January 30, 2015
Achilles' heel (noun)
\uh-KIH-leez-HEEL\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a vulnerable point
How do you use it?
I'm managing to lose weight, but ice cream is my Achilles' heel.
Are you a word wiz?

The expression "Achilles' heel" comes from the name of a mythical figure, Achilles. Who do you think Achilles was?

In Greek mythology, Achilles was a brave warrior, the champion of Greece in the Trojan War. His mother was a water nymph, and when he was a young boy she dipped him in a magical river to make him indestructible. The only part of his body that wasn't protected by the magical water was the place where his mother held him as she dipped him in: his heel. Achilles won battle after battle until he was shot with an arrow in that unprotected place. When we use "Achilles' heel" to mean "personal weakness," we're remembering the mythical Greek hero's only vulnerable spot.
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