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

(redirected from wouldn't touch one 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.

not touch someone or something with a ten-foot pole

Cliché not to have anything to do with someone or something. (Always negative.) No, I won't hire Fred. I wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole. I wouldn't touch that job with a ten-foot pole.
See also: not, pole, touch
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

not touch with a ten-foot pole

Stay far away from, avoid completely, as in Ronald wouldn't touch raw oysters with a ten-foot pole. This expression dates from the mid-1700s, when it began to replace the earlier not to be handled with a pair of tongs. In the 1800s barge-pole was sometimes substituted for ten-foot pole, but that variant has died out.
See also: not, pole, touch
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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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