not touch something with a barge pole

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Probably derived from the barge poles that bargemen used to fend off wharfs and other boats.

Verb[edit]

not touch (something) with a barge pole

  1. (idiomatic, UK) To avoid something at all costs; to refuse to associate with something; (signifies a strong aversion).

Usage notes[edit]

This expression is almost exclusively used in the negative.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]