down-at-the-heels

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 classic literature ?
Zeena came into the room with her dragging down-at-the-heel step, and quietly took her accustomed seat between them.
into one of those huge, operatic, down-at-the-heels Peruvian
The coming-of-age tale unfolds on the titular street (a cheery borough designed by Robert Pinta) in an appealingly down-at-the-heels New York City neighborhood, home to both humans and puppets whose resemblance to certain Muppet characters is entirely intentional.
FIRST-TIME DINERS at Michael John's (regulars refer to it as MJ's) Bradenton brasserie might be in for a shock since this classy--and pricey--restaurant is tucked into a down-at-the-heels strip mall on the outer fringes of the gated Carlton Arms apartment complex.
A down-at-the-heels advertising copywriter when he hit on the idea, he originally meant it as a joke.
What was around in those days, before Times Square became a haven for tourists toting shopping bags from the M&M's store, was a down-at-the-heels neighborhood of working dancers, actors, singers and musicians.
Alas, this sweet spot soon soured as the proximity of noisy neighbors, and the general down-at-the-heels aura of the town of Guerneville, prodded my restless spirit to action.
Every day we read in the newspaper about the woes and future of the down-at-the-heels section of our main street known as Mid-Market.
No sensible young girl wants to stay in Gypsum, Missouri, especially the down-at-the-heels neighborhood the rich kids call Trashtown.
I like a genuinely depraved, down-at-the-heels town, wait staff with vacant eyes, the whole suffused by a pervasive sense of despair.
Kratchman reworked the overall character of the existing, down-at-the-heels building, giving his client-family a "new," elegant, upper Madison Avenue-style, single-family townhouse mansion, now consisting of six floors plus a usable, excavated cellar, stretching the building from three to six floors and increasing the usable living space from 4,400 to 6,670 s/f., an increase of 2,270 s/f.
With Teddy, it was like being stuck next to a lonely person on a plane, or in his down-at-the-heels case it would be a bus, and having to listen to story after story about his life in show business.
The new building also functions as an aspirational object in a down-at-the-heels part of town: It is intended to represent the possibility of a richer (intellectually or otherwise) life to the adults and children who will use it every day.
The down-at-the-heels salesman is not conspicuous, even among the passing suits and fashionable women, for there are other vendors under the elevated railway, a nether region of greasy spoons and the hard-up, a penumbra fringing the great white way of Ginza.
As principal of his own Alexandria, Va., firm, Moore has renovated many down-at-the-heels houses in the Northern Virginia area and brought them into the 2ist century.