keep at arm's length from (someone or something)

keep at arm's length from (someone or something)

To maintain a protective level of detachment or dissociation from someone or something. John has been keeping at arm's length from all of us lately, so no one knows how he is really doing. The senator was careful to keep at arm's length from the controversial topic during his re-election campaign.
See also: keep, length
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep at arm's length from someone or something

 and keep someone or something at arm's length
Fig. to retain a degree of physical or social remoteness from someone or something. I try to keep at arm's length from Larry, since our disagreement. I keep Tom at arm's length because we don't get along.
See also: keep, length
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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