Achilles' heel

noun

Definition of Achilles' heel

:a vulnerable point

Examples of achilles' heel in a Sentence

  1. I'm trying to lose weight, but ice cream is my Achilles' heel.

  2. the food supply proved to be the nation's Achilles' heel in its defense against terrorist attacks

Did You Know?

When the hero Achilles was an infant, his sea-nymph mother dipped him into the river Styx to make him immortal. But since she held him by one heel, this spot did not touch the water and so remained mortal and vulnerable, and it was here that Achilles was eventually mortally wounded. Today, the tendon that stretches up the calf from the heel is called the Achilles tendon. But the term Achilles' heel isn't used in medicine; instead, it's only used with the general meaning "weak point"—for instance, to refer to a section of a country's borders that aren't militarily protected, or to a Jeopardy contestant's ignorance in the Sports category.

Origin and Etymology of achilles' heel

from the story that Achilles was vulnerable only in the heel

achilles' heel Synonyms


ACHILLES' HEEL Defined for English Language Learners

Achilles' heel

noun

Definition of Achilles' heel for English Language Learners

  • : a fault or weakness that causes or could cause someone or something to fail


Learn More about achilles' heel


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Achilles' heel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to suppress quietly or indirectly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!