wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole

not touch (someone or something) with a ten-foot pole

To not want to become in any way involved in or with someone or something. Primarily heard in US. You might think John is attractive, but I wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole. He seems like a creep. Get that cocaine away from me. I wouldn't touch that stuff with a ten-foot pole!
See also: not, pole, touch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole

Avoid it at all costs; stay away from it. The image of keeping one’s distance by means of a long pole dates from the mid-eighteenth century. It was preceded by “not to be handled (touch it) with a pair of tongs,” which appeared in John Clarke’s Paroemiologia (1639) and was repeated by numerous others, including Dickens. In the nineteenth century barge pole was sometimes substituted for ten-foot pole. Barges pushed with poles are seldom seen now, so ten-foot pole is what has survived.
See also: pole, touch
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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