Nearby words

  1. heedful,
  2. heedfully,
  3. heedless,
  4. heedlessly,
  5. heehaw,
  6. heel bar,
  7. heel bone,
  8. heel breast,
  9. heel fly,
  10. heel in


Origin of heel

before 850; Middle English; Old English hēl(a); cognate with Dutch hiel, Old Norse hǣll. See hock1

Related formsheel·less, adjective

Can be confusedheal heel he'll Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for on the heels of




the back part of the human foot from the instep to the lower part of the ankleCompare calcaneus
the corresponding part in other vertebrates
the part of a shoe, stocking, etc, designed to fit the heel
the outer part of a shoe underneath the heel
the part of the palm of a glove nearest the wrist
the lower, end, or back section of somethingthe heel of a loaf
horticulture the small part of the parent plant that remains attached to a young shoot cut for propagation and that ensures more successful rooting
  1. the bottom of a mast
  2. the after end of a ship's keel
the back part of a golf club head where it bends to join the shaft
rugby possession of the ball as obtained from a scrum (esp in the phrase get the heel)
slang a contemptible person
at one's heels or on one's heels just behind or following closely
dig one's heels in See dig in (def. 5)
down at heel
  1. shabby or worn
  2. slovenly or careless
kick one's heels or cool one's heels to wait or be kept waiting
rock back on one's heels to astonish or be astonished
show a clean pair of heels to run off
take to one's heels to run off
to heel disciplined or under control, as a dog walking by a person's heel


(tr) to repair or replace the heel of (shoes, boots, etc)
to perform (a dance) with the heels
(tr) golf to strike (the ball) with the heel of the club
rugby to kick (the ball) backwards using the sole and heel of the boot
to follow at the heels of (a person)
(tr) to arm (a gamecock) with spurs
(tr) NZ (of a cattle dog) to drive (cattle) by biting their heels
Derived Formsheelless, adjective

Word Origin for heel

Old English hēla; related to Old Norse hǣll, Old Frisian hêl




(of a vessel) to lean over; list


inclined position from the verticalthe boat is at ten degrees of heel

Word Origin for heel

Old English hieldan; related to Old Norse hallr inclined, Old High German helden to bow

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for on the heels of
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for on the heels of




The rounded posterior portion of the foot under and behind the ankle.
A similar anatomical part, such as the rounded base of the palm.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with on the heels of

on the heels of

Also, hard on the heels of. Directly behind, immediately following, as in Mom's birthday comes on the heels of Mother's Day, or Hard on the heels of the flood there was a tornado. The hard in the variant acts as an intensifier, giving it the sense of “close on the heels of”. [Early 1800s] Also see at one's heels.


see Achilles' heel; at someone's heels; bring to heel; cool one's heels; dig in (one's heels); drag one's feet (heels); head over heels; kick up one's heels; on the heels of; out at the elbows (heels); set back on one's heels; show one's heels; take to one's heels; to heel; turn on one's heel.

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