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Well-heeled

A little-used definition of heeled is wealthy. So the phrase well-heeled describes someone who has money or is well provided for.

No one knows the exact origins of heeled in this use, but there are a few theories. One is that this sense of heeled has to do with shoes; a person who has nice shoes is well-heeled and hence well-off. Or our modern sense of well-heeled could come from mid-19th-century American-West slang, where well-heeled meant armed with a gun.

Well-healed makes sense in its own right, but it has nothing to do with being wealthy. Obviously, it describes someone who has healed well.


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Examples

Tens of thousands of Greeks—from the well-heeled to the less well-off—have moved their savings out of the country. [Wall Street Journal]

Opening with expletives that perhaps kept the usual well-heeled opera crowd away, the plot whips along at a dizzying pace. [Herald Scotland]

I remember when the passion for Clinique non-allergenic cosmetics swept the consciousness of our well-heeled eleganzia. [Herald Sun]

He lives with wife Carolyn in a beautiful big home in a well-heeled area of West Vancouver. [Vancouver Sun]

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