keep at arm’s length

keep at arm’s length


  • keep distance from something or somebody
  • avoid intimacy or familiarity
  • avoid being connected with someone or something
  • not let someone be too friendly
  • keep a degree of remoteness, either physical or social

Example Sentences

  1. I like to keep my office colleagues at arm's length outside of office. I don't want them in my personal life.
  2. He always had the feeling that she was keeping him at arm's length.
  3. Though they are business partners, they don't get along well together and keep each other at arm's length.
  4. He looks to be a fishy person. I would keep him at arm's length if I were you.
  5. He did not have a very cordial relationship with his family and kept them at arm's length.
  6. We proposed the idea to the management, but they are keeping it at arm's length for now.
  7. In order to maintain a professional relationship with his clients, he preferred to keep them at arm's length when outside of business dealings.
  8. She said she would like to keep him at arm's length until she got to know him better.
  9. They try to keep at arm's length of each other after having had a huge argument sometime back.

The phrase first originated as "at arm's length", but later gradually changed to its current form with "keep" around the mid 1600s.

K 4 Thoughts

4 Thoughts

I always thought the sentence meant keeping someone nearby rather than distant.

- Onur April 19, 2019

Really interesting examples

- Anonymous November 25, 2018

Your meanings were very helpful for my holiday homework. Thanks

- Pari Verma May 19, 2018

I always had the feeling she was keeping me at arm’s length.

- rabiya November 11, 2014

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