Cool one’s heels

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Cool one’s heels is an idiom that has been in use for hundreds of years. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase cool one’s heels, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To cool one’s heels means to wait or be kept waiting, especially if someone is kept waiting because the one who is making that person wait wants to be rude or to snub the person who is waiting. The idiom cool one’s heels has been in use for a surprisingly long time, at least since the 1600s. The idea is that when one walks, his feet get hot. When one is still, his feet cool off. Related phrases are cools one’s heels, cooled one’s heels, cooling one’s heels.


For those of you who were looking forward to Godzilla and King Kong finally clashing in the MonsterVerse next spring, you’ll have to cool your heels. (CinemaBlend Magazine)

It’s a question that’s baffled many a traveler: Why can you get an accurate picture of the traffic you’ll face on the way to the airport, yet you have no idea how long you’ll cool your heels in line at security? (Condé Nast Traveler Magazine)

I sat and cooled my heels for three hours and then was sent home. (The Dallas Morning News)

My questions spilled forth, as I cooled my heels in the White House briefing room waiting for a briefing that was eventually postponed. (The Christian Science Monitor)

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