give a wide berth

Idioms & Phrases

give a wide berth

Avoid, as in After Jane told on them, they gave her a wide berth. This expression alludes to giving a vessel enough room to swing at anchor so as to avoid a collision. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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