1. The hinder part of the foot; sometimes, the whole foot; in man or quadrupeds. He stag calls to mind his strength and then his speed, his winged heels and then his armed head. (Denham)
2. The hinder part of any covering for the foot, as of a shoe, sock, etc.; specif, a solid part projecting downward from the hinder part of the sole of a boot or shoe.
3. The latter or remaining part of anything; the closing or concluding part. The heel of a hunt. . The heel of the white loaf. .
4. Anything regarded as like a human heel in shape; a protuberance; a knob.
5. The part of a thing corresponding in position to the human heel; the lower part, or part on which a thing rests; especially: The uppermost part of the blade of a sword, next to the hilt. The part of any tool next the tang or handle; as, the heel of a scythe.
6. Management by the heel, especially the spurred heel; as, the horse understands the heel well.
7. The lower end of a timber in a frame, as a post or rafter. In the united states, specif, the obtuse angle of the lower end of a rafter set sloping. A cyma reversa; so called by workmen. Heel chain see heel. Heel ring, a ring for fastening a scythe blade to the snath. Neck and heels, the whole body. To be at the heels of, to pursue closely; to follow hard: as, hungry want is at my heels. To be down at the heel, to be slovenly or in a po
or plight. To be out at the heels, to have on stockings that are worn out; hence, to be shabby, or in a poor plight. To cool the heels. See Cool. To go heels over head, to turn over so as to bring the heels uppermost; hence, to move in a inconsiderate, or rash, manner. To have the heels of, to outrun. To lay by the heels, to fetter; to shackle; to imprison. . To show the heels, to flee; to run from. To take to the heels, to flee; to betake to flight. To throw up another’s heels, to trip him. To tread upon one’s heels, to follow closely.
Origin: oe. Hele, heele, as. Hela, perh. For hohila, fr. As. Heh heel (cf. Hough); but cf. D. Hiel, OFries. Heila, HLA, Icel. Haell, dan. Hael, Sw. Hal, and L. Calx. Cf. Inculcate.