PRONUNCIATION: (uh-KIL-eez heel)

MEANING: noun: A seemingly small but critical weakness in an otherwise strong position.

ETYMOLOGY: After Achilles, a hero in the Greek mythology. When Achilles was a baby, his mother Thetis dipped him into the magical river Styx to make him invincible. She held him by the heel which remained untouched by the water and became his weak point. He was killed when the Trojan prince Paris shot an arrow that pierced his one vulnerable spot: his heel. After him, the tendon in the lower back of the ankle is also known as the Achilles tendon. Earliest documented use: 1705.

NOTES: ...The actor Brad Pitt played Achilles in the 2004 film Troy and tore his left Achilles tendon during production. Talk about taking a role seriously!

ACHILLES HEAL - sewing the tendon back together

ACHILLES' HELL - tearing the other one

A.C. HILLE STEEL - what the blast furnaces of industrial magnate Arthur Charles Hille produce