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Heal vs Heel (Differences, Meanings, Grammar, Examples)

Heel and heal are homophones, i.e., words that have the same phonic sound but are spelled differently. They are pronounced in the same way, but they carry different meanings. It can often be confusing to right, and incorrect usage might distract your audience and derail your academic and professional writing credibility.

Heal vs. heel
Heal vs. heel

Heal vs. Heel definition

By definition, “heal” is to repair or restore health. In contrast, the heel is the back part of the foot or a scoundrel. Kindly note that “heal” is a verb, while “heel” is a noun.

Heal (verb)(of a person or treatment) cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become sound or healthy again.
Heel (noun)the back part of the human foot below the ankle.

Likewise, the verb “heal” is used when some action takes place. It essentially defines the process of repairing something which is broken. It can also be used in case of forgetting, forgiving, or passing over a moment/period of suffering or pain.

  • As an example: I will let my back pain heal naturally because I do not want to take any pills.
  • Another example: I try to practice yoga, meditate, walk and sleep to find inner peace and heal my soul.

When do we use “heel”?

“Heel’ is a noun, and it can define a body part as well, like the back part of the foot or that of a shoe.

  • As an example: My shoes were uncomfortable, so my heels are hurting.
  • Another example: I love wearing heels.

Meaning of Heel

The heel is a noun and represents the back part of the foot.

Noun: heel

  • The bottom of a shoe or boot; is the back part of a shoe or boot that touches the ground and provides elevation.
  • The back part of the human foot
  • Someone who is morally reprehensible. For example, “You dirty heel; blackguard, bounder, cad, dog, hound”
  • One of the crusty ends of a loaf of bread.
  • The lower end of a ship’s mast
  • (golf) the part of the clubhead where it joins the shaft

Verb: heel

  • Put a new heel on. For example, Heel shoes = reheel
  • Tilt to one side. For example, The balloon heeled over; the wind made the vessel heel = list
  • Follow at the heels of a person
  • (dance) perform with the heels. For example Heel, that dance
  • (golf) strikes with the club’s heel. For example, “The heel of a golf ball”


Meaning of Heal

Heal possibly means repairing an injury. It can be transitive or intransitive. For example, I healed my scab with ointment.

Verb: heal

  • Get healthy again. For example, “The wound is healing slowly = mend”
  • (medicine) provide a cure for, and make healthy again. For example, “The quack pretended to heal patients but never managed to = bring around a cure”
  • Reconcile or restore (a difference or breach in good relations)


  • Noun: healer, healing
  • Adjective: healable, healed


We use “heal” when we need to repair something broken. We use “heel” when we denote our foot or shoe. “Heels” is the plural form of the heel. It refers to elevated shoes to make the person look taller.

  • Example: I have been wearing these heels all day. Now I wish to sit and have some food.

Alternatively, Heel has a secondary meaning to it. It means a nasty or annoying person. My neighbor is a heel of women. She yells at everyone. Sometimes “heel” can also be used as a verb. For example: when commanding an animal to follow its owner.


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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