Since when...?

Posted by Lewis on October 17, 2005

In Reply to: Cool one's heels posted by ESC on October 14, 2005

: : : Hi! Can you help me figure out what "cool one's heels" means? I think I know, but I don't know where it comes from. Thank you - Will from Mrs. Morrissey's class.

: : It means to wait for a long time like today when I had to wait for my 2pm doctors appointment till 3.30.

: : I always saw it as someone walking very fast to get to an appointment where friction would heat the bottom of the shoe and then while waiting for the appointment the bottom of the shoe cools off.

: To cool one's heels -- To be kept waiting a long time, as for an appointment. The metaphor may allude to a horse who, tired after a long journey, stands in the stream from which it drinks. (From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable revised by Adrian Room (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999, Sixteenth Edition.)

Since when did horses have 'heels'? with all due respect to Brewers, surely a bit of thought would have excluded horses from the analogy.

if somebody goes 'hot foot' somewhere then they might well 'cool their heels' waiting on arrival. the contrast of cooling heels is against being hot footed - going nowhere.