at arm's length

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  • (file)

Prepositional phrase[edit]

at arm's length

  1. At a distance, away from one's body.
    • 2020 September 5, Phil McNulty, “Iceland 0-1 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Iceland were defiant, as they always are, rigid in defence and lacking in attacking ambition, willing to simply keep England at arm's length and maybe land a counter-punch.
  2. (idiomatic) Avoiding a close relationship.
    She's been keeping me at arm's length all the time. She doesn't want to get involved.

Derived terms[edit]