cool one's heels


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cool (one's) heels

To wait, sometimes so that one becomes calmer or more composed. You need to cool your heels for a minute and stop yelling at the staff—they didn't do anything wrong. We were excited, but we had to cool our heels when the release date for the new game got pushed back.
See also: cool, heel

cool one's heels

Wait or be kept waiting, as in I've been cooling my heels in the doctor's waiting room for at least an hour. This term originally meant to cool one's feet when they become hot from walking, and began to be used ironically for being forced to rest (or wait) in the early 1600s.
See also: cool, heel

cool one's heels, to

To be kept waiting. Presumably this saying comes from the fact that one’s feet become warm in the act of walking and cool off when one sits or stands still in the act of waiting. It dates from the early seventeenth century and was common enough by the 1630s to appear in several sources (William Rowley, Thomas Dekker). A century later, Henry Fielding wrote, “In this parlour Amelia cooled her heels, as the phrase is, near a quarter of an hour” (Amelia, 1752).
See also: cool