Online Encyclopedia

HEEL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 198 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HEEL. (I) (O. Eng. hela, cf. Dutch hiel; a derivative of O. Eng. la h, hough, hock), that part of the foot in man which is situated below and behind the ankle; by analogy, the calcaneal part of the tarsus in other vertebrates. The heel proper in digitigrades and ungulates is raised off the ground and is commonly known as the "knee" or " hock," while the term " heel " is applied to the hind hoofs. (2) (A variant of the earlier Meld; cf. Dutch hellen, for helden), to turn over to one side, especially of a ship. It is this word probably, in the sense of " tip-up," used particularly of the tilting or tipping of a cask or barrel of liquor, that explains the origin of the expression " no heel-taps," a direction to the drinkers of a toast to drain their glasses and leave no dregs remaining. " Tap " is a common word for liquor, and a cask is said to be " heeled " when it is tipped and only dregs or muddy liquor are left. This suits the actual sense of the phrase better than the explanations which connect it with tapping the " heel " or bottom of the glass (see Notes and Queries, 4th series, vols. xi.—xii., and 5th series, vol. i.).
End of Article: HEEL
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JAN DAVIDSZ VAN HEEM (or JOHANNES DE)

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