to keep at arm's length



Idiom Definition

"to keep at arm's length"

to avoid intimacy or familiarity with something - to avoid intimacy or familiarity with someone - to distance yourself from a person - to distance yourself from an organization - to distance yourself from an issue - to avoid becoming connected with something - to avoid becoming connected with someone

Idiom Definition - to keep at arm's length

 

Related words and phrases:



Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to keep at arm's length

Martha, who works in an office, is very careful when it comes to sharing personal details at work.  Her coworkers are always trying to engage Martha in personal conversations.  They invite Martha to parties and other social events.  Martha always refuses the invitations.  Martha prefers to keep her professional work life very separate from her personal life.  Therefore,

Martha always keeps her coworkers at arm's length.

We can see that Martha literally (and figuratively) keeps her coworkers at a distance from herself.   In this case, she keeps her coworkers at a distance equal to the length of her extended arm.



Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to keep at arm's length

Kathy is a psychologist.  The company she works for, called Inspire, is funded by a fundamental Christian organization.  Kathy wants her patients to be comfortable in their therapeutic setting.  She does not wish to alienate or make any of her patients uncomfortable with the knowledge of the association with a Christian group.  Therefore,

"Inspire keeps its association with the fundamental Christian organization at arm's length."

This means that there is no advertising linking the two groups.  No one talks about the association and patients would never know of the association.





to keep at arm's length - Usage:

formal<---------------|------------X--->informal



Usage Frequency Index:   107   click for frequency by country




to keep at arm's length - Gerund Form:

Keeping an arm's length from a controversial issue can be a good idea.


to keep at arm's length - Examples:

1)  I often keep controversial issues at arm's length.

2)  You often keep unhappy people at arm's length.

3)  He often keeps unethical businesses at arm's length.

4)  She often keeps her coworkers at arm's length.

5)  Church A keeps its association with Church B at arm's length.

6)  We often keep the other team at arm's length.

7)  They often keep their association at arm's length.

8)  You (all) often keep your clients at arm's length.

9)  I believe both will grow closer, but remain at arm's length to target different types of customers.

10) When her grandmother arrives, Tara keeps her firmly at arm's length

11) He has kept some of our allies, particularly Israel, at arm's length

12)  Did you want to keep this world at arm's length as a writer?

13)  Many similarly unrealistic films keep me at arm's length because they start in obscurity and stay there.

14)  Fake people must be kept at arm's length, most certainly.

15) They're difficult to deal with and I want to keep them at arm's length

16)  I overlook her attitude most of the time because our business dealings are primarily at arm's length.

17)  To achieve legitimacy, treaty commissions would act at arm's length from government.

18)  Every contractor engaged by the government must be independent and operating at arm's length from government.

19)  He is using this as a basis for keeping me at arm's length emotionally.

20)  Focused on her career, Kitty holds several suitors at arm's length until she meets dashing farmer James Lockwood.