Definition of keep one's distance in US English:

keep one's distance


  • 1Stay far away.

    ‘keep your distance from birds feeding their young’
    • ‘So I decided to keep my distance and stay where I was by my car door.’
    • ‘Kevin's eyes stayed locked onto the coffin, and she kept her distance, her feet very solidly planted on the ground.’
    • ‘I wished I had stayed in the back of the car and kept my distance, but it was too late.’
    • ‘The centurion tried to keep his distance with his long sword, but Jacomus tried to stay close with his gladius.’
    • ‘Stay with your friends and I'll keep my distance.’
    • ‘We keep our distance, lower our expectations, stay cool, aloof, and separate.’
    • ‘If equipped with long range weapons they will keep their distance and try to stay away from your reach.’
    • ‘Be accurate, stay focused, be skeptical but never cynical, keep your distance, don't cross what I call the emotional line and listen carefully.’
    • ‘Both had done all the right things, the family said - they stayed together, avoided heavy drinking sessions, and kept their distance from local youths.’
    1. 1.1 Maintain one's reserve.
      ‘you had to say nothing and keep your distance’
      • ‘Should I keep my distance to maintain my authority or spend time with everyone to make sure things get done?’
      • ‘Moses said he saw that the police kept their distance from reserve communities because of a lack of understanding of the people and their culture.’
      • ‘For two years I have kept my thoughts mostly to myself and kept my distance when I couldn't take the rudeness.’
      • ‘More arrogant, to me, is the author who keeps his distance from these giants, having a doubtful reservation, than those of us who openly accept them.’
      • ‘They opened a discussion in which both freely admitted that, in the past, faith leaders had kept their distance from one another.’
      • ‘To a degree I wish I had kept my distance and simply helped her out of that situation as a friend.’
      • ‘All in all, though, I've kept my distance from such matters.’
      • ‘This is a break with the tradition of analysts keeping their distance from the players in the field so as to maintain their objectivity.’
      • ‘The headmaster of Settle High School criticised parents who kept their distance from the school.’
      • ‘Better, no doubt, to keep your distance so that you can maintain the coveted adversarial relationship.’