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Into a position of subjugation, discipline, or submission to one's authority. (Used chiefly in the phrases "bring/call someone to heel.") The CEO was quick to call the junior board member to heel after the latter spoke out of turn at the annual general meeting. Sir, the members of your squad are all out of control. You need to bring them to heel right away!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. Close behind someone, as in The dog started chasing the car but Miriam called him to heel. This expression is used almost solely in reference to dogs. The heel in this idiom, first recorded in 1810, is the person's.
2. Under control or discipline, as in By a series of surprise raids the police brought the gang members to heel. This expression alludes to controlling a dog by training it to follow at one's heels. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. Close behind: The hound followed his master to heel.
2. Under discipline or control: The army swiftly brought the rebels to heel.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.