Definition of down-at-the-heels in English:

down-at-the-heels

(also down-at-the-heel, down-at-heel)

adjective

  • 1(of a shoe) with the heel worn down.

    • ‘Alex Wilson, who worked for Nugget when he first came to the Centre, was a short man, 1.6 metres tall with his down-at-heel boots on.’
    • ‘On the other hand, you could write, of the same individual: His shoes were down-at-heel and his raincoat was streaked with dirt.’
    • ‘Make sure your shoes are well polished and not down-at-heel’
    • ‘It has come to imply decrepitude: down-at-heel shoes, wrinkled stockings, woolly hats and trousers kept up by bits of string.’
    • ‘Chinese servants should not (strictly speaking) appear before their masters in short clothes, nor without socks, nor with shoes down at heel, nor with their tail tied round the head.’
    • ‘Surely everyone here doesn't just throw their shoes away when they get a little down at heel?’
    • ‘And equally, forget about making a good impression in your designer garb if your tie doesn't match or your shoes are down at heel.’
    • ‘Some were repellently shabby, with loose, stained suit jackets and down-at-heel black leather shoes, other with the shine of prosperity, plump in spotless waistcoats.’
    1. 1.1 Showing signs of neglect and deterioration; shabby.
      ‘a down-at-the-heels house’
      • ‘Even the comparatively down-at-the-heels south end of town, where the Art Center campus is being built, is in good shape.’
      • ‘Lo is best known for his development of Xintiandi, a down-at-the-heels Shanghai neighborhood that he transformed into the city's premiere entertainment and retail district.’
      • ‘Dark, in need of a haircut and pathologically thin, he looked like a down-at-the-heels rocker.’
      • ‘After Francesco gave his armor to a down-at-the-heels knight and returned to Assisi, his father was outraged: all that expense gone to waste.’
      • ‘It's a seemingly random collection of down-at-the-heels housing, low-rent stores, and trash-strewn vacant lots.’
      • ‘So, Gar ’, I ask, affecting a little down-at-the-heels bonhomie, do you buy a monthly pass, or just purchase tickets as needed?’
      • ‘Looking into the arcade, one sees a flower stall, a greengrocer's shop and a down-at-the-heels tropical-themed restaurant.’
      • ‘Not long ago Rockford Construction purchased two down-at-the-heels schools from Grand Rapids for $1 each and renovated them to the tune of $18 million.’
      • ‘Two are notable-a witty fop, worthy of Oscar Wilde, who lives nearby, and a down-at-the-heels aristocrat, who has been sponging off the family for decades.’
      • ‘The Robesons are old settlers in this once down-at-the-heels urban neighborhood very recently gone trendy and upscale.’
      • ‘Perhaps the buyers were put off by the down-at-the-heels atmosphere and grime level of the joint.’
      • ‘I've had enough: enough waiting in the cold for an overfull bus to pass me by; enough riding the streetcar with someone's elbow in my ribs; enough laying out 16 bucks a day for my family to ride the crowded, tardy, down-at-the-heels TTC.’
      • ‘Dad had recently retired after a lifetime as a journalist, and the whole family joined them at a slightly down-at-the-heels resort in the White Mountains that offered a shaggy nine-hole golf course out back.’
      • ‘The 175-employee company has also become an anchor in restoring the city's down-at-the-heels Over the Rhine section.’
      • ‘It's everything you like about tiki bars, plus everything you like about not having to leave the realness of the inner city, and it even has a comfy old-style Minneapolis down-at-the-heels quality.’
      • ‘The down-at-the-heels Atlantic City Boardwalk and its 1970s-era casinos can't match the glitz of the Vegas Strip.’
      run down, dilapidated, in disrepair, neglected, uncared-for, unmaintained, depressed
      scruffy, shabby, shabbily dressed, poorly dressed, shoddy, ragged, out at elbows, tattered, mangy, sorry, disreputable
      View synonyms

Pronunciation:

down-at-the-heels

/ˌdounətT͟Həˈhēlz/