Main definitions of heel in English

: heel1heel2heel3

heel1

noun

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

    ‘he rubbed the heel of his hand against the window’
    • ‘The sting of fingernails in the heel of my hand told me that my fist was clenched.’
    • ‘Luckily, the heel of her palm caught her before she hit the stone ground.’
    • ‘He rubbed his eye with the heel of his palm and smiled widely.’
    • ‘I closed my eyes a moment, rubbing the center of my forehead - just between my eyebrows - with the heel of my palm.’
    • ‘He struck her in the chest with the heel of his palm and Liz staggered backwards.’
    • ‘Claire sniffles, rubbing at her eyes with the heel of her palm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 stopped and smacked himself in the forehead with the heel of his hand.’
    • ‘He leaned back against the wall, shut his eyes, and gently bashed the heel of his palm into his forehead.’
    • ‘I fell quiet, rubbing the heels of my hands over my face.’
    • ‘He sighed and dropped his forehead against the heel of his hand, digging the spoon into his bowl.’
    • ‘I closed my eyes, pressing the heel of my palm against my forehead.’
    • ‘She shoved the heels of her palms into her eyes as fresh tears flowed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 young cadet clutched his head, hammering the heel of his palm against his forehead.’
    • ‘He closed his eyes, pressing the heels of his palms to his forehead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The palm heel should rest just above the horizontal line linking the eyebrow with the base of the ear.’
  • 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.
      • ‘This causes the heel of the clubface to make contact with the ball first, producing sidespin and, presto, a slice.’
      • ‘The guy had caught it so far in on the heel that the ball had literally rolled between his legs.’
      • ‘Some golfers hit it off the heel because they dip their upper bodies toward the ball during the swing.’
      • ‘Irons from the 1930s, for example, had a center of gravity high on the clubface and well toward the heel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a result, the heel of the club was digging into the sand.’
      • ‘Adding weight to the heel area helps the clubface rotate, or close, through impact.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The iron's center of gravity is toward the heel and higher than in the company's more forgiving irons.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.
      • ‘She plopped down her bowl of stew and heel of crusty bread, holding the mug of cider in her hand as she sat.’
      • ‘Such behaviour is just unfathomable to me, like throwing out the heel of the bread or cutting the fat off rashers.’
      • ‘He seized the heel of black bread that was resting next to the bowl, scraped out the inside, and dipped it in the soup.’
      • ‘Diana was counting the tiny cracks branching off of the main one when a dirty hand thrust a heel of bread under her nose.’
      • ‘He had just finished soaking up the last of his roast beef with a heel of bread.’
      tail end, crust, end, remnant, remainder, remains, stump, butt, vestige
      View synonyms
  • 4informal, dated 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 favor’

verb

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

    • ‘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.’
  • 3Golf
    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.’
  • 4no object Touch the ground with the heel when dancing.

exclamation

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

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

Phrases

  • at (or to) heel

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

      • ‘Off he would set on his rounds with his faithful collie dog at heel and following, some way behind, was the goat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are several ways to teach your dog to walk to heel, but you should choose and stick to one to avoid confusing him.’
      • ‘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 the heels of

    • Following closely behind.

      ‘he headed off with Sammy at his heels’
  • bring someone to heel

    • Bring someone under control.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These are people who, whether they were guilty or not, were targeted by very powerful forces determined 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Where spoilers are identified, peacekeepers must be able to engage in robust and aggressive 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?’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘But, on occasion, it was also necessary to bring them to heel.’
      • ‘This is, of course, hostile to the world of those with ‘abstract reasons’ who wanted him to bring the world 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.’
      • ‘This was the man who had promised the Council of the Wise that he could bring me 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.’
      • ‘There was no government watchdog to thank for bringing him 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
  • kick up one's heels

    • Have a lively, enjoyable time.

      • ‘Lees did have some time to kick up her heels outside of the classroom as well.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘No,’ I reply, ‘it's for people like you and me who want to kick up our heels at a certain age.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All let their worries go, and went back to their young days kicking up their heels, and having a ball.’
      • ‘His men were playing a banjo tune and kicking up their heels.’
      • ‘It was a warm night but people seemed to want to kick up their heels.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But while property sharks may be kicking up their heels, small-time Plateau landowners and their tenants are bearing the brunt.’
      • ‘The mother-daughter duo kick up their heels and kick off the second season of their reality show tomorrow.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At 95, that merry widow is still kicking up her 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the home side seemed galvanised early on, some ferocious tackling rocking Queensland back on their heels.’
      • ‘An early goal could have rocked Brighton back on their heels.’
  • turn on one's heel

    • Turn sharply around.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Val had to listen to some ridiculous questions at that meeting, and I don't blame him for turning on his heel and leaving.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And then you have to turn on your heel and go back the way you came.’
      • ‘She turns on her heel and quickly returns with our drinks in small, metallic pots and chipped mugs.’
      • ‘My friend turns on his heel and exits the quiet, comfortable train.’
      • ‘He turns on his heel and walks off toward the street.’
      • ‘And with that, I turned on my heel and walked out the back door.’
      • ‘I turned on my heel, into the lounge and ordered a bottle.’
      • ‘After a few moments demanding cash, the eight-times married actress turned on her heel and disappeared into the back of a black limo.’
      • ‘Steven turned on his heel and stalked off to the kitchen leaving his dad to wonder what was going on.’
      • ‘He turned on his heel to leave the room, the applause ringing out behind him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With that, she swiftly turned on her heel and disappeared as she rounded the corner to her destination.’
      • ‘Mr Bright said he ‘then pounded his fists on the bar, turned on his heel and stormed out’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her friends were there now so she just turned on her heel and walked away round the corner.’
      • ‘At which point he turned on his heel and continued down the carriage.’
      • ‘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.’
  • under the heel of

    • Dominated or controlled by.

      ‘the Greeks spent several centuries under the heel of the Ottoman Empire’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It tells of a nation struggling to be born under the heel of oppression.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Museums, artists and society in general face the threat of coming under the heel of an extreme right-wing bureaucracy in Washington and elsewhere.’
      • ‘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.’
  • on the heels of

    • Following closely after.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

heel

/hēl//hil/

Main definitions of heel in English

: heel1heel2heel3

heel2

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1(of a boat or ship) be tilted temporarily by the pressure of wind or by an uneven distribution of weight on board.

    Compare with list
    • ‘As the conditions worsened, said Mr Pritchard, the boat heeled over on to her side twice, injuring two crewmen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the wind increased, the yacht heeled over to a precarious angle and its bow was being continually submerged by the oncoming swell.’
    • ‘Entering a small type of entrance, the ship was about to anchor when we heeled over for a brief instant.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 wind caught the sails with a dull boom and the ship heeled about, tacking into the westerly breeze sweeping across the lake.’
    • ‘Even as he spoke, the ship heeled over in the rising wind, and he moaned.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘The yacht was heeling over at 35 degrees, and the effort to get up the steps was beyond belief,’ she says.’
    • ‘The boat heeled over hard as they hit the opposing wind that circulated in harbour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A great gasp went up as the ship listed heavily, and looked as though she would heel over completely.’
    • ‘The two vessels clung together for less than a minute before the Umpire heeled to port and went down.’
    • ‘As he was waiting, the boat suddenly heeled over.’
    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.
      • ‘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. 1.1 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

/hil//hēl/

Main definitions of heel in English

: heel1heel2heel3

heel3

verb

heel something in
  • with object Set a plant in the ground and cover its roots.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

heel

/hil//hēl/