keep at arm's length, to

(redirected from To keep at arm's length)
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Related to To keep at arm's length: hold at arm's length

keep at arm's length, to

To avoid familiarity, to keep someone at a distance. This expression, with its inevitable image of extending one’s arm to push someone away, has long been used figuratively to signify distancing oneself from a problem, group, political stand, and so forth. In the sixteenth century it was put as at arm’s end, as Sir Philip Sidney had it in Arcadia (1580), but by the mid-seventeenth century it began to appear as at arm’s length.
See also: keep
References in periodicals archive ?
There are about a dozen courses I have yet to visit, some of which I am determined to keep at arm's length. When I am dead the only things I want on my gravestone is my name, dates, neck measurement and the words: "He never went to Redcar."
A few years after I'd graduated from nursing school, patients had become that unknowable other world, the one that I had learned to keep at arm's length in order to survive.
Another feature equally appreciated is the laid-back attitude of the local police.L TIME was when political parties were banned from having stands on the Eisteddfod field, as the festival attempted to keep at arm's length from politics.
It was the Victorian father method, designed to keep at arm's length rowdy children, who might have occasionally wanted a bit of affection too, but never got it.
But his second half substitute appearance has rekindled his desire to keep at arm's length makers of quiz programmes and chat shows for a little while longer.
No longer was betting part of the `sin industry' for the Government to keep at arm's length, yet profit from.