Achilles' heel

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Achilles' heel

A weakness or vulnerability that can lead to permanent destruction or downfall. In Greek mythology, the hero Achilles was killed after being struck in the heel—the only weak spot on his body. Improper security measures were the failed company's Achilles' heel. I'm a good student, but I know I won't score high enough on the scholarship test because math is my Achilles' heel.
See also: heel

Achilles' heel

Fig. a weak point or fault in someone or something otherwise perfect or excellent. (From the legend of Greek hero Achilles, who had only one vulnerable part of his body, his heel; as an infant his mother had held him by one heel to dip him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable.) He was very brave, but fear of spiders was his Achilles' heel.
See also: heel

Achilles' heel

A fatal weakness, a vulnerable area, as in This division, which is rarely profitable, is the company's Achilles' heel. The term alludes to the Greek legend about the heroic warrior Achilles whose mother tried to make him immortal by holding the infant by his heel and dipping him into the River Styx. Eventually he was killed by an arrow shot into his undipped heel. [c. 1800]
See also: heel

an Achilles heel

Someone's Achilles heel is the thing that causes problems for them, especially because it gives other people a chance to attack or criticize them. Horton's Achilles heel was that he could not delegate. The economy was from the start the Achilles heel of his regime. Note: This expression comes from the Greek myth in which the baby Achilles is dipped in the river Styx to protect him from being killed by an arrow. Because his mother held his heel to do this, his heel was not protected and he was killed by a poisonous arrow in it.
See also: Achilles, heel

an Achilles heel

a person's only vulnerable spot; a serious or fatal weakness.
In Greek mythology, the nymph Thetis dipped her infant son Achilles in the water of the River Styx to make him immortal, but the heel by which she held him was not touched by the water; he was ultimately killed in battle by an arrow wound in this one vulnerable spot.
1998 Times The inclination to outlaw that of which it disapproves…is, if not the cloven hoof beneath the hem of Tony Blair's Government, certainly its Achilles heel.
See also: Achilles, heel

an/somebody’s Achilles’ ˈheel

a hidden weakness or fault in somebody which may be used to harm them: His pride proved to be his Achilles’ heel.This expression is named after the Greek hero Achilles. When he was a small child, his mother dipped him into the river Styx, which meant that he could not be injured. She held him by his heel, which therefore was not touched by the water. Achilles died after being wounded by an arrow in the heel.
See also: heel

Achilles' heel

A vulnerable or weak spot. The term is derived from the Greek myth of the hero Achilles, whose mother held him by the heel while dipping him into the River Styx to make him immortal. He eventually was killed by an arrow shot into his heel. The term became a literary metaphor about two centuries ago and remains current as a cliché.
See also: heel

Achilles' heel

A vulnerable spot that leads to a downfall. According to Greek mythology, anyone who was immersed in the River Styx, which marked the boundary of the underworld, became invulnerable. Thetis dipped her young son Achilles in the river, but she held him by his heel. Because her hand covered that part of his body, the water did not touch it and it became his one vulnerable spot. Achilles, who grew to become a great warrior, died during the Trojan War when an arrow struck his heel. Even though it's located in the same part of the body, don't confuse “Achilles' heel” with “Achilles tendon,” which connects muscles in your lower leg to your heel bone.
See also: heel
References in periodicals archive ?
Government intervention was required as it views the technology as the Achilles heel of the industry.
@THENUKEGUY (Re Overhead lines axed in Wrexham power plans) herein lies the Achilles heel in the Energy Island concept.
Ignoring the obvious puns in the title of your News piece "Plant turns electricity into hydrogen," it would have been nice to know how efficient said process was, as historically this has been the Achilles heel of energy storage systems (PE January).
"If that's the Achilles heel for Chelsea then we have to exploit it."
"We are quite certain that we see the Achilles heel," says Stephen B.
Time and time again he has proved to be the Achilles heel of our team.
It is not immorality per se which is the Achilles heel of New Labour.
"The Achilles heel of the PR industry was quickly encountered by O'Brien when he found that the leading players refused to be interviewed."
"Supplier enablement continues to be the Achilles heel of e-procurement," said Tim Minahan, Vice President of Supply Chain Research at Aberdeen Group, Inc.
"The excess of the crowd are the Achilles heel of democracy to which there is and should be no judicial remedy," he asserts.
Fred Moore, our storage editor-at-large, has clearly warned that electric power is the Achilles heel of the computer industry.
Stuart of Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs in Holmdel, N.J., has found a way to transform the Achilles heel of these so-called multimode fibers into a source of new strength.
While banks have taken giant strides returning to the business of lending money, the Achilles Heel in the banking industry may be higher interest rates.
The availability of such data and the integrity of their collection is the Achilles heel of such systems.
The Achilles heel provided by p53-arginine may come into play only when the p53 protein is confronted with these strains of HPV, Storey says.