Definition of Achilles' heel
: a vulnerable point
Examples of achilles' heel in a Sentence
I'm trying to lose weight, but ice cream is my Achilles' heel.
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
First Known Use: 1840See Words from the same year
ACHILLES' HEEL Defined for English Language Learners
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
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).