Now, it is time for Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.
On this program we explain the meaning and usage of common expressions in American English.
Today we will talk about expressions with the word “heel.”
Now, heel has several meanings, many of which relate to the end or back of things.For example, we call the two ends of a loaf of bread the heels.This can be good to know, especially if you like dipping a bread heel into a simmering pot of tomato sauce or soup.
Another meaning of heel is the end of your foot.In an earlier Words and Their Stories, we explained the story of Achilles’ heel in detail. So, we won’t repeat that expression in this program.Why should we when there are so many others to choose from?
Just as the heel is the back of your foot, the heel of your shoe is also the back part. Many women like to wear high-heeled shoes. They may look nice but high-heels can cause pain and are not good for your feet.Sometimes we call the really high-heeled shoes that women wear “killer heels.”
“Heel”指的是脚后跟，也可以表示鞋后跟。许多女性喜欢穿高跟鞋（high-heeled shoes）。高跟鞋看起来很漂亮，但穿着很疼，对脚也不好。有时候我们说女性穿着非常高的鞋是“恨天高”（killer heels）。
Speaking of shoes, wealthy people usually have many.To be well-heeled means to be wealthy and well-to-do.Perhaps wearing nice shoes is where “well-heeled” comes from.
Let’s move from shoes to pets! You may hear dog owners who are training their dogs say something like, “Heel, boy! Heel!”Here the verb “heel” means to follow or stop at a person’s heels.
让我们把目光从鞋子转向宠物吧！你可能听到过狗主人训狗时会说“Heel, boy! Heel!”。这里的动词“heel”表示紧跟着某人或在某人脚后停下。
Now, you would not leave your beloved pet with a heel. This is a person you cannot trust. “Heel” used in this way comes from an early 20th century American expression meaning an “incompetent or worthless criminal.”Language experts say this definition may come from a “person in the lowest position” being compared to the heel of the foot.
Let’s talk more about this body part.
Have you ever wanted to describe a situation where you were unwilling to change your mind about something?You could say you dug your heels in. Someone digging their heels in the ground would be difficult to move.
你是否想过不愿意改变对某事的看法怎么说？你可以说“dug your heels in”。如果某人把脚跟陷入地里，可能很难拔出来。
Stubborn is a good word to describe people who have dug their heels in.You could even use them together. For example, I stubbornly dug my heels in when my friend suggested we go to the mountains instead of the seashore.I really wanted to go to the beach!
If someone (or something) is at your heels, they are following closely behind you. Let’s say you have a little brother who really wants to hang around you all the time.He is always at your heels – which could become annoying.
如果某人（或某事）“at your heels”，意味着他们紧紧跟着你。比方说你有个小弟弟，总是想跟在你后面。他就是“at your heels”——这真的有点烦人。
However, being on the heels of something is a little different. This expression means that something happens soon after something else.For example, Sonia and Timothy announced their plans to get married on the heels of another big announcement – Sonia’s divorce from her last husband. Good timing, Sonia!
但是“being on the heels of something”意思就不同了。这个短语表示某事紧跟着前一件事发生。例如，索尼娅刚宣布了一件大事——和前夫离婚，紧跟着又和蒂莫西宣布了结婚的计划。日子选得不错啊，索尼娅！
As a body part, our heels find themselves in two other common expressions.
To kick up your heels means to have fun. Some word experts think this expression may have come from the world of horses. Others say it comes from the way you might use your feet when you are waiting for something.Regardless of its origin, Americans often use this expression after they have been very busy, as in this example: “After studying all month, the students were happy to finish their exams, kick up their heels and relax!”
“To kick up your heels”指的是轻松一下。有词语专家认为，这个表达可能来源于马。也有人说它来自你等人时的动作。不管起源如何，美国人用这个短语表达繁忙的工作之后的放松，例如：“学习了一个整个月，学生们开心地结束了考试，放松一下！”
The saying to cool your heels means you are forced to wait for something to happen. For example, you may have to cool your heels at a doctor’s office or in a long line at the store.We often use this expression as a command. If your friend really wants to go to a party, but you need to make a quick stop first, you could say, “Hey, cool your heels! The party will still be there!”
“Cool your heels”指的是被迫停下来等某事。例如，你可能在医生办公室门口歇歇脚，或者在商场排长队的时候停下来歇息。我们经常用这个短语表示一种命令。比如你的朋友真的想去参加聚会，但是你想让他先等等，你会说“消停会吧！聚会又跑不了！”
“To cool your heels” is also casual.If I were talking in a more serious and official situation, I might say that I waited patiently.
This expression dates back to the 16th century. After horses ran a long race, their feet were hot. So the animals stood in water to cool their feet.By the next century, people were using the saying cooling his heels to describe someone who was in a hurry but had to wait for something.
这个表达可以追溯到16世纪。马跑了很远的路途之后，它们的蹄子很烫。这时马就站在水中，给马蹄降温。到17世纪，人们用“cooling his heels”来描述某人很着急，但是不得不停下来等待。
And that’s all for this Words and Their Stories. We will be back next week.Until then, you’ll just have to cool your heels.
I’m Anna Matteo.