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cool one's heels

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To wait for a long time: “The doctor kept her cooling her heels for almost an hour.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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cool one's heels

Wait or be kept waiting, as in I've been cooling my heels in the doctor's waiting room for at least an hour. This term originally meant to cool one's feet when they become hot from walking, and began to be used ironically for being forced to rest (or wait) in the early 1600s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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