down at the heels


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Related to down at the heels: sedulously, effortlessly, bothering, ostentatiousness, multifold

down-at-the-heels

Having a worn out, shabby, or cheap appearance, as due to poverty or overuse. A lot of so-called hipsters try to affect a down-at-the-heels look by wearing second-hand clothing. John has been looking increasingly down-at-the-heels ever since he lost his job last year.

down at the heels

Needy and therefore shabby. The expression alludes to the worn-out heels of shoes needing repair, and also to holes in one’s socks. Indeed, one of the earliest references in print is to the latter: “Go with their hose out at heles” (Thomas Wilson, The Arte of Rhetorique, 1588). The expression was common by 1700 and well worn enough to be a cliché by 1800.
See also: down, heel
References in periodicals archive ?
Everett (who brilliantly played the "Guy Burgess" spy-as-a-young-man character in Another Country) is callow and crazed with love, but always suggests that he is just a bit more manipulative than his lover, that the man is always more in control of destiny than the woman, that an upper class (however down at the heels) always has more room to maneuver than a lower one and that all victims are not equally victimized.