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back·​heel ˈbak-ˌhēl How to pronounce backheel (audio)
: a method of tripping a wrestling opponent by getting a foot behind the opponent's heel and pushing the body backward
also : a throw made in this way
soccer : a kick of the ball backward with the heel
She never makes the simple pass when she can get away with a backheel.Mia Hamm, quoted in ESPN, 28 June 1999


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verb, transitive + intransitive

back-heeled; back-heeling; back-heels
transitive : to trip (someone) by getting a foot behind the heel and pushing the body backward
He tried to push me off then but I stepped in fast and back-heeled him and he went down hard …Louis L'Amour, Lando, 1962
transitive + intransitive : to strike (something) with the heel using a backward kick
He turned and back-heeled the door closed.Robin Pilcher, An Ocean Apart, 1999
especially, soccer : to kick (a ball) backward with the heel
back-heeled the ball to his Brazilian countryman … John Haydon, Washington Times, 19 Mar. 2008
He took a touch before back-heeling for his Argentine strike partner … Paul Fraser, Northern Echo, 29 Oct. 2007

Word History



back entry 3 + heel

First Known Use


1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb, Transitive + Intransitive

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of backheel was in 1881

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Cite this Entry

“Backheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

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