Complete Definition of "Achilles heel"

English
wikipedia

Etymology
From Greek hero Achilles, whom according to legend his mother held by the heel when she dipped him in the River Styx, making him invulnerable everywhere except on his heel.

The legend of Achilles has it that he was dipped into the river Styx by his mother Thetis in order to make him invulnerable. His heel wasn't covered by the water and he was later killed by an arrow wound to his heel.

Although the legend is ancient, the phrase wasn't picked up in English until the 19th century. It is used as a metaphor for vulnerability, as in the earliest citation, an essay by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Friend; a literary, moral and political weekly paper, 1810:

"Ireland, that vulnerable heel of the British Achilles!"

Noun
Achilles' heel

  1. A vulnerability in an otherwise strong situation.
  2. anatomy The Achilles tendon, the tendo Achillis.

Synonyms
soft spot
vulnerability
weakness
weak spot

See WikiSaurus:weak spot

Translations
rfc-level|Translations at L4+ not in L3 POS section (AutoFormat? would have corrected level of Synonyms)

Arabic : نقطة الضعف
Croatian: t-|hr|Ahilova peta|f
Czech: Achilova pata f (1,2)
Dutch: achilleshiel
Finnish: Akilleen kantapää
French: Talon d'Achille
German: t+|de|Achillesferse|f
Greek: αχίλλειος φτέρνα (akhílios ftérna) f
mid
Interlingua: calce de Achilles, talon de Achilles
Polish: pięta Achillesa f
Portuguese: calcanhar de Aquiles m
Russian: Ахиллесова пята (aχillésova p'atá) f
Spanish: t-|es|Talón de Aquiles
Swedish: Akilleshäl c

Category:English eponyms

et:Achilles heel
fr:Achilles heel

Revision and Credits for"Achilles heel"
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