Definition of at arm's length in US English:

at arm's length


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

    ‘I held the telephone at arm's length’
    • ‘I held the mixing bowl and album at arm's length, tilting them away from me slightly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now simply grasp the dowel with both hands, hold it out at arm's length and alternately wind and unwind the cord.’
    • ‘His hands dropped from her back, but she held him at arm's length, gripping his shoulders defiantly.’
    • ‘Claw held the pearl-handled pistol at arm's length, studying the sheen on the blued barrel.’
    • ‘As a woman she was not allowed to touch him, so made her diagnosis at arm's length.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hurriedly I picked up the annoying, buzzing thing and held it at arm's length.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nero holds his daughter at arm's length while he investigates the issues.’
    • ‘He held the bag at arm's length, glowering at me as if he had a bad smell under his nose.’
    • ‘He brought up his gun, holding it at arm's length with both hands.’
    • ‘I give him a cheque, at arm's length, but can't find my guarantee card.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The man in the passenger side draped a white flag out the window at arm's length.’
    • ‘Aunt Gail moved back, holding me at arm's length, tears glistening in her eyes.’
    • ‘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.’