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keep at arm's length



keep at arm's length

  1. Stay at a distance, away from one's body.
    • 2013, Chris Bevan, "Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal", BBC Sport, 6 November 2013:
      Ramsey's goal secured the points, but the win came on the back of a measured performance that saw Arsenal keep Dortmund at arm's length for long periods and score with a classic counter-attack.
  2. (idiomatic) Avoid a close relationship.
    She's been keeping me at arm's length all the time. She doesn't want to get involved.