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[ahrmz-lengkth, -length] /ˈɑrmzˌlɛŋkθ, -ˌlɛŋθ/
not closely or intimately connected or associated; distant; remote:
an arm's-length relationship.
Origin of arm's-length
1645-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for arms-length
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • But when she was almost at arms-length distance, he sank again.

  • There are perch among them of half an arms-length, and the thickness of the biggest of wrists.

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

    Back o' the Moon Oliver Onions
  • Now you hold the great northern peaks admiringly at arms-length, as you would an old friend.

  • The dapper little gentleman stood off at arms-length to appraise him.

    Sudden Jim Clarence Budington Kelland
  • At arms-length Greta glanced at the parson's burdens, and summoned an austere look.

    A Son of Hagar Sir Hall Caine
  • 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 closeness: we 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
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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
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