Achilles Heel: Where Did this Term Originate from & Why Do We Use It?

You may hear the term “Achilles heel” very often in both spoken and written language. It is a phrase which is used regularly and has an interesting meaning. But where did this term originate from and why do we use it today?

Achilles Heel

Achilles Heel Meaning

The term Achilles heel is referring to a weakness that someone has, the Achilles heel is a part of the foot without which, we would not be able to walk, so when talking about someone’s Achilles heel in the metaphorical sense, we are talking about something that makes them weak.

Origin of this idiom

This phrase was first found in Greek mythology, the story of the God Achilles who was held by his heel by his mother who then dipped him into the river to make him immortal. However, because his heel was not dipped into the water, that part of him was not made immortal and when it was struck by an arrow, it killed him.

“Achilles Heel” Examples

Example Sentences

The term Achilles heel might be used in a sports situation when talking about a particular weakness that an athlete has. You might say “Brian is so good at soccer but his Achilles heel is that he allows goal in too easily, really bringing his performance down.” It may also be used to refer to a person’s weakness for something.

More useful examples:

  • The enemy had an Achilles’ heel somewhere, if only he could find it.
  • The desire for publicity became her Achilles’ heel.
  • I think Frank’s vanity is his Achilles’ heel.
  • Measuring the microclimate was the expedition’s achilles’ heel.
  • The team’s offense is their Achilles’ heel.
  • The Achilles’ heel of the viewpoint lies in its infeasibility.
  • Cecilia is a very good dancer but she is too short. That’s her Achilles’ heel.

Conversation Examples

When using the phrase Achilles heel in a conversation, you might hear something like this:

Conversation 1:

  • Person 1: Do you want to try one of these chocolates? They’re so delicious.
  • Person 2: Oh no I’d better not, I’m on a diet and chocolate is my Achilles heel.

Conversation 2:

  • Person 1: I have been really practicing my writing skills recently.
  • Person 2: That’s very good, are you finding it easy?
  • Person 1: In a way, yes but grammar really is my Achilles heel.

Other Ways to Say the Phrase

There are other ways to express the meaning of this saying, some of these could be;

  • That is his fatal flaw
  • He has a weakness
  • Weakness
  • Vulnerable point
  • Flaw
  • Fatal weakness

Achilles Heel Meaning | Image

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