bounce on the heels

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Kitchenwitch, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Kitchenwitch Junior Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    Hi,
    Can you tell me what the following means: He bounced on his heels? Does it mean that he rocked back and forth?
     
  2. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    This is not a very common expression. To me it suggests he popped up and down by standing on his toes and then coming back to flat feet, repeatedly.
     
  3. Kitchenwitch Junior Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    Thanks for the answer.
     
  4. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    I think it means that sort of restless bounce you can do if you lean forward on your toes so that your heels are off the ground, then jiggle a bit up and down. Which is sort of like what the other poster said, but without really letting the heels back to the floor. What else is the person in this context doing?
     
  5. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    After suzi's post I decided to try this to best describe it. I stood as she said, leaning forward slightly onto the balls of my feet. This took the weight off my heels so the following maneuver is easier to perform. Then I pushed up slightly on the toes/balls of my feet to raise my heels a very slight bit off the floor. Then I repeated again and again in rapid succession.

    The result was an impatient gesture which seems perfectly described by "bouncing on my heels." It is what I would do if annoyed while standing in line!
     
  6. brampton Junior Member

    Princeton, NJ
    English - English RP
    I don't recognize the expression, but I got 129,000 Google hits for "bounced +on +his +heels" and 113,000 for "bouncing +on +his +heels". Other forms would presumably rack up many more hits.
     
  7. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    I don't remember hearing the expression before this thread, but I like it!
     
  8. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    Yes -- I stood up and tried it out before I wrote my answer! It is an impatient sort of move, which is why I wonder what the context is!
     
  9. Kitchenwitch Junior Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    Sure, after reading your descriptions I tried it myself. Now I can imagine it.
    As for the whole sentence, it says: 'He bounced on his heels, too tense to stand still.' So, it is obvios that he was impatient.
    Thanks for the answers.
     
  10. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    The use of "on the heel" instead of "on the toes/balls of the feet" is weird to me. Because part of your description of "bouncing on the heels" also matches another gesture "standing on your tiptoes", which also involves putting weight on your toes while lifting your heels. Is it the word "bounce" that makes the expression different?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  11. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    Yes I think it is the bounce that makes the difference.
     
  12. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    Only partly. Standing on your tiptoes involves a more extreme rise from the floor. When I bounced on my heels, my heel wasn't more than a quarter inch from the floor. The easiest way to get it is to try it!
     

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