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not touch (someone or something) with a barge pole

To not want to become in any way involved in or with something or someone. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Ever since the tax scandal in our last company, employers won't touch us with a barge pole. Get that cocaine away from me, I wouldn't touch that with a barge pole!
See also: barge, not, pole, touch

wouldn't touch it with a bargepole

Would not do or be involved with something at all; would not get close to something. Primarily heard in UK. Do you really think I'm the person to call when you see a spider? I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole! I know that Sue is a terrible cook, so I wouldn't touch that meal with a bargepole!
See also: bargepole, touch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

would not touch someone or something with a bargepole

used to express an emphatic refusal to have anything to do with someone or something. informal
A bargepole is used to propel a barge and to fend off obstacles. The equivalent US expression substitutes a ten-foot pole .
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

not touch somebody/something with a ˈbargepole

(British English) (American English not touch somebody/something with a ten-foot ˈpole) (informal) refuse to get involved with somebody/something or in a particular situation: I don’t know why she’s marrying that man. I wouldn’t touch him with a bargepole.I wouldn’t touch the job with a ten-foot pole.
A barge is a large boat with a flat bottom which is sometimes moved using a very long pole.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Vandell uses the metaphor of the bargepole - a long pole with a hook that is used to propel or guide boats in and out of a harbour - to signify the relationship between employees and their bosses.
Travel agents tell me they have had their fingers burnt and are too scared to touch the airline now with a bargepole -and can you blame them?
Having previously bolted-up in A8 class when scoring by a shade over six lengths, it is hard to comprehend such a lacklustre effort and we wouldn't touch the Aug 07 son of Top Savings with a bargepole in the grade.
"Clubs won't touch him with a bargepole once they know he's been found with drugs," a source said.
Planet 51 (Wii) MOST film-to-game adaptations are firmly in the category marked 'If you have a bargepole don't touch this'.
I AGREE with K Roberts of Conwy 100% that we should not touch the idea of a football GB team with a bargepole for this simple reason.
I think, now that I know as much as I do, I wouldn't have touched it with a bargepole."
Sven's men are 8-1 with Gamebookers to win it and although their squad has plenty of talent I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole. England will still qualify for the knockout phase but again they are also worth steering clear of at 4-5 (Betdaq) in the Group B winner market.
This Trojan horse is aiming to take advantage of many people's reflex reaction when they receive an executable file via email: rather than not touching it with a bargepole, they often can't resist double-clicking on it, even though they have no idea if it's safe or not.
My advice back then was don't touch it with a bargepole.
Bargepole: don't touch" Roly-poly Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames on a drastic new health drive
If any normal folk went for a job interview and the employer said 'tell me what happened in your last role,' and they replied 'I got the sack for under-achieving,' they would not touch that person with a bargepole.
PAYDAY loans should come with a picture of a bargepole and a warning: "Don't even touch with one of these."
No wonder newspapers won't touch the cross-party press regulations with a bargepole.
Freddie uncovers possible evidence at a charity function, but when he shows it to Bel, Laurie interrupts, telling them to steer clear of the story, which is like a red rag to a bull - if there's a surefire way to make them more determined than ever to get to the bottom of a story, it's to tell them not to touch it with a bargepole. Hector, meanwhile, is drinking heavily, but rather than blotting out his memories, it seems to make them more sharper, and before you know it, he's remembered something that might turn out to be very important indeed.