take to one's heels



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take to one's heels (third-person singular simple present takes to one's heels, present participle taking to one's heels, simple past took to one's heels, past participle taken to one's heels)

  1. (idiomatic) To leave, especially to flee or run away.
    • 1839, Charles Dickens, chapter 10, in Oliver Twist:
      [T]hen, confused and frightened, he took to his heels; and, not knowing what he did, made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.
    • 1908, Robert Louis Stevenson, chapter 26, in In the South Seas:
      Of a sudden, however, a man broke from their company, took to his heels, and fled into the church.
    • 1955 July 4, "Art: Patriot Painter," Time:
      After returning the fire three times, Peale's men saw the enemy formed near the college take to their heels.
    • 2010, Dr Oliver Akamnonu, Arranged Marriage and the Vanishing Roots[1], →ISBN, page 81:
      Often tax defaulters would take to their heels on sighting the tax collectors.



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