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The meaning and origin of the expression: Down at heel

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Down at heel

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Down at heel'?

Impoverished.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Down at heel'?

The wearing of shoes with worn down heels is a mark of destitution. The phrase is first recorded in Edition 10 of William Darrell's A gentleman instructed in the conduct of a virtuous and happy life, 1732:

"Sneak into a corner ... down at heels and out at elbows."

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