give someone/something a wide berth

give (someone or something) a wide berth

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.
See also: berth, give, wide

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.
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