See also: Achilles' heel

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From the Greek hero Achilles, whom according to legend his mother held by the heel when she dipped him in the River Styx, making him invulnerable everywhere except on his heel. He was later killed by an arrow wound to the heel.

Although the legend is ancient, the phrase only entered English in the 19th century. It is used as a metaphor for vulnerability, as in the earliest citation, an essay by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.[1]

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /əˌkɪl.iːz ˈhiːl/
  • (file)

Noun edit

Achilles heel (plural Achilles heels)

  1. A vulnerability in an otherwise strong situation.
    Synonyms: soft spot, vulnerability, weakness, weak spot, kryptonite; see also Thesaurus:weak spot
    A good all-round golfer, playing out of bunkers is my Achilles heel.
  2. (anatomy) The Achilles tendon, the tendo Achillis.

Related terms edit

Translations edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Samuel Taylor Coleridge (March 1810) The friend; a literary, moral, and political weekly paper, issue 26, page 431: “ [] Ireland, that vulnerable heel of the British Achilles!”

Further reading edit