keep (one) at arm's length

(redirected from keep us 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

keep someone or something at arm's length

avoid intimacy or close contact with someone or something.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep at arm's length, to

To avoid familiarity, to keep someone at a distance. This expression, with its inevitable image of extending one’s arm to push someone away, has long been used figuratively to signify distancing oneself from a problem, group, political stand, and so forth. In the sixteenth century it was put as at arm’s end, as Sir Philip Sidney had it in Arcadia (1580), but by the mid-seventeenth century it began to appear as at arm’s length.
See also: keep, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"It's very disappointing that the energy and the effort that they put into the second half that they didn't get anything out of the game but Armagh were in pole position having the extra man, being able to play a full time sweeper and being able to pick off scores to keep us at arm's length.
He's a refreshing change from George Schroeder, who always seemed to keep us at arm's length. Keep up the good work, Austin.
He continued: "Guiseley defended deep and got bodies behind the ball to keep us at arm's length. At the end I think both teams were pleased not to have lost and now we can both look to move on and try to get to grips with Hyde.
The national German newspaper Bild has printed a list of resorts and hotels that would allow them to keep us at arm's length.
If our Assembly ever feels the need to hole themselves up in Cardiff Bay in this way, and keep us at arm's length, it will be a very sad day indeed
We kill someone when they try to communicate with us and we kill them when they keep us at arm's length.