to bring to heel

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - bring to heel

"to bring to heel"

to force someone or something to obey


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - bring to heel

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  What are we going to do about this supplier that is giving us trouble?

Colleague 2:  Well, we are their number one customer and as such we do have some power over them.

Colleague 1:  You think we can bring them to heel?

Colleague 2:  I think if we threaten to take our business elsewhere that they will be forced to negotiate a better deal with us.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - bring to heel

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Have you heard the latest news about the dictator in Haiti?

Friend 2:  What has he done this time?

Friend 1:  He has declared martial law, thrown all dissidents in jail and appropriated all foreign assets and companies.

Friend 2:  That is outrageous. Do you suppose that there is any chance that the dictator can be brought to heel?

Friend 1:  Perhaps the international community can impose trade embargoes and other financial pressure to force the dictator to take a more moderate approach.

to bring to heel - Usage:


to bring to heel - Gerund Form:

Bringing a subordinate to heel can be difficult for a weak manager.

to bring to heel - Examples:

1)  ... democracy will continue to devour the heart of Islam until its values are brought to heel.

2)  ... both the U.S.A. and the U.K. are also rogue states that should be brought to heel. The U.S. is already seriously in breach of international law, ...

3)  He then expounds on the reasons why the industry should be brought to heel for the sake of the planet. 

4)  ... it can be difficult to go in a straight line, but being brought to heel stops you getting into dangerous territory.

5)  I know it seems hopelessly naive to think the banks could ever be brought to heel. But they were, for decades after the Depression.

6)  ... but someone who understands them because they will have to be brought to heel and punished for their frauds.

7)  ... thinking that social justice can be achieved if only the greedy corporations are brought to heel.

8)  "You are not too old to be brought to heel." I barely came to the middle of his chest.

9)  ... too powerful to succeed. How can something so significant and untouchable be brought to heel?

10)  The SA was brought to heel and placed under the command of the army.

11)  At a stroke systemically important financial institutions will be brought to heel either by market forces or investor demands.

12)  ... free to run wild, and needs somehow to be seen to be brought to heel.

13)  union setting themselves and their interests against the national interest. Unions were brought to heel for this as they were seen as bullying and self serving.

14)  It's my guess that Germany and the IMF will be brought to heel, as the formal bankruptcy of Greece would lead to its immediate departure from ...

15)  ... that there is no question that the corporation's spending needs to be brought to heel.

16)  ... it merely perpetuates the myth that if only the very rich could be brought to heel, the world's problems would be solved and everybody would be happy.

17)  ... an inspiration to Israel's Arab foes that even the mightiest can be brought to heel.

18)  ... because there are financial obstacles preventing that Colin, but they are being brought to heel, and being made to answer to the Chambers, ...

19)  The glee is at a domineering German chancellor being brought to heel by a democratic backlash towards the policies she's been pushing on the Eurozone.

20)  And until the dons and criminals are brought to heel, the society will not be able to help our more troubled communities become self-sustaining.