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arm's-length

[ahrmz-lengkth, -length]
See more synonyms for arm's-length on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. not closely or intimately connected or associated; distant; remote: an arm's-length relationship.
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Origin of arm's-length

First recorded in 1645–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

distant, remote

Examples from the Web for arms-length

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But when she was almost at arms-length distance, he sank again.

  • She handed the letter sternly, at arms-length, to her daughter.

    No Name

    Wilkie Collins

  • You forced me to ask you if I deserved to be kept at arms-length by you of all the people in the world.

    Armadale

    Wilkie Collins

  • Matthew Moon, in a corner of the fireplace, was reading bills and letters at arms-length.

    Back o' the Moon

    Oliver Onions

  • An Indian, at Falmouth, had held out a heavy fowling-piece at arms-length by simply thrusting his finger in at the muzzle.


British Dictionary definitions for arms-length

arm's-length

adjective
  1. lacking intimacy or friendliness, esp when possessing some special connection, such as previous closenesswe now have an arm's-length relationship
  2. (of commercial transactions) in accordance with market values, disregarding any connection such as common ownership of the companies involved
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for arms-length

n.

1650s, from arm (n.1) + length. At arm's end is recorded from 1570s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper