[ahrmz-lengkth, -length]


not closely or intimately connected or associated; distant; remote: an arm's-length relationship.

Origin of arm's-length

First recorded in 1645–55 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for arms-length

distant, remote

Examples from the Web for arms-length

Contemporary Examples of arms-length

Historical Examples of arms-length

  • 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.


    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



lacking intimacy or friendliness, esp when possessing some special connection, such as previous closenesswe now have an arm's-length relationship
(of commercial transactions) in accordance with market values, disregarding any connection such as common ownership of the companies involved
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

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper