down at heel

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

down at heel

  1. (literally of footwear, hyphenated when used attributively) In poor condition, especially due to having worn heels; worn-out, shabby.
    • 1837, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, ch. 41:
      A pair of Oxford-mixture trousers . . .fell in a series of not the most graceful folds over a pair of shoes sufficiently down at heel to display a pair of very soiled white stockings.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension, hyphenated when used attributively) Shabbily dressed, slovenly; impoverished.
    • 1916, D. H. Lawrence, Twilight in Italy, 7 John:
      He was a queer shoot, again, in his unkempt longish hair and slovenly clothes, a sort of very vulgar down-at-heel American in appearance.
    • 2003, Lynda Lee-Potter, "Sex-crazed fans . . .," Daily Mail (UK), 27 Dec. (retrieved 20 Jan. 2010):
      Last year, he was down at heel, homeless and had an erratic relationship with his family.