keep at arm's length


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keep somebody/something at arm's length

also hold somebody/something at arm's length
to avoid becoming connected with someone or something We proposed a tax break for companies that treat their workers well, but lawmakers are keeping the idea at arm's length for now. She doesn't talk much about it because she needs to hold these painful experiences at arm's length.
Related vocabulary: keep your distance (from somebody/something)
Etymology: from the literal meaning of at arm's length ( away from you by a distance equal to the length of your arm)
See also: keep, length