heel (n.1)

"back of the foot," Old English hela, from Proto-Germanic *hanhilon (source also of Old Norse hæll, Old Frisian hel, Dutch hiel), from PIE *kenk- (3) "heel, bend of the knee" (source also of Old English hoh "hock").

Meaning "back of a shoe or boot" is c. 1400. Down at heels (1732) refers to heels of boots or shoes worn down and the owner too poor to replace them. For Achilles' heel "only vulnerable spot" see Achilles. To fight with (one's) heels (fighten with heles) in Middle English meant "to run away."

heel (n.2)

"contemptible person," 1914 in U.S. underworld slang, originally "incompetent or worthless criminal," perhaps from a sense of "person in the lowest position" and thus from heel (n.1).

heel (v.1)

of a dog, "to follow or stop at a person's heels," 1810, from heel (n.1). Also see heeled.

heel (v.2)

"to lean to one side," usually in reference to a ship, re-spelled 16c. from Middle English hield (probably by misinterpretation of -d as a past tense suffix), from Old English hieldan "incline, lean, slope," from Proto-Germanic *helthijan (source also of Middle Dutch helden "to lean," Dutch hellen, Old Norse hallr "inclined," Old High German halda, German halde "slope, declivity"). Related: Heeled; heeling.

heel (v.3)

"furnish with a heel," of a shoe, boot, etc., c.1600, from heel (n.1). Related: Heeled; heeling.

updated on December 15, 2018

Definitions of heel from WordNet
heel (n.)
the bottom of a shoe or boot; the back part of a shoe or boot that touches the ground and provides elevation;
heel (n.)
the back part of the human foot;
heel (n.)
someone who is morally reprehensible;
Synonyms: cad / bounder / blackguard / dog / hound
heel (n.)
one of the crusty ends of a loaf of bread;
heel (n.)
the lower end of a ship's mast;
heel (n.)
(golf) the part of the clubhead where it joins the shaft;
heel (v.)
tilt to one side;
the wind made the vessel heel
The balloon heeled over
Synonyms: list
heel (v.)
follow at the heels of a person;
heel (v.)
perform with the heels;
heel that dance
heel (v.)
strike with the heel of the club;
heel a golf ball
heel (v.)
put a new heel on;
heel shoes
Synonyms: reheel
From, not affiliated with etymonline.