Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

not touch with a (ten-foot pole/barge pole)

not touch with a ten-foot polenot touch with a barge pole
Meaning(s)
1) have no desire to be involved with or go anywhere near something or somebody
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • I wouldn't touch him/her with a ten-foot pole!
  • Analysis
    The expressions, 'I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole, and 'I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot barge pole', are both idiomatic expressions which show a strong repulsion or aversion to something or the unwillingness to be associated with something or someone. A 'barge pole' is a long pole or rod which is used on boats in order to allow passengers to push off from the bank or other boats to avoid hitting something. To say you 'wouldn't touch something with a barge pole' implies you wish to create distance between you and something else. You might use this idiom to express your unwillingness to be a part of something, such as a projector investment you deem to be unsound. "I wouldn't touch those stocks with a ten foot barge pole, they'll go down rapidly any day now." Colloquially the expression can also be an insult. "He asked me out to dinner but I wouldn't touch him with a barge pole," meaning you are repulsed by the idea of going out to dinner with the man. The 'barge pole' variation is more common to the United Kingdom.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. Person A: "Lisa says Paul is attracted to you. Would you ever think of dating him?" Person B: "Are you kidding me? I wouldn't touch him with a barge pole!"
    2. The car I wanted to buy had some engine problems and a leak. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
  • Professional Examples (Advance)
    1. That job offers long working hours and low pay. I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole!
    2. The woman we just interviewed was fired from her last job for stealing company supplies. I wouldn't touch her with a barge pole.
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