keep (one) at arm's length

(redirected from keep him at arm's length)

keep (one) at arm's length

To keep one a certain distance away, either physical or figurative, in order to afford a level of safety or security or to prevent intimacy. John always keeps 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 keep her at arm's length so she doesn't get close to anything hot.
See also: keep, length

keep someone at arm's length

If you keep someone at arm's length, you avoid being friendly with them or getting emotionally involved with them. Brian felt more guilt than grief. He'd tried to get close, but his father had kept him at arm's length.
See also: keep, length, someone

keep someone or something at arm's length

avoid intimacy or close contact with someone or something.

keep somebody at arm’s ˈlength

avoid becoming too friendly with somebody: He’s the kind of man who’s best kept at arm’s length.
See also: keep, length, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
If they catch him, they better keep him at arm's length from me," warned the 75-year-old.
Meanwhile, Toadie witnesses sparks fly between Steph and Lucas, and warns her to keep him at arm's length.
The Ivory Coast star holds Rooney in the greatest of respect, but is determined to overtake him and then keep him at arm's length.
The Londoner, who concedes around eight stone and nearly a foot to Valuev, is seemingly trying to lure the champion into a scrap rather than allowing the Russian to keep him at arm's length.
As he continues his efforts to begin an affair, she is finding it difficult to keep him at arm's length.
But although Ricksen will be allowed back on to the training fields, it is likely that le Guen will keep him at arm's length from his first team squad.
he is in fact so extreme that many political leaders are careful to keep him at arm's length.
My aim will be to keep him at arm's length and I won't be kidded into chasing after him if he drops deep.
And while Easton admits it was nice to have Ellison's experience to call on during pre-season testing, the Scot has vowed to keep him at arm's length when the lights go green at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday.
He asked his dad to put plastic cable ties on his hands so he could keep him at arm's length until police arrived.
Now she has gone the extra mile by changing both her mobile and landline numbers to keep him at arm's length, insider reports claim.
But after his Scotland failure, some German fans are clearly keen to keep him at arm's length.