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!"
- A vulnerability in an otherwise strong situation.
- anatomy The Achilles tendon, the tendo Achillis.
See WikiSaurus:weak spot
rfc-level|Translations at L4+ not in L3 POS section (AutoFormat? would have corrected level of Synonyms)
Arabic : ÙÙØ·Ø© Ø§ÙØ¶Ø¹Ù
Croatian: t-|hr|Ahilova peta|f
Czech: Achilova pata f (1,2)
Finnish: Akilleen kantapÃ¤Ã¤
French: Talon d'Achille
Greek: Î±ÏÎ¯Î»Î»ÎµÎ¹Î¿Ï ÏÏÎÏÎ½Î± (akhÃlios ftÃ©rna) f
Interlingua: calce de Achilles, talon de Achilles
Polish: piÄta Achillesa f
Portuguese: calcanhar de Aquiles m
Ð¸Ð»Ð»ÐµÑÐ¾Ð²Ð° Ð¿ÑÑÐ° (aÏillÃ©sova p'atÃ¡) f
Spanish: t-|es|TalÃ³n de Aquiles
Swedish: AkilleshÃ¤l c