Green’s Dictionary of Slang

heel v.1

[SE heel]

1. (US, also heel it, heel out) to run away, to escape, to walk quickly.

[US]North-Carolinan (Fayetteville, NC) 18 Nov. 1/6: To leave [...] heel it.
[US]Courier (Natchez, MS) 23 Aug. col. 3 in A.P. Hudson Humor of the Old Deep South (1936) n.p.: Several of the foot ‘cuffs’ being ‘dead-blowed’ with heeling it ‘fer corner’.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 191: Buck Harkness he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap.
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 27/2: HEEL. To run away.
[US]R.J. Tasker Grimhaven 180: I’m heelin’ down to the Sidney Harbour’s for an ocean wave and a work-out on the bonny fair.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 97: Heel. – To walk.
[US]B. Appel Plunder (2005) 269: Maybe the wise thing would be to heel out.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 803: heel – To walk.

2. (US Und.) to walk stealthily, to stalk, to follow.

[US]Dly Press (Newport News, VA) 19 Apr. 12/4: When the clerk’s attention is engaged the other [thief] ‘heels in,’ sneaks behind the counter [...] and snatches a tray of diamonds.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 43: heel [...] to stalk.
[US]D. Clemmer Prison Community (1940) 332/2: heel, vt. [...] to shadow, to follow.

3. (US Und.) to leave without paying one’s bill.

[US]J.E. Dadswell Hey, Sucker 99: heel the joint ... to walk out without paying.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 94/1: Heel, v. [...] 4. To leave one’s hotel or boarding house without paying one’s bill. 5. To run away; to flee; to escape; to take to one’s heels.
[US]W.L. Alderson ‘Carnie Talk’ (in AS XXVIII:2) 116: heel (a joint), v. To leave without paying one’s bill.
[US]R. Oliver ‘More Carnie Talk’ in AS XLI:4 281: We managed to heel that money before they could give us the bill.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad 86: Heel the joint Leave without paying.

In phrases

cop a heel (v.)

1. (US Und.) to run off, to escape; thus cop and heel n. (see cit. 1960).

[US]H. Yenne ‘Prison Lingo’ in AS II:6 280: They ‘hot-foots’ (hurry) it down the alley and ‘shakes the gum-foot’ (get away from the officer), goes over and ‘crashes the joint’ (break in) and ‘cops a heel’ (make a getaway).
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 293: To COP A HEEL. To run away. Also to light a rag, to take a powder.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 81: Then I’d cop a heel and Joe and me would meet and I’d split with him.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 123: cop and heel 1 An escape from prison or a policeman; a getaway. 2 A narrow escape; a close call.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 37: The loser copped a heel in terror.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 107: Cop a Heel [...] To escape from prison.
S.F. Wilcox Jericho Flower 87: Only this time something musta gone really sour before he could cop a heel.

2. (US prison) to attack from behind.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.
[US]San Quentin Bulletin in L.A. Times 6 May 7: COP A HEEL, assault someone from behind.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 49/2: Cop a heel. [...] 6. To assault without warning. ‘Four of the Greek’s mob with rods (guns) and saps (blackjacks) copped a heel on me and Luke.’.
heel it (v.)

see sense 1 above.

heel on (v.)

see separate entry.

heel out (v.)

see sense 1 above.