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I've come across Elia's Peattie, The Shape of Fear but I can't figure out the meaning of the following sentence. Is it an idiom or phrase?

"Purity seemed to dog his heels, no matter how violently he attempted to escape from her. "

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    Imagine a dog following closely at your heels mo matter where you go and which way you turn.
    – Jim
    Sep 14, 2014 at 17:35
  • In other words to "follow". Many thanks. Sep 14, 2014 at 18:11
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    To anybody who thinks this should be answered by a dictionary: have you tried?
    – DCShannon
    Jun 8, 2015 at 0:12
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    @DCShannon: Well, looking up the verb form of "dog" mostly answers this, yes. Still, it's not the most obvious and a trivial search doesn't really do a good job. Jun 8, 2015 at 0:36
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    @pyobum It never even occurred to me to look up 'dog' by itself. I couldn't find anything on "dog his heels". Still, even if you looked up dog and found that definition, it's worth asking "is it an idiom or a phrase"? Furthermore, how does purity follow someone? I think this deserves an explanation. as it's a bit idiomatic.
    – DCShannon
    Jun 8, 2015 at 1:51

2 Answers 2

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Some dogs (sheep herders) nip at the heels of the sheep, to direct them.

For example: http://pets.thenest.com/keep-shelties-nipping-backs-legs-6151.html

So the implication is not merely of following, but of changing the behavior of the one followed.

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Yeah it does not mean just to follow, but to follow so closely as to be a nuisance, since the one doing the dogging is following you so closely and constantly and as if to bite you on the heels that you want to kick the SOB.

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