Meaning of HEEL in English


I. ˈhēl noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hēla; akin to Old Norse hæll heel, Old English hōh — more at hock

Date: before 12th century


a. : the back of the human foot below the ankle and behind the arch

b. : the part of the hind limb of other vertebrates that is homologous with the human heel

2. : an anatomical structure suggestive of the human heel ; especially : the part of the palm of the hand nearest the wrist

3. : one of the crusty ends of a loaf of bread


a. : the part (as of a shoe) that covers the human heel

b. : a solid attachment of a shoe or boot forming the back of the sole under the heel of the foot

5. : a rear, low, or bottom part: as

a. : the after end of a ship's keel or the lower end of a mast

b. : the base of a tuber or cutting of a plant used for propagation

c. : the base of a ladder

6. : a contemptible person

• heel·less ˈhēl-ləs adjective

- by the heels

- down at heel

- on the heels of

- to heel

- under heel

II. verb

Date: 1605

transitive verb


a. : to furnish with a heel

b. : to supply especially with money


a. : to exert pressure on, propel, or strike with the heel

heel ed her horse

b. : to urge (as a lagging animal) by following closely or by nipping at the heels

dogs heel ing cattle

intransitive verb

: to move along at someone's heels

III. verb

Etymology: alteration of Middle English heelden, from Old English hieldan; akin to Old High German hald inclined, Lithuanian šalis side, region

Date: 1575

intransitive verb

: to lean to one side : tip ; especially of a boat or ship : to lean temporarily (as from the action of wind or waves) — compare list

transitive verb

: to cause (a boat) to heel

IV. noun

Date: 1760

: a tilt (as of a boat) to one side ; also : the extent of such a tilt

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.