Idiomatic expressions with heels

Here is a list of idiomatic expressions using the word heels.

At someone’s heels

When you are at someone’s heels, you are just behind them.

  • The mother pushed her way through the crowd, her kids at her heels.

Bring / call someone to heel

To bring or call someone to heel is to make them do what you want them to do.

  • She is a demanding wife. She brings her husband to heel.

(Hard / hot / close) on the heels of

This expression is used to refer to something that happens immediately after something else. It can also be used to talk about someone who follows close behind.

  • News reporters arrived hot on the heels of the police. (= News reporters arrived immediately after the police arrived.)
  • She announced her resignation hard on the heels of the election of the new President. (= As soon as the new President was elected, she elected her resignation.)

Take to your heels

To take to your heels is to run away from someone. This expression is mainly used in a literary style.

  • The thieves took to their heels as soon as they saw the police coming.

To turn on your heel / spin on your heel

To turn on your heel is to turn quickly.

  • She turned on her heel and went back to the room.

Under someone’s heel

When you are under someone’s heel, you are under their complete control.

  • He is under his wife’s heel.

Cool your heels

To cool your heels is to have to wait for somebody.

  • I spent hours cooling my heels in the park but she didn’t come.


Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets. You may also want to check out my other blogs IELTS Practice and NCERT Guides

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