hold (one) at arm's length

(redirected from held her at arm's length)

hold (one) at arm's length

To keep one at a certain distance away, either physical or figurative, in order to afford a level of safety or security or to prevent intimacy. John always holds his friends at arm's length, so that no one gets close enough to hurt his feelings. My daughter likes to watch me cook, but I make sure to hold her at arm's length so she doesn't get close to anything hot.
See also: hold, length
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
He held her at arm's length, not pushing her away but far enough that he could see all of her.
In the first few months I knew my wife, I held her at arm's length, telling her I just wanted to be friends.
A new life.' 'But I'll miss you, Sig.' 'Steady on,' he held her at arm's length and studied her.
For many years the bishops had held her at arm's length, but now Dorothy had come to be regarded by many as the living conscience of the American Catholic Church.