hold (one) at arm's length

(redirected from hold them at arm's length)

hold (one) at arm's length

To keep one at a certain distance away, either physical or figurative, in order to afford a level of safety or security or to prevent intimacy. John always holds his friends at arm's length, so that no one gets close enough to hurt his feelings. My daughter likes to watch me cook, but I make sure to hold her at arm's length so she doesn't get close to anything hot.
See also: hold, length
References in periodicals archive ?
Leinster managed to hold them at arm's length despite some incisive running from Stuart McCloskey and Craig Gilroy.
And make sure children wear gloves and hold them at arm's length and away from their body.
With the supply of ball drying up again, Cheshire were forced to run virtually everything and Gloucestershire had enough about them to hold them at arm's length, despite the quicksilver James Moore adding impetus at scrum-half Their team spirit shone through however as they battled for all they were worth and gained their rewards when captain Jones was the try scorer after a line-out drive.
They are, after all, people; but they are sick or deformed or starving or racially or ethnically different so we hold them at arm's length, on the other side of the fence.