Definition of give someone/something a wide berth in US English:

give someone/something a wide berth


  • 1Steer a ship well clear of something while passing it.

    ‘ships are advised to give a wide berth to the Outer Banks’
    • ‘Give a wide berth to the foaming surf, and hug these cliffs, or before you can stop her the ship may take us over there and we'll be wrecked.’
    • ‘The anchor was weighed, the sails set and with the canoe in tow the little vessel bounded merrily over the waters, gave a wide berth to the reef, against whose frowning rocks the sea still lashed itself to foam, and kept away from the cove, where the English ship unconsciously awaited us.’
    • ‘Recreational boaters are advised to give a wide berth to the massive cruise ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 when they visit Sydney Harbour tomorrow.’
    • ‘When they neared Barbers Point they too saw a large column of ‘Army’ planes and so gave them a wide berth and continued on toward Ford Island.’
    • ‘Yet for all the masterful handling of the ship by the coxswain it became quite noticeable that we gave a wide berth to the other ship.’
    1. 1.1 Stay away from someone or something.
      ‘I'd sworn to give women a wide berth’
      • ‘People eyed them uneasily as they passed, giving the trio a wide berth.’
      • ‘Jon and Laura have wandered in and are giving the interview a wide berth.’
      • ‘But she has toyed with my affections once too often and I gave her a wide berth.’
      • ‘Our backpacks remained unstolen; the average European gave us a wide berth.’
      • ‘Personally, I would give both companies a wide berth because both they are too highly geared for my liking.’
      • ‘Every sensible consumer should be giving these products a wide berth.’
      • ‘The best advice is to give all thunderstorms a wide berth and not to even think about deliberately penetrating a storm front.’
      • ‘The other gangs tended to give them a wide berth.’
      • ‘International visitors are giving the country a wide berth, partly because of misconceptions about the foot - and-mouth epidemic, and there are fears that the summer season could be disastrous.’
      • ‘Some people give you a wide berth when you are ill because they can't handle it.’
      • ‘Certain methods of earning a living would be given a wide berth by most individuals, instinctively.’
      • ‘Now the doctors are recommending that people being screened for the disease give the dish a wide berth for a few days before going to hospital.’
      • ‘However, fans of both directors should give this unwise collaboration a wide berth.’
      • ‘The slow trade could be because the traditional high-spenders, from countries such as Japan and the United States, are still giving the country a wide berth.’
      • ‘I'd enjoyed my time with Paol, but decided to give his band a wide berth.’
      • ‘The best approach is to avoid accidents and helmets actually lead to more accidents, so give them a wide berth and stay safe.’
      • ‘Surely it has been taken off the menu by now - but if not, give it a wide berth.’
      • ‘Interest in the game here is so low that the sports betting agencies seem to be giving it a wide berth.’
      • ‘If you are someone that is easily swayed by advertisements, try to give them a wide berth.’
      • ‘Most people give them a wide berth and casually ignore their messages of doom.’
      avoid, shun, keep away from, stay away from, steer clear of, keep at arm's length, fight shy of, have nothing to do with, have no truck with, have no dealings with, have no contact with, give someone a miss, give something a miss
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