Friday, 8 June 2012

Origin of "Well-heeled"

This term came into the language through sports gambling. To be more especific, from cock fighting. Cocks were sometimes made to wear tiny spurs of iron or brass on their heels so they could inflict more damage on other birds. A bird so equipped was said to be "well-heeled". The phrase died out in England when the sport was outlawed, but cropped up in the American Wild West, used to mean someone was well-armed. In the early 20th century the meaning shifted slightly again, to mean someone who had a lot of money, because money came to be known as an even more powerful weapon than any rifle or pistol.
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