Idioms: Achillies’ Heel

By Kaitlin Strohschein.
“An Achilles Heel is a person’s only vulnerable spot; a serious or fatal weakness,” according to the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Idioms. Achilles, son of Thetis the sea nymph, and Peleus the King of the Myrmidons, was the greatest Achaean of the Trojan War, according to the Iliad. When Achilles was an infant, Thetis was told that her son would be killed in the Trojan War. In an attempt to save Achilles from his fate, Thetis dipped the infant into the immortal waters of the river Styx. Achilles’ heel, by which Thetis held him when she dipped him in the river, was his one vulnerability, and it was a blow to the heel that eventually killed Achilles according to Encarta Encyclopedia. The tendo calcaneus, a tendon near the ankle that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, is commonly referred to as the Achilles’ tendon also after the Achaean warrior, Achilles according to the Columbia Encyclopedia.