give (someone or something) a wide berth

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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 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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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

give someone or something a wide berth

stay away from someone or something.
Berth is a nautical term which originally referred to the distance that ships should keep away from each other or from the shore, rocks, etc., in order to avoid a collision. Therefore, the literal meaning of the expression is ‘steer a ship well clear of something while passing it’.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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Thanks to the poisonous nature of their leaves rabbits will also give them a wide berth, making them almost indestructible.
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