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Thread: down at heels

  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default down at heels

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    Some three of your years later I began to use for cleaning purpose a sometimes drunken and always impoverished and down at heels yet rather intelligent and interesting village character – Johnny Morton by name… (Th. Dreiser, “A Gallery of Women”)

    down at heels = poorly dressed

    V.

  2. #2
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: down at heels

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    Some three of your years later I began to use for cleaning purpose a sometimes drunken and always impoverished and down at heels yet rather intelligent and interesting village character – Johnny Morton by name… (Th. Dreiser, “A Gallery of Women”)

    down at heels = poorly dressed

    V.
    I've never seen or heard this used in the plural. For me, it should be "down-at-heel".

  3. #3
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    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: down at heels

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Some three of your years later I began to use for cleaning purpose a sometimes drunken and always impoverished and down at heels yet rather intelligent and interesting village character – Johnny Morton by name… (Th. Dreiser, “A Gallery of Women”) - down at heels = poorly dressed
    See: down at the heels - definition of down at the heels by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    There appear to be [at least] 2 versions (AME and BrE) - very similar meanings.

    down at the heels (AME)
    1. Having one's shoe heels worn down.
    2. Shabby; rundown; poor.

    down at heel (BrE)

    a. shabby or worn
    b. slovenly or careless

    Hope this helps
    R21
    For more versions, see: Down-at-the-heels - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    Last edited by Route21; 09-Jul-2011 at 16:37.

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