keep (one) at arm's length

(redirected from keep them at arm's length)

keep (one) at arm's length

To keep one a certain distance away, either physical or figurative, in order to afford a level of safety or security or to prevent intimacy. John always keeps 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 keep her at arm's length so she doesn't get close to anything hot.
See also: keep, length

keep someone at arm's length

If you keep someone at arm's length, you avoid being friendly with them or getting emotionally involved with them. Brian felt more guilt than grief. He'd tried to get close, but his father had kept him at arm's length.
See also: keep, length, someone

keep someone or something at arm's length

avoid intimacy or close contact with someone or something.

keep somebody at arm’s ˈlength

avoid becoming too friendly with somebody: He’s the kind of man who’s best kept at arm’s length.
See also: keep, length, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
Hull City, Barnsley and Burton Albion all have an extra game to keep them at arm's length.
speaking yesterday at an event at which the online firm unveiled robert thornton and broadcaster Hector O heochagain as the captains for this year's BetBright Cup, ricci, who has Faugheen and Douvan among four red-hot favourites on the first day of the festival alone, insisted he will not be talking to his trading team about the "55 to 60" horses he and wife susannah have in training, having vowed to keep them at arm's length when he first took the job late last year.
If we don't lose that game, it would be massive for us because it would keep them at arm's length.
Perhaps high gossipers are individuals who we welcome into our social networks for fear of losing the opportunity to learn information, but we tend to keep them at arm's length," the Daily Express quoted her as saying.
We think she manages to keep them at arm's length most of the time," added Lea-Anne.
Panthers fought hard in the second-half but Eagles always had enough to keep them at arm's length.
Personally, I would rather keep them at arm's length where I can best observe their sly orchestrated manoeuvres in the dark.