Main definitions of arm in English

: arm1arm2



  • 1Each of the two upper limbs of the human body from the shoulder to the hand.

    ‘she held the baby in her arms’
    • ‘It is a good idea to do some gentle jogging or brisk walking for ten minutes, followed by gentle stretches of the arms, legs and upper body.’
    • ‘It is marked by weakness in the facial muscles and weakness and wasting of the shoulders and upper arms.’
    • ‘About a month later, Lovejoy started regaining movement in his arms and upper body.’
    • ‘I laughed all of a sudden and propped myself on my elbows, my arms crossed on the table.’
    • ‘Lymphedema causes chronic swelling of part of the body, usually an arm or leg.’
    • ‘In Greco-Roman wrestling competitors use only their arms and upper bodies to attack their opponent.’
    • ‘Warts can be found on any part of the body but are common on the fingers, hands, arms, and feet.’
    • ‘The sling on his left shoulder held his injured arm snugly against his body.’
    • ‘Pain can occur in specific muscles like arms, shoulders or legs or be more generalized.’
    • ‘Swimming is also great for the arms and upper body strength.’
    • ‘She winced, a large purple and tender bruise had enveloped her elbow and arm.’
    • ‘It usually presents as weakness of one part of the body, often an arm or a leg, and the weakness gradually gets worse.’
    • ‘He required skin grafts to his upper body, arms and legs and spent almost two months in the hospital's burns unit.’
    • ‘Mondays and Thursdays in my weight training class focus on arms and upper body strength.’
    • ‘The nerve fibres that serve sensation and motor function in the shoulders, arms, and hands travel to and from the spinal cord in the neck.’
    • ‘The hands began to warm up and so did my legs but my arms and upper body were still very cold.’
    • ‘Keep your arm and shoulder muscles relaxed, and move your arms slowly back and forth.’
    • ‘She held her arms up slowly and curved at her elbows, each arm going in the opposite direction.’
    • ‘It is also great for toning your upper body, arms and leg muscles.’
    • ‘They are most often found on the trunk of the body and on the arms and legs.’
    upper limb, forelimb, appendage
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(in technical use) each of the upper limbs from the shoulder to the elbow.
      • ‘A small scar extended over half of his wrist and other cuts and scrapes covered his upper arm and elbow.’
      • ‘Here the attacker grabs you low around the upper arms at elbow level or just above.’
      • ‘The arm of her plaid shirt had slipped down to her elbow, revealing a lightly tanned upper arm.’
      • ‘Alternative placements include the top of cuffs, center back, neck and upper arm.’
      • ‘Use a full-length mirror to see the sides of your upper arms, elbows and underarms.’
      • ‘Formerly these devices used automated inflation and deflation of a cuff applied to the upper arm over the brachial artery.’
      • ‘In the case of a sudden occurrence, the pain may be severe with the upper arm and the elbow involved.’
      • ‘The upper arms and thighs are more shortened than the forearms and lower legs.’
      • ‘If you do decide to buy one, go for a model that takes a measurement from your upper arm rather than your wrist or finger.’
      • ‘I landed with all my weight on my left shoulder and upper arm, which was bashed into the ribs over my heart.’
      • ‘She was taking back a library book when she tripped and fell to the ground breaking both her shoulder and part of her upper left arm.’
      • ‘The middle of the cuff on the upper arm should be level with the right atrium, at the midpoint of the sternum.’
      • ‘He was wearing a dark coloured jumper with the Kappa motif on the front, a blue jacket with a badge on the left upper arm, black jeans and dark trainers.’
      • ‘In other words, the chest pulls the upper arm toward the midline of the body.’
      • ‘And as they can only be worn on certain parts of the body - the upper arm or upper back - I tend to run out of skin.’
      • ‘It can be applied anywhere between the waist and neck - often the upper arm or shoulder.’
      • ‘For example, the arm can be numbed with an injection into the upper arm or armpit to allow a broken wrist to be treated.’
      • ‘Do this without moving your upper arm away from your body and keeping your shoulders level to the floor.’
      • ‘Examining it, she saw that a white bandage encased her entire upper arm and shoulder.’
    2. 1.2Each of the forelimbs of an animal.
      • ‘The monkey was required to move its arm within a horizontal plane.’
      • ‘With their pinnules, each arm has a distinct feather-like appearance.’
      • ‘I looked down and saw it there, a fearsome looking thorn dug deep into the flesh of the poor animal's arm.’
      • ‘A small barrier prevented the monkey from seeing its arm directly.’
      • ‘A single gonad arm is shown, with the distal tip up and to the right in each case.’
      • ‘For this purpose, we trained a monkey to capture a target on a video screen with an image of the animal's arm.’
      • ‘The ventral surface is exposed, along with a portion of the dorsal surface of the disk and part of one arm.’
      • ‘Asteroids usually have two gonads in each arm and a gonopore opening to the oral surface.’
      • ‘The nervous system consists of a nerve ring in the disc that sends out a radial nerve to each arm.’
      • ‘At the base of each arm, the ring attaches to a radial nerve which runs to the end of the limb.’
    3. 1.3A flexible limb of an invertebrate animal, e.g., an octopus.
      • ‘Here's a typical view of a tangle of octopus arms, all covered with circular suckers.’
      • ‘An ophiuroid can easily cast off portions of an arm if attacked by a predator.’
      • ‘Feather stars spread their arms, each grooved to direct the flow of food to the mouth.’
      • ‘One mystery is the purpose of the fine, hairlike filaments that coat the crab's arms and legs.’
      • ‘The food is transferred down the arms to the mouth by tube feet located on the pinnules and arms.’
      • ‘Mladenov also observed a crinoid arm in the claw of the crab Oregonia gracilis.’
      • ‘The suckers are attached to the arms by a series of extrinsic muscle bundles.’
      • ‘The terminal is an unpaired ossicle occurring at the dorsal tip of the arm.’
      • ‘In feeding, the arms of crinoids can be arranged in several ways.’
      • ‘Most fossil starfish consist of scattered individual plates or segments of arms.’
      • ‘The basket star, looking more like a soft coral with its delicate branching arms, reaches out into the current in search of its next meal.’
      • ‘When hunting and grabbing dinner, the octopus uses all the flexibility the arm is capable of.’
    4. 1.4A sleeve of a garment.
      • ‘The shirt has the same pattern as the short sleeve shirts except for an additional pattern over the biceps and the elbow on both arms.’
      • ‘He was still wearing a surf suit that day, though one with short sleeves at the arms and legs coming to his knees.’
      • ‘I liked how he had them secretly under his shirt arm.’
      • ‘Stylish, comfortable and built for adventure, this long sleeve shirt comes with exclusive logos on the chest and the arm!’
    5. 1.5An ability to throw a ball skillfully.
      ‘he has a good arm’
      • ‘Davis has one of the best arms in the organization, but his repertoire remains a work in progress.’
      • ‘Maybe he'll use his explosive arm to throw out a runner and save a victory, as he did the second week.’
      • ‘Windsor is like John Hudgins, a great arm that threw a ton of innings.’
      • ‘Instead, the Jets will try to take advantage of Clemens' superior arm’
      • ‘His mood was determined by the accuracy of Bret Favre's arm on any given Sunday.’
      • ‘Favre is a passer whose brilliance is based on a huge arm and a nifty ability to avoid the rush.’
      • ‘He has the arm to make any throw, but it's his solid base that scouts have praised.’
      • ‘Dye, like all kids with superior arms, used to love throwing the ball to the catcher on the fly.’
      • ‘He might have the best arm in the organization and can hit for power and average.’
      • ‘The latter two are promising young arms, but neither has a polished off-speed pitch.’
      • ‘He was a quarterback with a pretty good arm and he had to have the play sent in by the quarterback.’
    6. 1.6An athlete with an ability to throw a ball skillfully.
      ‘he wasn't the best arm in the outfield, but his performance at the plate more than compensated’
      • ‘A comparison with league average allows me to rate the outfielder's arm.’
      • ‘By the way, I used this same method to rank the arms of outfielders from the full Retrosheet era.’
      • ‘Last year I developed a method for evaluating outfield arms.’
      • ‘I always start with right field, I suppose because that's where we expect to find the strongest outfield arms,’
      • ‘So, the first order of business was to determine the best outfield arms of 2006.’
    7. 1.7Used to refer to the holding of a person's arm in support or companionship.
      ‘as they walked he offered her his arm’
      ‘he arrived with a pretty girl on his arm’
      • ‘Ever the gentleman he offered her an arm for support and she accepted thankfully.’
      • ‘Back at the jetty I was offered an arm for support, but refused.’
    8. 1.8Used to refer to something perceived as powerful or protective.
      ‘the comforting arms of the church’
      • ‘Priss kept a protective arm around her lover's waist, not too tight, not too loose.’
      • ‘Not long after, she felt Elias turn in the sheets and wrap a protecting arm around her.’
      • ‘He moved to Georgia, dropping to the sofa next to her and wrapping a protective arm around her.’
      • ‘Alison butted in and placed a protective arm around her daughter as she gave her a kiss on the forehead.’
      • ‘Alison asked she sat down beside Rachel and put a protective arm around her.’
      • ‘Families dressed in black placed protective arms around one another as they waited for the first glimpse of their loved ones.’
      • ‘He rolled back and fell into the protective arms of his governess, finally at peace.’
      • ‘Josh pulled me closer to him on the bed and put his arm protectively around me.’
      • ‘All eyes turned to mea and Hugh put a protective arm around me and glared at Serena.’
      • ‘The little girl moved closer to her mother who instinctively put a protective arm around her, drawing her in closer.’
      • ‘Kevin wrapped a protective arm around Lana who squirmed out of his grasp disgusted.’
      • ‘Mark stepped in between Scott and me and put a protective arm in front of me.’
      • ‘You want to put your protective arms around your child and make her whole again.’
      • ‘He wrapped a protective arm around her, trying to be assuring but he knew it wasn't working.’
      reach, power, force, authority, strength, might, potency
      View synonyms
  • 2A thing comparable to an arm in form or function, typically something that projects from a larger structure.

    ‘cables will secure the boom to steel arms installed near the top of the tower’
    ‘a cat was curled up on an arm of the tree’
    • ‘The completed machine could roam around and had a fully functional arm.’
    • ‘The number of pounds per dump is adjusted by correctly setting the counterweight up or down on the counterweight arm.’
    • ‘The pedestrian walkway rests on steel transverse arms that hang on the cables.’
    • ‘Now the backhoe's lower center frame sits on the support, taking the weight off the stabilizer arms.’
    • ‘Specially designed rotary cultivators with retractor arms can be used to control weeds in tree rows.’
    • ‘The shaft drive is hidden in the aluminium alloy swing arm.’
    • ‘The bracket-like arms projected towards each other from opposite banks and served as spans of the bridge.’
    • ‘This adjustment is usually controlled by setting the position of the tractor lift arms.’
    • ‘Robotic arms can be quickly programmed to weld in the spots needed for different vehicles.’
    • ‘The stair is further supported by the girders at each floor, and by a steel arm that projects from the south wall at each landing.’
    1. 2.1A side part of a chair or other seat on which a sitter's arm can rest.
      ‘he draped his legs over the arm of the sofa’
      ‘a large walnut desk chair with padded arms’
      • ‘The superintendent called me into his office, perching intimately on the arm of my chair.’
      • ‘She got down on her knees, poked her head over the arm of a chair and stared at us as if she had been electrocuted.’
      • ‘Ian's younger brother, Wayne, sits on the other arm of the chair, playing along.’
      • ‘He sat in his father's seat, slouching back, propped lightly on the arm of the chair.’
      • ‘Boy, was I glad my chair had arms - otherwise I would have fallen off it.’
      • ‘Cora shook her head and rested her chin on a hand as her elbow rested on the arm of the easy chair.’
      • ‘Then I couldn't open the window because of high heavy curtains and was balancing on the arms of a chair fighting the drapes.’
      • ‘I served them their drinks and promptly seated myself on the arm of the chair Ayden sat in.’
      • ‘The devices will be very cheap and small enough to integrate into the arm of a chair.’
      • ‘His hand rested on the metal arm of the chair and his head lay in his hand.’
      • ‘Cole immediately threw the stand with the chess set and grabbed hold of the arms of Sara's seat.’
      • ‘Shoving one hand into his pocket, he rested his free palm against the arm of his chair and slowly stood up.’
      • ‘She had seated herself casually on the arm of a chair as if to promote her lack of intent to impinge.’
      • ‘I put the book in her lap and leaned over the arm of her chair as we looked at the pictures.’
      • ‘He was sitting in the chair, with a pillow wedged between his right side and the arm of the chair.’
      • ‘I keep a waste paper bin next to the chair I sit on so I had visions of it having bounced off the arm of the chair and into the bin.’
      • ‘She found her husband's briefcase propped on the arm of a chair, with her name written on it.’
      • ‘There was a hole in the arm of the chair, and she picked out tiny pieces of foam and arranged them in a pattern like a flower.’
      • ‘John ordered him to sit, motioning to the arm of his chair since all of the seats were taken up.’
      • ‘As though summoned by her thoughts, he appeared at the arm of her deck chair.’
    2. 2.2A narrow strip of water or land projecting from a larger body.
      • ‘Shuswap Lake is shaped like an H and is made up of four large arms: the Shuswap Lake Main Arm, Salmon Arm, Anstey Arm, and Seymour Arm.’
      • ‘The hills and narrowing canyon of this arm lure the paddler to explore quiet places, fish, and swim.’
      • ‘The breach consisted of a 300-foot-long bridge-covered opening in the causeway near Lakeside, which allowed the rapid flow of south-arm water into the north arm.’
      • ‘Prior to the breach, the elevation of the south arm was over 3.5 feet higher than the north arm.’
      • ‘Herald Provincial Park is situated on the west shore of the Salmon Arm of Shuswap Lake.’
      inlet, creek, cove, fjord, bay, voe
      View synonyms
  • 3A branch or division of a company or organization.

    ‘the political arm of the separatist group’
    • ‘First, it is given direction by a political arm, or college, of Commissioners, but the college is unelected.’
    • ‘Less well-known is the work of The Big Issue Foundation, the charity arm of the organisation.’
    • ‘Cadbury put its European beverages arm up for sale last month so it could focus on its confectionery arm and drinks business elsewhere.’
    • ‘The RAC Foundation, the lobbying arm of the motoring organisation, is now calling for a rethink on speed cameras.’
    • ‘The Defence Procurement Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Defence, will start the selection process this week.’
    • ‘Profits in the US arm in the first quarter of the year were lower than last year when it had benefited from unusually hot weather.’
    • ‘From these evolved some newspapers that served as editorial arms of political parties.’
    • ‘The agency, an arm of central Government has recently unveiled maps showing the extent of flood risk across the country.’
    • ‘Bakrie has been a prominent figure in Golkar, the political arm of the former Suharto dictatorship.’
    • ‘The conference bureau and the marketing arm of the operation will stay together and retain the current level of funding.’
    • ‘The foundation acts as a research arm and umbrella organization for its member companies.’
    • ‘Jobcentre Plus, an arm of the Department of Works and Pensions, is creating 250 new jobs at the site.’
    • ‘No longer was it to be the political arm of the Church; instead it would mediate among the various social groups.’
    • ‘The Party is seeking to recast itself as the political arm of a religious community.’
    branch, section, department, division, subdivision, wing, sector, chapter, lodge, detachment, agency, office, bureau, offshoot, satellite, extension
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1One of the types of troops of which an army is composed, such as infantry or artillery.
      • ‘The artillery arm has produced many great generals, most notably Napoleon.’
      • ‘Lee recognized the inherent weakness of this system and began to reorganize the artillery arm.’
      • ‘In the opening days, a combined arms brigade task force was the first to deploy.’
      • ‘This is an army that is learning its trade as a combined arms team at very high cost.’
      • ‘A similar combined arms battalion is the centerpiece of the future unit of action.’
      • ‘The war produced rich experience of interaction between engineer troops and other arms.’
      • ‘Defence is reviewing this application and role of armour in Army's combined arms team.’
      • ‘Field Artillery is a basic combat arm, and the Army fights as a combined arms team.’
      • ‘Belief in the Army combined arms team is intuitive for all of us from the day that we enter the service.’
      • ‘This meant that both arms of the German military would be actively involved in war operations.’
  • 4Mathematics
    Each of the lines enclosing an angle.

    • ‘One of the arms of angle [alpha] and one of the arms of angle [beta] are extended by the same amount.’
    • ‘The arm is labeled A, a black line falling from left to right.’
    • ‘In the first of these evaluations of angle perception, subjects were asked to rotate a test line until it appeared collinear with the indicated arm of the inducing angle.’
    • ‘The test line could be rotated as much as 11° clockwise or counterclockwise with respect to the relevant arm of the inducing angle.’
    • ‘If the inducing angle is overestimated, the test line should be seen as parallel when it is actually rotated away from the nearby arm of the angle’


  • arm in arm

    • (of two or more people) with arms linked.

      • ‘Walking through the grass were three women, arm in arm, singing out loud.’
      • ‘Trace and I were linked arm in arm, waiting politely for some people to enter before we made our way out.’
      • ‘Eliza and Bernadette walked arm in arm into the two-story house they were residing in for the summer.’
      • ‘We walked arm in arm away from the Evergreen together in the thinly snow covered ground.’
      • ‘It was snowing again when Carol and I walked back to Unit Nine, arm in arm, and unlocked our familiar door.’
      • ‘Seven decades on, they returned to the church to celebrate their platinum anniversary and once again walked down the aisle arm in arm.’
      • ‘He turned to see his brother and Danielle walking up, arm in arm, both beaming in each other's company.’
      • ‘As they walked away, arm in arm, Egewe turned several times, ensuring that no one was following them.’
      • ‘It is common for two grown men to greet by kissing each other on both cheeks, and for either men or women to walk down the street arm in arm.’
      • ‘It was just as well that the music stopped at that moment and the couple walked away, arm in arm, vanishing amidst the crowd.’
      • ‘Then she came across a picture of Sasha and him, arm in arm together, sitting beside a waterfall.’
      • ‘Orunmila and Elegua turned and walked away arm in arm.’
      • ‘Here, they are all out under the arcades, walking slowly, often arm in arm.’
      • ‘Rain and Ryan walked arm in arm through the streets of the streets, watching the fading sunlight in the sky.’
      • ‘We left and walked arm in arm along a sunny, tree lined avenue peppered with designer stores.’
      • ‘Evening is beginning to fall and a young couple walks past me me, arm in arm.’
      • ‘A man and woman, likely husband and wife, elegantly dressed, walked arm in arm in the moonlight.’
      • ‘One day Dominic and Jocelyn took a long walk around town together, arm in arm.’
      • ‘We walked down together arm in arm and soon were laughing together in the old way.’
      • ‘They walked down the hall together arm in arm not aware of the secrets each was keeping from the other.’
  • the long arm of the law

    • Used to refer to the criminal justice system as far-reaching.

      ‘act now before the long arm of the law catches up with you’
      • ‘‘The defendant ran, but he could not hide from the long arm of the law,’ Brown said.’
      • ‘I didn't know that you were the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘And his mode of getaway - on a mobility scooter - ensured the pensioner was never likely to escape the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘This investigation, we believe, has served to re-establish that no one is above the law, that no scheme to defraud is too complex or too fancy to be beyond the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘This film follows the exploits of the Kelly Gang from 1878 to 1880 as they rob banks and dodge the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘‘Without massive logistics, they cannot possibly maintain their shadowy network of cells and they cannot run from one hideout to another in a bid to outrun the long arm of the law,’ he noted.’
      • ‘Anyone in his position would have wanted to completely forget about his escape from the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘It was a bad year for fugitives and others trying to escape the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘They will not generally be expected to act as the strong arm of the law but they can very usefully serve as its eyes and ears.’
      • ‘In the Eastern Bay, 26 cars were impounded and in Taupo, 67 drivers felt the long arm of the law close around their steering wheels.’
      • ‘Marc is furious at his brush with the long arm of the law, but Peter is certain that he's got his man… until it's proved that all of Marc's alibis check out once again.’
      • ‘He warned the public that soccer hooliganism would not be tolerated and all those involved would be visited by the long arm of the law wherever incidents of hooliganism occurred.’
      • ‘Let there be no outcry when the long arm of the law extends itself to these sectors, as indeed we believe, it will soon do.’
      • ‘No executive is so prominent as to avoid the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘Now the ‘untouchables’ of the underworld are about to feel the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘But he takes a stab at understanding why some relationships did not threaten the social order, and thus escaped the long arm of the law, and others did not.’
      • ‘Though clearly visible, face up, from the outside, the fact it wasn't in the designated display spot had attracted the long arm of the law.’
      • ‘‘People throwing items from buildings on to streets will also feel the long arm of the law,’ warned De Villiers.’
      • ‘And if there is evidence, which merits prosecution and arrests, I believe that the long arm of the law should catch whoever has perpetuated such crimes.’
      • ‘Dillon chose to cast himself in the lead, playing a con man in limbo, set adrift when his criminal father figure skips the U.S. to escape the long arm of the law.’
  • as long as one's (or someone's) arm

    • informal Very long.

      ‘I have a list of vices as long as your arm’
      • ‘He's got a record as long as your arm, starting with petty theft and working his way up to your house.’
      • ‘There were many times that the police were forced to drag us away from our protests, and I probably would have had a criminal record as long as your arm if the magistrate hadn't been Cecil's brother.’
      • ‘The list is as long as your arm, but the beneficiaries may have been as surprised as anyone else.’
      • ‘The man elected chairman that opening night was a retired Brigadier with a pedigree as long as your arm, and a penchant for shouting orders at subordinates.’
      • ‘The business employs some 20 full and part-time people and there's a waiting list as long as your arm of young girls wanting to don the mob-cap on Saturdays and in school holidays.’
      • ‘He was an ex-Hells Angel; he had a police record as long as your arm but when I moved in he was cool. He'd calmed down and all his youthful anti-social behaviour was a thing of the past.’
      • ‘He has a fantastic c.v. as long as your arm including all kinds of community service and professional accomplishment.’
      • ‘What's more, we guarantee that it will be in the bookshops before Christmas with lists of pre-sale orders that are as long as your arm.’
      • ‘The list of ingredients was as long as your arm, and it was pretty much artificial everything.’
      • ‘They know what is going on because I have a list of crime reference numbers as long as my arm.’
      • ‘Given his level of popularity amongst work colleagues, family and the wider public the suspect list is as long as your arm.’
      • ‘Finally, just as you thought it was safe to hang up Santa's stocking, along came a show with a Christmas list as long as your arm.’
      • ‘‘Straight away people are coming up to us with a big list as long as their arm of people doing bad things,’ he said.’
      • ‘He's got a record as long as your arm and I think a few months in prison would be the wake-up call he needs.’
      • ‘We have a list as long as your arm of stuff to do before they arrive - sort out beds, clean the hovel we live in etc etc.’
      • ‘Before I knew it I had a pile of book as long as my arm and twice as high.’
      • ‘Twelve years ago he was a healthy marathon runner, but now he has a list of symptoms as long as your arm.’
      • ‘There's also another 'To Do' list as long as my arm, but I'm feeling too ill to do any of it.’
      • ‘In a couple of days I might be posting a list of issues as long as your arm, but right now, two hours after completion, I'm a happy customer.’
      • ‘‘If one had a record as long as one's arm, wouldn't a circus be the ideal place to hide,’ the judge commented.’
  • at arm's length

    • Away from the body, with the arm fully extended.

      ‘I held the telephone at arm's length’
      • ‘He also remembers a bottle of brown medicine that was so vile to smell that even his mother had to hold it at arm's length.’
      • ‘Nero holds his daughter at arm's length while he investigates the issues.’
      • ‘In the picture they were both looking shy, sitting just close enough to get in view as she held the camera at arm's length.’
      • ‘She held out the photographs at arm's length, gripping the rim of her eyeglasses with a free hand as if it were a telescope.’
      • ‘You're wondering if there will be enough room even to hold your book at arm's length above shoulder level and squint at the small type on the train.’
      • ‘Now simply grasp the dowel with both hands, hold it out at arm's length and alternately wind and unwind the cord.’
      • ‘Jocelyn reached behind her neck and released the clasp, removed the necklace and held it at arm's length to him.’
      • ‘Damon took it from her and held it out at arm's length to look at it.’
      • ‘In this piece, he stood on a white box for 24 hours, performing a complicated series of actions with objects held out at arm's length.’
      • ‘Claw held the pearl-handled pistol at arm's length, studying the sheen on the blued barrel.’
      • ‘I held the mixing bowl and album at arm's length, tilting them away from me slightly.’
      • ‘After weeks and weeks of blurred vision and of holding books and paper at arm's length, the whole world, near and far, leapt into sharp focus once more.’
      • ‘As a woman she was not allowed to touch him, so made her diagnosis at arm's length.’
      • ‘He held the bag at arm's length, glowering at me as if he had a bad smell under his nose.’
      • ‘His hands dropped from her back, but she held him at arm's length, gripping his shoulders defiantly.’
      • ‘The man in the passenger side draped a white flag out the window at arm's length.’
      • ‘I give him a cheque, at arm's length, but can't find my guarantee card.’
      • ‘Aunt Gail moved back, holding me at arm's length, tears glistening in her eyes.’
      • ‘He brought up his gun, holding it at arm's length with both hands.’
      • ‘Hurriedly I picked up the annoying, buzzing thing and held it at arm's length.’
  • cost an arm and a leg

    • informal Be extremely expensive.

      • ‘In Scotland, fishing of this calibre would cost an arm and a leg, and would probably be booked out year after year.’
      • ‘These were animals with a wealth of breeding behind them, stock which would cost an arm and a leg to replace if indeed they ever could be replaced.’
      • ‘She knew it ‘was costing an arm and a leg’ so she wished us well before I had spent the price of a pint on the call.’
      • ‘It won't cost an arm and a leg to upgrade it and, hopefully, the work will commence sooner rather than later.’
      • ‘It may still be one of the glitziest games on earth but it no longer needs to cost an arm and a leg to watch the sport, or even to play it.’
      • ‘Clearly it would cost an arm and a leg to rebuild.’
      • ‘‘It costs an arm and a leg to keep this church going,’ she said, while noting, ‘The elderly worshipers have been very true to their offerings.’’
      • ‘Any private insurance scheme would cost an arm and a leg to collect in comparison to that, so why bother?’
      • ‘And, remember, it costs an arm and a leg to raise a family these days.’
      • ‘Try living on that in London, where a cup of coffee costs an arm and a leg.’
      • ‘I heard good food around here costs an arm and a leg.’
      • ‘Just because something costs an arm and a leg, doesn't mean it's the best thing in the world, ‘she objected.’’
      • ‘According to Scott: ‘The good news is that a car with sex appeal doesn't necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg.’
      • ‘But this is one of Sweden's more traditional national sports, born out of long and deeply chilly winter evenings in a country where alcohol costs an arm and a leg.’
      • ‘We will be sorry to leave St John House but it is a listed building and costs an arm and a leg to keep maintained.’
      • ‘But remember to leave time to ski back to base - taxis up and down the intervening valleys can cost an arm and a leg.’
      • ‘It was costing an arm and a leg and it would not have been commercially acceptable to the parent companies of either companies to have carried on spending the sort of money necessary.’
      • ‘I expect the meals will cost an arm and a leg, in a town where shops get 80 applications for counter jobs.’
      • ‘Traditional paddling pools are fun and, more importantly, do not cost an arm and a leg, so they sell well.’
      • ‘‘I told him I wanted a system that didn't cost an arm and a leg,’ says O'Callaghan.’
    • informal

      see arm
  • get one's arms around

    • informal Fully understand an issue or situation.

      ‘doctors are having difficulty getting their arms around these new findings’
  • give one's right arm

    • informal Used to convey a strong desire to have or do something.

      ‘I'd give my right arm to go with them’
      • ‘Other European economies, struggling to contain their deficits, would give their right arm for such a surplus.’
      • ‘Negativity in London could have crushed him, but a return home and some quiet soul searching provided fresh impetus for a career which many Northern Ireland actors would give their right arm for.’
      • ‘Nothing to be ashamed of in this house - many people would give their right arm for it.’
      • ‘They are the sort of doctor's orders some people would happily give their right arm for.’
      • ‘I'm sure many people will be saying this week that they'd give their right arm to go to Saturday's FA Cup Final.’
      • ‘There are peasant boys that would give their right arm to be a prince for a day!’
      • ‘There were girls from his school who would give their right arm to go out with him… just because of those stunning eyes.’
      • ‘‘Any manufacturing outlet would give their right arm for the maintenance team we had here’, Mr O'Donnell stressed.’
      • ‘If you are music-crazy, you would gladly give your right arm to own one such system.’
      • ‘Most actors would give their right arm to have one successful character and I've had four.’
      • ‘Bermuda's prosperous, tolerant and most other countries would give their right arm to have the problems we do.’
      • ‘Do you know there are millions and millions of kids who would give their right arm to be where you are right now?’
      • ‘I know tens of ex-footballers out of the game without jobs, with great talent, who would give their right arm to be in my position now.’
      • ‘Most people would give their right arm to have this opportunity.’
      • ‘I'd give my right arm to live to see those problems solved.’
      • ‘The civil servant was fortunate to be offered early retirement on full pension benefits - the kind most of us would give our right arm for.’
      • ‘In percentage terms, that is a 22 per cent increase - an outstanding rise that most clubs would give their right arm for.’
      • ‘So when I started writing, if someone said you're going to have a book in the best-seller list, I would have thought that's amazing and I would give my right arm for that.’
      • ‘There are plenty of girls who would give their right arm to be on this squad and you're willing to throw it all away.’
      • ‘I also know that half of the guys in town would give their right arm to go out with her.’
  • into the arms of

    • Into the possession or control of.

      ‘the violin passed into the arms of a wealthy dilettante’
      • ‘All of which does nothing but drive young people away from golf - into the arms of more welcoming sports.’
      • ‘A Competition Commission inquiry may result, but sooner that than see Abbey slide unchallenged into the arms of another.’
      • ‘As okay as I can be after driving the woman I love back into the arms of another man, he silently added.’
      • ‘He added the closure of the shop would ‘drive people into the arms of moneylenders’.’
      • ‘I had walked away from him and walked straight into the arms of his best friend.’
      • ‘One of my guests had heard a noise in the living room and shone her torch and scared off the thieves right into the arms of the police.’
      • ‘The administration may well be driving the reformers into the arms of the hardliners.’
      • ‘It seems you want to deliver them back into the arms of a tyrant.’
      • ‘That, of course, means my chances of drifting into the arms of Morpheus are diminishing with every passing minute.’
      • ‘How could she share a kiss with him then just jump into the arms of another guy?’
      • ‘It's a problem that is driving more customers than ever before into the arms of a burgeoning local slimming industry.’
      • ‘It would be an even bigger shame if he were driven into the arms of the enemy.’
      • ‘This autumn, I will deliver my eldest daughter into the arms of the Glaswegian state education system.’
      • ‘She walked from the English upper classes into the arms of a sporting hero - but the fairytale is finally falling apart.’
      • ‘But his first shot was blocked and his second was tame as he helped it apologetically into the arms of Gough.’
      • ‘It also gives Dahlen a chance to leave the comfort of Montreal and head into the arms of family and friends in B.C.’
      • ‘Told that he did not belong to the group, he was sent packing and eventually into the arms of the Americans.’
      • ‘But like a relapsed addict, the organisation has fallen back into the arms of Faustian corporate deals.’
  • keep someone/something at arm's length

    • Avoid intimacy or close contact with someone or something.

      • ‘Debbie led a frugal life so she could send a large part of her salary to her family and kept male admirers at arm's length.’
      • ‘Events become increasingly chaotic as Ellwood desperately tries to seal his deal while simultaneously keeping the suspicious sergeant at arm's length.’
      • ‘Yet part of his great skill as a documentary-maker is his way of consulting all the experts, then keeping them at arm's length when he is making his decisions - precisely what has triggered the backlash.’
      • ‘And so, therefore, he's got to - he's got to keep us at arm's length.’
      • ‘She said that they still talked, but she kept him at arm's length; they were not as close.’
      • ‘They kept me at arm's length, they had to because of my reckless behaviour.’
      • ‘But they started off in the same way of trying to keep the press at arm's length and trying to control things.’
      • ‘He deliberately kept his sister at arm's length; what few real close friends he had you could probably count on one hand.’
      • ‘McConnell is notoriously territorial and will be tempted to keep Alexander at arm's length.’
      • ‘For all their charms, Mamet's early films had a stagy, mannered quality that kept the viewer at arm's length.’
      • ‘I had a wonderful chance today but he kept me at arm's length.’
      • ‘Mediæval kings may have been surrounded by importunate projectors and alchemists, but they mostly kept them at arm's length.’
      • ‘There were some who never trusted me and kept me at arm's length and a few who had serious mental illnesses or developmental disabilities that made it impossible for us to develop a rapport.’
      • ‘But unlike the older star, Bardem has so far kept Hollywood at arm's length.’
      • ‘McNealy has long fought to keep the government at arm's length from big business and says that too much intrusion could be enough to take the fun out of being a CEO.’
      • ‘The overall strategy should be the same as it always was at least until the 1980s - to keep potential adversaries at arm's length.’
      • ‘It feels dated and it keeps us at arm's length from the violence.’
      • ‘While the contractors reassured us that they were keeping him at arm's length, we couldn't be entirely sure that they were not tempted by the prospect of some easy extra money on the back of our job.’
      • ‘His father has kept him at arm's length ever since his mother died giving birth to him; and his sister, the only one who seems to care much about him, is embarking on a rather troubled phase of her adolescence.’
      • ‘In fact, he is incapable of making lasting human relationships as we know them; his penchant for the truth will only allow him to keep people at arm's length.’
      avoid, keep away from, stay away from, steer clear of, circumvent, give a wide berth to
      View synonyms
  • put the arm on

    • informal Attempt to force or coerce (someone) to do something.

      ‘she started putting the arm on them for donations’
      • ‘To be dubbed a Ranger or a Patriot used to mean that one had gone as far as one could go in putting the arm on business colleagues for individual donations, which were then grouped into eye-popping wads.’
      • ‘When Sam arrives to put the arm on Norman, it can be said that neither actor inhabits his role.’
  • under one's arm

    • Between one's arm and one's body.

      ‘Barbara tucked the papers under her arm’
      • ‘Over the past few years, I have become accustomed to patients coming in to see me with reams of printed paper under their arm.’
      • ‘He was carrying Jason and Jules' breakfast in a brown paper bag tucked under his arm.’
      • ‘I also awarded myself a 500-point bonanza for arriving home without a carpet tucked under my arm.’
      • ‘A man clambers onto the streetcar after having bought the daily paper and tucking it under his arm.’
      • ‘Anyway, I folded the paper and stuck it under my arm.’
      • ‘Alex was carrying the canvas now wrapped in brown paper under his arm.’
      • ‘I went back to the house, Sunday paper under my arm, and had coffee on the porch before anyone else was up.’
      • ‘The official tucked the papers and the passports under his arm and left.’
      • ‘You tuck the paper under your arm, and you're whistling when you walk through the front door.’
      • ‘A frazzled looking officer hurried out of the office with a large paper rolled up under his arm.’
      • ‘The door burst open and a worn-out man stepped in with a stack of papers under his arm.’
      • ‘I leave with K's birthday present tucked under my arm - a beautiful abstract landscape painting, of the St. Ives school.’
      • ‘If you have anything worth saving, tuck it under your arm and start walking.’
      • ‘Yesterday I dashed out for a surf, trotting off down the street in my wetsuit, board tucked under my arm.’
      • ‘An hour and a half later, he was trotting through the corridors with the papers under his arm.’
      • ‘She tucked the paper under her arm and took a sip of the steaming tea.’
      • ‘Josh clacks away on his skateboard, which he tucks under his arm when we reach Nicollet Mall.’
      • ‘Pen put the paper under her arm and fished around in her wallet for her bus pass for she noticed that the bus had just pulled up.’
      • ‘He has speed and strength, and a unique ability to tuck the ball under his arm and run for a first down.’
      • ‘Worse still, it smacked of the little boy who refuses to let go of one ball even when he has another tucked under his arm.’
  • with open arms

    • With great affection or enthusiasm.

      ‘schools have welcomed such arrangements with open arms’
      • ‘As a member of the executive of Athletics Ireland, I welcome this development with open arms.’
      • ‘Anyone who can walk for the Club on this occasion and help raise much needed funds will be welcomed with open arms.’
      • ‘With their friendly disposition and infectious enthusiasm, the lads are welcomed with open arms by locals of all ages.’
      • ‘The South Americans are also sending over their footballers and the Spaniards are welcoming them with open arms.’
      • ‘Lot welcomes the strangers with open arms, as is customary for the times.’
      • ‘There are those who welcome them with open arms and others who pretend they have to go somewhere five minutes before the doorbell rings.’
      • ‘The team of volunteers are a friendly bunch, and they would welcome any new helpers with open arms.’
      • ‘People of his class and calibre would be welcomed with open arms in any, and every, other county in the country.’
      • ‘Stars support exiting team members and welcome new members with open arms and enthusiasm.’
      • ‘They were welcomed with open arms by the local prince and his subjects.’
      • ‘Councillor Latty welcomed the original application with open arms.’
      • ‘However some of those who have ventured into the countryside say they have not exactly been welcomed with open arms.’
      • ‘The people of Canada are great travellers who, in most cases, are welcomed with open arms wherever they go.’
      • ‘Neighbour Chris did not say as much, but gave the impression that not everybody in the area had welcomed the new arrival with open arms.’
      • ‘No, I will continue on this path, and I will go where it takes me with open arms and an open mind.’
      • ‘The community, seeing the whole affair as a great miscarriage of justice, will welcome them back with open arms.’
      • ‘In 1969, when it arrived in East Kilbride, the company was welcomed with open arms.’
      • ‘The small villages away from the coast are resplendent with tapas bars and cafés that will welcome families with open arms.’
      • ‘Although many tourists were trying to leave, those that chose to stay were welcomed with open arms.’
      • ‘And if there is one place that can welcome them with open arms, it is the church.’
  • within arm's reach

    • Near enough to reach by extending one's arm.

      • ‘Tabbi saw her new-found friends off and then went back to the cavern, staying as far away from the unconscious body as possible and keeping her semi-automatic within arm's reach.’
      • ‘I never saw Claude Nougaro without a book within arm's reach, or carried in the little suitcase he took on tour.’
      • ‘Once you've started work on something, it goes into the 'In Process' area (the largest in the system), which should be within arm's reach.’
      • ‘They looked over toward the back of the tent to see that the girl with aqua-lavender-white hair had wormed under the back ‘wall’ and now stood within arm's reach.’
      • ‘Many pilots also keep extra warm clothing within arm's reach in the cockpit.’
      • ‘Put a double layer of paper towel on your work surface, and set all the ingredients (shrimp, vegetable mixture, peanuts, cooked vermicelli, herbs) around you within arm's reach.’
      • ‘I turned to my left, and he was standing there within arm's reach of me.’
      • ‘City policy for group rentals and public swims requires one adult in the pool within arm's reach for every four children who can't swim and are less than 42 inches in height.’
      • ‘The man's hands grabbed me under the armpits when I came within arm's reach.’
      • ‘I am writing this as I sit in my office, having just completed a call on my wireless phone, despite the fact that two landline phones (one cordless) are within arm's reach.’
      • ‘Sadly, many of these sculptures have the noses chopped off, as they are all within arm's reach.’
      • ‘I sailed on towards Wellington Harbour 70 miles away, saved only by the branches of a willow tree trailing mercifully within arm's reach.’
      • ‘Youngblood also criticizes fast-food restaurants that have cash drawers within arm's reach - worse, at hand level - of drive-up windows.’
      • ‘Carefully listening to Alisha's words, I bowed my head down in guilt for all I had said about the girl, and when I looked back up, I found that she had moved closer to me and was now within arm's reach.’
      • ‘And for obvious reasons, the country is full of guns - everyone does a stint of compulsory military service, so pretty much everyone in their early 20s is within arm's reach of a firearm at all times.’
      • ‘Vincent sat at the table in the corner of a bar that was next door to his hotel; his feet were propped up on the table, a frosted glass full of beer within arm's reach, and an empty plate that had had his lunch on it beside the glass.’
      • ‘Actually, after taking a step back in hopes to control my cravings I was able to take notice of more delectable delights that might share my tastes and actually be within arm's reach.’
      • ‘It's normally pretty hard to nudge someone when they aren't within arm's reach.’
      • ‘In a hospital setting, the most extreme situations may call for a ‘sitter’ who will remain within arm's reach of the patient for the duration of the watch.’
      • ‘When he got almost within arm's reach, he stopped abruptly, which showed good sense, because she could already feel every muscle in the Admiral's feisty frame tensing for action.’


Old English arm, earm, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch arm and German Arm.

Main definitions of arm in English

: arm1arm2



  • 1 Supply or provide with weapons.

    ‘both sides armed themselves with grenades and machine guns’
    • ‘Final went to arm himself with his Mace, but stopped once he realized that he could do nothing at such a far distance.’
    • ‘The defendant first got a knife and then armed himself with the ornamental sword.’
    • ‘I thought of arming myself with pepper spray as a weapon but never got any, or needed it.’
    • ‘Last year, Strathclyde Police found youth street gangs were arming themselves with an arsenal of household utensils which double up as weapons.’
    • ‘Derek, Richard and Wade didn't even have to have me tell them to start going to their rooms and begin arming themselves with body armour and other weapons.’
    • ‘Many school officials fed up with violence are arming themselves with their own high-tech weapons.’
    • ‘She said he had armed himself with a bottle, but was on the edge of the incident in which he had been seriously stabbed.’
    • ‘He then became angry and threw a plastic Christmas tree at him, ran into the kitchen and armed herself with a knife.’
    • ‘Many of them were armed with nothing more than scythe blades mounted on the end of long poles.’
    • ‘He was butted in the face and grabbed a hammer to protect himself as the thugs armed themselves with a spade and a knife.’
    • ‘He got up from the table, armed himself with a few guns and walked out of the inn.’
    • ‘A man is receiving hospital treatment after he armed himself with a kitchen knife and robbed a Clacton chemist.’
    • ‘The key similarity was the evidence that in both incidents he had armed himself with two knives.’
    • ‘The complainant during the trial said that he had not armed himself with the knife and that the knife had been in the kitchen drawer.’
    • ‘He was armed with a long piece of hoe stick as ran on his spindly legs towards the yelping dogs.’
    • ‘They had armed themselves with wooden poles or sticks, hammers and at least one axe.’
    • ‘One night he armed himself with an axe as Fred and his wife slept at their home.’
    • ‘That cannot begin to justify your actions in arming yourself with a deadly weapon.’
    • ‘Nor was it in dispute that he had armed himself with a CS gas canister before going out.’
    • ‘From a few feet back, Will had put away his dagger and armed himself with a bow and arrow.’
    provide, supply, equip, furnish, issue, fit out, fit up, outfit, rig out, accoutre, gird, provision, stock
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Supply or provide with equipment, tools, or other items in preparation or readiness for something.
      ‘she armed them with brushes and mops’
      • ‘More importantly, she went to Fort Lauderdale and armed herself with the knowledge of how to handle a pistol.’
      • ‘If I really want some chips, I pick up a single-size serving, and I steer clear of the vending machine, arming myself by preparing fruits and vegetables as snacks.’
      • ‘Before going she armed herself with as many facts and figures as she could lay her hands on.’
      • ‘If you were armed with the financial knowledge you now have would you have done things differently?’
      • ‘He claimed that we'd all be a lot safer if researchers would keep details about vulnerabilities to themselves, and stop arming hackers with offensive tools.’
      • ‘Hearing voices in the entrance hall, Beth hastily tugged down her nightgown and crept into bed, arming herself with a book as an effective prop.’
      • ‘When I first embarked on the research I was armed with only a very vague strategy and a lot of high hopes.’
      • ‘Police were later to discover that Bieber had armed himself with two more false identities.’
      • ‘Start new staffers with some of these basics and you'll be arming them with handy reference tools for dealing with a few basic customer questions.’
      • ‘On a typical Holi day, preparations begin by arming oneself with shades of brightly colored powder and water guns.’
      • ‘Now is the time to use existing knowledge and skills to empower patients as well as arming the all important asthma nurses with the tools for the job.’
      • ‘In the current art marketplace, arming yourself and your staff with all the tools you can makes good business sense.’
      • ‘Just arm yourself with a reliable stopwatch, sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in one of those shops, and count the number of cups of coffee that are sold in an hour.’
      • ‘Police chiefs are drafting guidelines on the possibility of arming door supervisors with the solid steel restraints - as a way of better protecting themselves and members of the public.’
      • ‘Our submission in response to that is that the courts are armed with all of the powers to decide these issues.’
      prepare, forearm, make ready, brace, steel, fortify
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Activate the fuse of (a bomb or other device) so that it is ready to explode.
      • ‘Jace turned to see five marines aiming at him; three standing and two crouched on one knee arming their grenade launchers.’
      • ‘Jonathan looked at the paper while they were in the elevator, ‘These are codes for arming and disarming missiles.’’
      • ‘With no other viable option, Rushwind plans his attack run, and begins arming his remaining weapons.’
      • ‘He found the safety and pressed it through, arming the weapon.’
      • ‘Gannon crept closer to the right side of the rock and made sure his weapons were armed.’
      • ‘The enrichment programme could be used to arm nuclear warheads.’
      • ‘In the missile round a team had to arm itself with missiles and choose another to attack.’
      • ‘Odin's fingers flew over the console, skipping from key to key, arming all weapons on the ship.’
      • ‘It was just a pair of guards, however, and they were arming a thermal explosive.’
      • ‘He reached up and flicked a switch, arming his missiles.’
      • ‘If these elements can convince the military to carry out a coup, they can surely convince them to arm the missiles.’
      • ‘Roy scoffed and shook his head quietly as he signaled Steve to arm the weapons.’


  • see arms
    • ‘This was a legitimate exercise of the power to regulate the wearing of the weapon, and is authorized by the Constitution, and does not interfere with the right of keeping the arm.’
    • ‘The first count charges him with carrying a belt and pocket pistol and revolver pistol, the same being an arm such as is not commonly carried and used in the United States army.’
    • ‘The Legislature has deemed it a proper prevention of crime to regulate the use of this arm by prohibiting the wearing of it or carrying it about the person.’


Middle English: from Old French armer (verb), from Latin armare, from arma armor, arms.

Main definitions of arm in English

: arm1arm2


  • Adjustable-rate mortgage.