Definition of Achilles heel in English:

Achilles heel


  • A weakness or vulnerable point.

    • ‘It seems to me that we have come to accept death on Earth as part of our human flaw, as our Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘You can either deal with the weakness and make it stronger, or deny the weakness exists, and let it be your Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘That Ireland didn't suffer on the scoreboard was down to a lack of a killer instinct, which the visitors have previously shown to be something of an Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘That failure could be his Achilles' heel, for whenever he addresses environmental activist groups he offers platitudes, but little promise of action.’
    • ‘Despite being experienced enough to know not to underestimate his opponents, his overbearing confidence may prove his Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘The concession of late goals has been their Achilles' heel over the last year or so.’
    • ‘This is my one weakness, my Achilles' heel, if you will.’
    • ‘But there's an Achilles' heel: the driver's seat tilts but doesn't fold, and so restricts access into the back.’
    • ‘I wondered at first how they always managed to catch us, and soon realized the balcony was our Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘In the circumstances, worrying about being thought mad or humourless seems a peculiar Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘They hope the DNA sequence will identify weaknesses in the bacterium's genetic armour and possibly its Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘Her movement, so much improved over the last two years, has now become an Achilles' heel once more and that may be the telling factor.’
    • ‘Henry's mistrust of imagination is his Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘Personally, I would say that the lack of an integrated keypad will be this computer's Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘However, the narrowness of the debate has successfully kept attention away from their real Achilles' heel.’
    • ‘Sewers will remain the Achilles' heel of York's flood defences if environment chiefs fail to invest in the city's drainage system, according to a city leader.’
    • ‘Our greatest strength, our freedoms and rights, is also our Achilles' heel when we are confronted by an enemy that refuses to abide by the same rules.’
    • ‘However, the proliferation of blogs and bloggers could represent the Achilles' heel in this approach.’
    • ‘The fiscal service has long been regarded as the Achilles' heel of the whole criminal justice system.’
    • ‘So the narcissist does, after all, have an Achilles' heel - being blind to her own faults.’
    weak spot, weak point, weakness, vulnerable spot, soft underbelly, shortcoming, failing, imperfection, flaw, defect, deficiency, fault, foible, chink in one's armour
    downfall, undoing, nemesis, waterloo
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Early 19th century: alluding to the vulnerability of Achilles.