give someone/something a wide berth

give (someone or something) a wide berth

1. To maintain a good distance from someone or something. Originally referred to ships. Once I learned that there was a lice outbreak, I gave all of my students a wide berth for the rest of the day. We've been giving John a wide berth ever since he dumped our good friend.
2. By extension, to avoid interacting or dealing with someone or something. The government has given the cyber security company a wide berth ever since its data breach became public knowledge. I would give those holistic medicine quacks a wide berth, if I were you. Anyone who claims to have miracle cures not supported by scientific evidence is trying to con you.
See also: berth, give, wide
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give someone/something a wide berth

If you give someone or something a wide berth, you deliberately avoid them. I don't mess with people like that, not me. I give them a wide berth. Having lived all my life in Africa I have a very healthy respect for snakes and give them a wide berth. Note: A berth is the amount of space which a sailing ship needs to manoeuvre safely.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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