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dig your heels in

Meaning: If you dig your heels in, you stubbornly resist something or refuse to change.

For example:

  • Even though the developer offered them more than their houses were worth, the owners dug their heels in and refused to sell up and make way for the office block.

  • When their record company told the band to change their style and make more commercial music, the band dug their heels in and refused to change.

Origin: Probably related to the fact that if a person or an animal resists being pulled forward, the body will lean backwards and the heels will dig into the ground as the legs resist the forward motion.

Quick Quiz:

When her children wanted to move her into an old folk's home, Edith dug her heels in and
  1. agreed to go
  2. started gardening
  3. refused to go

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