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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2019-09-22 14:19:26

From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2471

dodging your heels

There can be a legitimate dodging of someone’s heels:

The colt was acting badly, and two of the cowboys were getting him into the harness — lightly dodging his heels which he lashed out viciously at them,

(Do horses have heels? Aren’t they fetlocks or something like that? In any case, can they lash out with them without more saliently lashing out with their hooves?)
But most cases I’ve found on the Internet seem to be mistaken forms of dogging someone’s heels. I would guess someone with a less secure grasp of English spelling might see various forms of the verb dog and, quite though mistakenly aware it was not talking about dogs, think it was dodge , and someone else might hear that read and think it was the right way to pronounce it. (The last letter, is, after all, named [ǰi] and not [gi], and often pronounced that way.) In any case:

As the pursuer approached, Niles’s ungainly steed reared and brayed ; and, while dodging his heels, the pursuer measured his length in the mud,

(Again, equine, or at least asinine, heels.)

Jake shoved his hands in his pockets and skulked back to the main house, the dogs dodging his heels. Holy crap. How was I going to explain this to him later?

(If ever there were a context for dogging the heels, this might be it!)

A gentleman of fashion, with all the Jews of Christendom and all the bailiffs in His Majesty’s kingdom dodging his heels, must perforce be loyal,” he replied,

With heartache dodging his heels, Jeff was on his way to moving back home to take over his father’s business

Elizabeth smiled, anticipation softening the constant worry that dodged her heels.

You show me then how you can run; I dodge your heels as away you go. As away you run, I think of the day You’ll come to me when you hear my call,

Choose life that you may live for death dodges your heels, like a snake it is waiting patiently to deliver its deadly poison, one that will kill you

In some of these cases it makes sense that as you travel or flee (metaphorically or not), you may simultaneously kick back with your heels against pursuers, so they might have to dodge your heels as they attempt to dog you. So this might be an eggcornical rationale for some. But would death dodge your heels? It sounds like the “dodging” is understood as synonymous with the patient waiting, so maybe here we have more a mispronunciation, with something more like the standard meaning (“patiently follow”) without the imagery of dog behavior, is at issue. The loss of the dog is lamentable, but not so clearly a change of imagery such as we look for in eggcorns.

walking through a blustery day at dusk, your hair and coattails whipping about, with shadows dodging your footsteps.

A cockroach-like creature might have occasion to dodge footsteps (as opposed to heels); are shadows that sort of thing?

She felt suddenly that some one was dodging her footsteps closely, now on this side, now on that. She did not turn to see, but was conscious of this presence

Pushing the partially open front door fully open, Khushi made her way into the house, tiredness dodging her footsteps.

I find it hard to think the idea of dodging is particularly active in these last examples. Still, is the “now on this side, now on that” implying a dodging-like action?
In any case, I think where it is the heels being dodged and perps are actually thinking of the pursued beast or human kicking back dangerously against the pursuer, this can be a good eggcorn.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-09-25 14:36:08)

*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)



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