back·​heel | \ ˈbak-ˌhēl How to pronounce backheel (audio) \

Definition of backheel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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
2 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


verb, transitive + intransitive
\ ˈbak-ˌhēl How to pronounce back-heel (audio) \
back-heeled; back-heeling; back-heels

Definition of back-heel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 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
2 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

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First Known Use of backheel


1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb, transitive + intransitive

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for backheel


back entry 3 + heel

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Time Traveler for backheel

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The first known use of backheel was in 1881

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Cite this Entry

“Backheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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