[ ahrmz-lengkth, -length ]

  1. 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. 2024

How to use arm's-length in a sentence

  • Microsoft says it intends to keep Skype operating at arms-length, as an independent division.

  • His method was to track the bear to his lair, to approach to within arms length if possible, and then rouse the enemy.

    The Cradle of Mankind | W.A. Wigram
  • It is said that he ultimately covered his eyes with his left hand, and extended his right at arms length for the salute.

    The Cradle of Mankind | W.A. Wigram
  • Kentucky, Larry, and Pug kept throughout within arms length of one another.

    Grapes of wrath | Boyd Cable
  • Not he!he loosened her desperate hands from about his throat, and forced her back, holding her at arms length.

    The Sorrows of Satan | Marie Corelli
  • She held him at arms length and slowly slipped her hands from his and waved him back.

    The Fall of a Nation | Thomas Dixon

British Dictionary definitions for arm's-length


  1. lacking intimacy or friendliness, esp when possessing some special connection, such as previous closeness: we 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

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