heel of power-wielding, all-controlling women is complete rubbish.’
      • ‘The various planets have united under one political umbrella after a bitter war that saw those planets that craved independence crushed under the heel of centralisation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I guess it's just the fate of men, to be under the heel of beautiful women.’
      • ‘The president explicitly declares that the population, which has barely avoided coming under the heel of a military dictatorship, must not be told about the conspiracy, because it would create disorder!’
      • ‘It tells of a nation struggling to be born under the heel of oppression.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

heel

/hiːl/

Main definitions of heel in English

: heel1heel2heel3

heel2

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’
    Compare with list
    ‘the Mary Rose heeled over and sank in 1545’
    • ‘As the wind increased, the yacht heeled over to a precarious angle and its bow was being continually submerged by the oncoming swell.’
    • ‘The wind caught the sails with a dull boom and the ship heeled about, tacking into the westerly breeze sweeping across the lake.’
    • ‘As he was waiting, the boat suddenly heeled over.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the galley righted itself, another wave struck from the other side, and the ship heeled over so far its mainsail almost touched the water.’
    • ‘Suddenly the boat heeled to an angle of 45° under a gust of wind from the port side, catching me unprepared and out of position.’
    • ‘Julia, who had never set foot on a ship before, clutched the rigging in alarm when the ship first heeled over with the stiff breeze.’
    • ‘Entering a small type of entrance, the ship was about to anchor when we heeled over for a brief instant.’
    • ‘The boat heeled over hard as they hit the opposing wind that circulated in harbour.’
    • ‘My favourite memory of a tall ship is standing at the helm of the Lord Nelson under full sail, feeling her heel over in a stiff breeze until her port deck was awash.’
    • ‘When we hit bad weather in the open ocean, and the whole boat was heeling at an angle not conducive to sleep or gravity, the trainees would often get scared, and panicky - which sometimes translated into aggression and violence.’
    • ‘The two vessels clung together for less than a minute before the Umpire heeled to port and went down.’
    • ‘‘The yacht was heeling over at 35 degrees, and the effort to get up the steps was beyond belief,’ she says.’
    • ‘As the conditions worsened, said Mr Pritchard, the boat heeled over on to her side twice, injuring two crewmen.’
    • ‘A great gasp went up as the ship listed heavily, and looked as though she would heel over completely.’
    • ‘Even as he spoke, the ship heeled over in the rising wind, and he moaned.’
    lean over, list, cant, careen, tilt, tip, incline, slant, slope, keel over, be at an angle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Cause (a boat or ship) to lean over.
      ‘the boat was heeled over so far that water sloshed over the gunwales’
      • ‘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

  • 1An instance of a ship heeling.

    • ‘This system is designed to compensate for wind and heel and control roll, yaw and surge.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The degree of incline of a ship's leaning measured from the vertical.
      • ‘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.

Pronunciation

heel

/hiːl/

Main definitions of heel in English

: heel1heel2heel3

heel3

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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Find a way to heel it in in such a way that the amount of sun and wind the root ball receives is minimal.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

heel

/hiːl/