give somebody/something a wide berth

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give someone or something a wide berth

Fig. to keep a reasonable distance from someone or something; to steer clear (of someone or something). (Originally referred to sailing ships.) The dog we are approaching is very mean. Better give it a wide berth. Give Mary a wide berth. She's in a very bad mood.
See also: berth, give, wide

give a wide berth

Avoid, as in After Jane told on them, they gave her a wide berth. This expression alludes to giving a vessel enough room to swing at anchor so as to avoid a collision. [Mid-1800s]
See also: berth, give, wide

give somebody/something a wide ˈberth

avoid meeting somebody; avoid going near or using something: He’s so boring I always try to give him a wide berth at parties.The roads are very dangerous there — I’d give them a wide berth and go by train.
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