give (someone or something) a wide berth

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give (someone or something) a wide berth

To maintain a good distance (between things, people, etc.). 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 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