- the upper limb of the human body, especially the part extending from the shoulder to the wrist.
- the upper limb from the shoulder to the elbow.
- the forelimb of any vertebrate.
- some part of an organism like or likened to an arm.
- any armlike part or attachment, as the tone arm of a phonograph.
- a covering for the arm, especially a sleeve of a garment: the arm of a coat.
- an administrative or operational branch of an organization: A special arm of the government will investigate.
- Nautical. any of the curved or bent pieces of an anchor, terminating in the flukes.
- an armrest.
- an inlet or cove: an arm of the sea.
- a combat branch of the military service, as the infantry, cavalry, or field artillery.
- power; might; strength; authority: the long arm of the law.
- Typography. either of the extensions to the right of the vertical line of a K or upward from the vertical stem of a Y.
- an arm and a leg, a great deal of money: Our night on the town cost us an arm and a leg.
- arm in arm, with arms linked together or intertwined: They walked along arm in arm.
- at arm's length, not on familiar or friendly terms; at a distance: He's the kind of person you pity but want to keep at arm's length.
- in the arms of Morpheus, asleep: After a strenuous day, he was soon in the arms of Morpheus.
- on the arm, Slang. free of charge; gratis: an investigation of policemen who ate lunch on the arm.
- put the arm on, Slang.
- to solicit or borrow money from: She put the arm on me for a generous contribution.
- to use force or violence on; use strong-arm tactics on: If they don't cooperate, put the arm on them.
- twist someone's arm, to use force or coercion on someone.
- with open arms, cordially; with warm hospitality: a country that receives immigrants with open arms.
Origin of arm1
- (in man) either of the upper limbs from the shoulder to the wristRelated adjective: brachial
- the part of either of the upper limbs from the elbow to the wrist; forearm
- the corresponding limb of any other vertebrate
- an armlike appendage of some invertebrates
- an object that covers or supports the human arm, esp the sleeve of a garment or the side of a chair, sofa, etc
- anything considered to resemble an arm in appearance, position, or function, esp something that branches out from a central support or larger massan arm of the sea; the arm of a record player
- an administrative subdivision of an organizationan arm of the government
- power; authoritythe arm of the law
- any of the specialist combatant sections of a military force, such as cavalry, infantry, etc
- nautical See yardarm
- sport, esp ball games ability to throw or pitchhe has a good arm
- an arm and a leg informal a large amount of money
- arm in arm with arms linked
- at arm's length at a distance; away from familiarity with or subjection to another
- give one's right arm informal to be prepared to make any sacrifice
- in the arms of Morpheus sleeping
- with open arms with great warmth and hospitalityto welcome someone with open arms
- (tr) archaic to walk arm in arm with
- to equip with weapons as a preparation for war
- to provide (a person or thing) with something that strengthens, protects, or increases efficiencyhe armed himself against the cold
- to activate (a fuse) so that it will explode at the required time
- to prepare (an explosive device) for use by introducing a fuse or detonator
- nautical to pack arming into (a sounding lead)
- (usually plural) a weapon, esp a firearm
- adjustable rate mortgage
Word Origin and History for at arm's length
"upper limb," Old English earm "arm," from Proto-Germanic *armaz (cf. Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Middle Dutch, German arm, Old Norse armr, Old Frisian erm), from PIE root *ar- "fit, join" (cf. Sanskrit irmah "arm," Armenian armukn "elbow," Old Prussian irmo "arm," Greek arthron "a joint," Latin armus "shoulder"). Arm of the sea was in Old English. Arm-twister "powerful persuader" is from 1938. Arm-wrestling is from 1899.
They wenten arme in arme yfere Into the gardyn [Chaucer]
"weapon," c.1300, armes (plural) "weapons of a warrior," from Old French armes (plural), "arms, war, warfare," mid-13c., from Latin arma "weapons" (including armor), literally "tools, implements (of war)," from PIE root *ar- "fit, join" (see arm (n.1)). The notion seems to be "that which is fitted together." Meaning "heraldic insignia" (in coat of arms, etc.) is early 14c.; originally they were borne on shields of fully armed knights or barons.
- An upper limb of the human body, connecting the hand and wrist to the shoulder.
Idioms and Phrases with at arm's length
at arm's length
At a distance, avoiding intimacy or familiarity, as in Bill hated seeing his colleagues outside the office, preferring to keep all of them at arm's length, or She was friendly only when he was safely at arm's length. Now often used with the verb keep, this term for distancing oneself from a person, organization, or issue originated as at arm's end but developed its current form by the mid-1600s.
In addition to the idioms beginning with arm