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not touch with a ten-foot pole

Slang definitions & phrases for not touch with a ten-foot pole

not touch with a ten-foot pole

verb phrase

To be loath to have anything to do with; be suspicious or apprehensive; reject: If I were you I wouldn't touch that proposition with a ten-foot pole

[1909+; semantically akin to the proverb advising us to use a long spoon when we eat with the devil; an earlier and once more common version spoke of a forty-foot pole]



  1. Honored or flattered: touched that you would think of us
  2. Slightly crazy; eccentric: Emeril seems a bit touched
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with not touch with a ten-foot pole

not touch with a ten-foot pole

Stay far away from, avoid completely, as in Ronald wouldn't touch raw oysters with a ten-foot pole. This expression dates from the mid-1700s, when it began to replace the earlier not to be handled with a pair of tongs. In the 1800s barge-pole was sometimes substituted for ten-foot pole, but that variant has died out.
The American HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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