Keep your distance


      • discourage someone
        Advise against engaging in a particular activity or task, cautioning that it will not result in any positive outcome or benefit

      • maintain physical space
        Encourage someone to stay at a distance to avoid potential harm or danger

    Examples of Keep your distance

    • In order to avoid catching a contagious disease, I will keep my distance from the person who has been coughing and sneezing frequently.

      This is a typical situation where the idiom "Keep your distance" is used to signify the act of staying away from someone who might be spreading an infectious disease. By keeping a distance, one can prevent the transmission of germs and bacteria.

    • Despite living in the same neighborhood, my husband and I barely interact with our next-door neighbors as we prefer to keep our distance.

      This example demonstrates the use of the idiom in a social context. When someone is not interested in being friendly or interacting with others, they might choose to "keep their distance". This phrase may also be used in a workplace setting where two coworkers prefer not to get involved in each other's work.

    • The vehicles on the highway were advised to keep their distance due to the thick fog that reduced visibility to less than a few feet.

      This example illustrates the use of the idiom in a driving situation. When visibility is low, it is crucial to maintain a safe distance between cars to prevent accidents. Therefore, the authorities might suggest "keeping their distance" to ensure everyone's safety.

    • After the outbreak of the pandemic, many people started following the advice to "keep their distance" to minimize the spread of the virus.

      This example is a reflection of how the meaning of the idiom has evolved in the context of the current pandemic. Previously, "keeping your distance" was commonly used to avoid social obligations or unwanted interactions. However, since the pandemic started, the phrase has acquired a new meaning related to personal hygiene and health safety.

    • Mary asked Tom to keep his distance from her after their breakup.

      This example shows how the idiom "keep your distance" can be used in a sentence to convey the idea of staying physically and emotionally far away from someone. In this context, Mary is asking Tom to avoid getting too close to her because they have recently ended their romantic relationship.

    • Karen told her daughter's ex-boyfriend to keep his distance, as she didn't want him to disrupt her daughter's new relationship.

      Here, the idiom is used in a different context; Karen is using it to ask the ex-boyfriend to refrain from interfering in her daughter's current relationship. By keeping his distance, the ex-boyfriend won't cause any further complications or negative feelings towards her daughter's new partner.

    • The police officer warned the crowd to keep their distance from the crime scene, as it was still being investigated.

      In this example, the idiom is used to request that people stay a certain amount of space away from a certain place or object. Here, the police officer is advising the crowd to keep their distance from the crime scene to ensure the integrity of the investigation and avoid any contamination of evidence.

    • The pregnant woman requested that her colleague keep his distance from her, as she was feeling unwell due to morning sickness.

      Lastly, this example represents how the idiom can also be used in more general terms, such as when someone is experiencing health issues or discomfort. In this context, the pregnant woman is requesting her colleague to stay away from her since she's feeling sick due to morning sickness, implying that she does not want to be around him right now.


    The idiom "keep your distance" can be used to discourage someone from engaging in a particular activity or to advise them to stay physically distant to avoid potential harm or danger. It is often used in a cautionary or protective manner, urging caution and distance in various situations.

    Origin of "Keep your distance"

    The origin of the idiom "keep your distance" can be traced back to the concept of maintaining a safe and cautious distance from something or someone. The phrase has been used for centuries as a warning or piece of advice to avoid getting too close to a potentially dangerous or harmful situation. It is likely derived from the idea of maintaining physical distance for safety, and has evolved to also encompass the notion of emotional or social distance as well. Overall, the idiom reflects a fundamental human instinct for self-preservation and caution.


    • The sign on the fence clearly reads "Danger: Keep Your Distance."
    • I think it's best to keep your distance from that group of people.