take to one's heels

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take to one's heels

  1. (idiomatic) To leave, especially to flee or run away.
    • 1839, Charles Dickens, chapter 10, in Oliver Twist:
      [T]hen, confused and frightened, he took to his heels; and, not knowing what he did, made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.
    • 1908, Robert Louis Stevenson, chapter 26, in In the South Seas:
      Of a sudden, however, a man broke from their company, took to his heels, and fled into the church.
    • 1955 July 4, "Art: Patriot Painter," Time:
      After returning the fire three times, Peale's men saw the enemy formed near the college take to their heels.
    • 2010, Dr Oliver Akamnonu, Arranged Marriage and the Vanishing Roots[1], →ISBN, page 81:
      Often tax defaulters would take to their heels on sighting the tax collectors.