at arm's length


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Related to at arm's length: hold at arm's length
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arm1

arm 1

 (ärm)
n.
1. An upper limb of the human body, connecting the hand and wrist to the shoulder.
2. A part similar to a human arm, such as the forelimb of an animal or a long part projecting from a central support in a machine.
3. Something, such as a sleeve on a garment or a support on a chair, that is designed to cover or support the human arm.
4. A relatively narrow extension jutting out from a large mass: an arm of the sea. See Synonyms at branch.
5. An administrative or functional branch, as of an organization.
6. Power or authority: the long arm of the law.
7. Sports The skill of throwing or pitching a ball well.
Idioms:
an arm and a leg Slang
An excessively high price: a cruise that cost an arm and a leg.
arm in arm
With arms linked together: They walked across the beach arm in arm.
at arm's length
At such a distance that physical or social contact is discouraged: kept the newcomer at arm's length at first.
with open arms
With great cordiality and hospitality.

[Middle English, from Old English earm; see ar- in Indo-European roots.]

armed (ärmd) adj.

arm 2

 (ärm)
n.
1. A weapon, especially a firearm: troops bearing arms; ICBMs, bombs, and other nuclear arms.
2. A branch of a military force: infantry, armor, and other combat arms.
3. arms
a. Warfare: a call to arms against the invaders.
b. Military service: several million volunteers under arms; the profession of arms.
4. arms
a. Heraldry Bearings.
b. Insignia, as of a state, an official, a family, or an organization.
v. armed, arm·ing, arms
v.intr.
1. To supply or equip oneself with weaponry.
2. To prepare oneself for warfare or conflict.
v.tr.
1. To equip with weapons: armed themselves with loaded pistols; arm a missile with a warhead; arm a nation for war.
2. To equip with what is needed for effective action: tax advisers who were armed with the latest forms.
3. To provide with something that strengthens or protects: a space reentry vehicle that was armed with a ceramic shield.
4. To prepare (a weapon or electronic system, such as an alarm) for use or operation, as by releasing a safety device.
Idiom:
up in arms
Extremely upset; indignant.

[From Middle English armes, weapons, from Old French, pl. of arme, weapon, from Latin arma, weapons; see ar- in Indo-European roots. Verb, Middle English armen, from Old French armer, from Latin armāre, from arma.]

armed (ärmd) adj.
arm′er n.

ARM

abbr.
adjustable-rate mortgage
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.at arm's length - at some distanceat arm's length - at some distance; "keep someone at arm's length"
References in classic literature ?
He held the pistol in his right hand at arm's length, apparently afraid of shooting himself with it.
said he, holding me at arm's length, so that the light from the door fell on my face.
Immense, I tell you," persisted Madame Ratignolle, surveying the sketches one by one, at close range, then holding them at arm's length, narrowing her eyes, and dropping her head on one side.
Well, now, if I take this book, and hold it out at arm's length, of course I feel its weight.
She silently assented, and with her stool at arm's length, and the pail against her knee, went round to where they stood.
With that he got upon his feet, took off his hat, and prayed a little while aloud, and in affecting terms, for a young man setting out into the world; then suddenly took me in his arms and embraced me very hard; then held me at arm's length, looking at me with his face all working with sorrow; and then whipped about, and crying good-bye to me, set off backward by the way that we had come at a sort of jogging run.
Then he held it at arm's length as if to take in the whole at one delicious survey, and then he rubbed his hands in a perfect ecstasy with his commission.
Well, indeed," said he, holding her off at arm's length, and looking admiringly at her, "you are a pretty little fellow.
He saw her stagger to her feet, holding the baby at arm's length from her, her eyes glued in horror upon the little chubby face and twinkling eyes.
He thrust out his hand and held his assailant away at arm's length.
Here he held Martin off at arm's length and ran his beaming eyes over Martin's second-best suit, which was also his worst suit, and which was ragged and past repair, though the trousers showed the careful crease he had put in with Maria's flat-irons.
He held me from him at arm's length and stared about in annoyance and perplexity.