what does the phrase "wide birth" mean?

i remember Bill Murray saying this in the movie: Kingpin. he was referring to Woody Harrelson.

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  • Andy J
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Berth is a nautical term meaning space for a ship to move around; a "wide berth" is an abundance of this space. Used in everyday language, giving a person or a thing a wide berth is to give it room to mess up without screwing everything up.

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  • hulen
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Give A Wide Berth

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  • LK
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I'll bet on the script it was spelled "wide berth," and it meant Harrelson had a feature that was large or he missed something by a wide margin, a 'berth' being "sufficient space for a ship to manuever."

    Source(s): Amercian Heritage Dictionary... with a wide berth taken before the answer got in!
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's wide berth.

    It was orginally a maritime term meaning to give adequate sea room for a ship swing at anchor. A ship is often anchored only at the bow (front) and because it will swing around with the tide, it needs to be safe to swing its entire length in a circle around that point.

    But it is now generally used for anything that should be avoided

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's actually "wide berth", and the term comes from marine navigation, meaning to stay away from.

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  • 1 decade ago

    wide berth. A berth is a spot to "park" a boat or airplane. Wide berth means to leave a lot of room i.e. to be careful, cautious, or evasive

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  • te144
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It's 'wide berth' and refers to making more than adequate space for someone or something to pass by. Origination into common usage would be as in a reference to cumbersome large ships passing, as in a ship channel. One might also think of it in a negative sense as 'gratuitous accommodation'.

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  • It's wide berth, It means to keep ones distance or, go way around in order to avoid contact.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Wide berth (not "birth"). Give someone extra room -- can be

    meant metaphorically.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It means to "keep distance from." Originally it meant to allow a ship enough room on either side.

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