hard on your heels

hard on (one's)/the heels

1. Moving very closely behind someone else. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "on" and "heels." Since the dog was hard on my heels, I was very relieved to reach my house and run inside.
2. Close to defeating an opponent. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "on" and "heels." We need to tighten up on defense because these guys are hard on our heels right now.
3. Happening very soon after something else. In this usage, the phrase is written as "hard on the heels of (something)." I feel like I've been sick for months, since I got bronchitis hard on the heels of a lengthy cold.
See also: hard, heel, on

hard on your heels

or

hot on your heels

COMMON
1. In a competitive situation, if someone is hard on your heels or hot on your heels, they are doing nearly as well as you, and it is possible that they will beat you. Great Britain's Dave Hall and Jessica Smith were hot on their heels until a bad last race left them out of the running for first. The next generation of British athletes is pressing hard on the heels of today's champions. Note: You can also say that someone is close on your heels. Dorlan finished second with the Italian close on his heels.
2. If someone is hard on your heels or hot on your heels, they are close behind you, for example because they are chasing you. But the police were hard on their heels and within two weeks, gang leaders McAvoy and Robinson were behind bars. The two play jewel thieves who have retired to the Bahamas while Harrelson is the FBI agent hot on their heels. Note: You can also say that someone is close on your heels. Our pilot followed close on the heels of the departing inspector.
See also: hard, heel, on
References in classic literature ?
It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!
And, therefore, while Alice Pyncheon lived, she was Maule's slave, in a bondage more humiliating, a thousand-fold, than that which binds its chain around the body.
Finally, little heroic as he was, it seemed more decorous to be overthrown in the downfall of the party with which he had been content to stand than to remain a forlorn survivor, when so many worthier men were falling: and at last, after subsisting for four years on the mercy of a hostile administration, to be compelled then to define his position anew, and claim the yet more humiliating mercy of a friendly one.
There was nothing for me but to go home to my old lion-heart and tell my humiliating story.
mortifying and humiliating must be the origin of those regrets, which SHE could wish her not to indulge!
For the first time in his life he had now passed hours of happiness in the society of a beautiful girl, who had left him to think of her afterward without a single humiliating remembrance to lower him in his own esteem.
Under these circumstances, alike humiliating to endure, humiliating to contemplate, and humiliating to relate, I have discharged the pecuniary liability contracted at this establishment, by giving a note of hand, made payable fourteen days after date, at my residence, Pentonville, London.
Yet Gertrude remained single, and the admiral, who had formerly spent more money than he could comfortably afford on her education, and was still doing so upon her state and personal adornment, was complaining so unpleasantly of her failure to get taken off his hands, that she could hardly bear to live at home, and was ready to marry any thoroughbred gentleman, however unsuitable his age or character, who would relieve her from her humiliating dependence.
Most of the inhabitants of the town were grateful to Mademoiselle Cormon for not humiliating them by the luxury she could have displayed; we may even believe that had she imported a caleche from Paris they would have gossiped more about that than about her various matrimonial failures.
He seemed to revel in the discovery of new methods for torturing or humiliating her, and among all his followers she found no single one to offer her sympathy, or who dared defend her, even had they had the desire to do so.
It was humiliating for one of the swiftest sailers in the American navy.
And what is most humiliating of all, to blame for no fault of my own but, so to say, through the laws of nature.
You cannot think of humiliating me by prancing along by my side on that magnificent charger.
Sire, go, leave France to its real master, to him who acquired it, not by purchase, but by right of conquest; go, sire, not that you incur any risk, for your adversary is powerful enough to show you mercy, but because it would be humiliating for a grandson of Saint Louis to owe his life to the man of Arcola, Marengo, Austerlitz.
But the innocent dead could not be restored to life and the hill where they were executed will always remind people of the saddest and most humiliating passage in our history.