American English

Definition of arm noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    see also arms
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    part of body
  1. 1either of the two long parts that stick out from the top of the body and connect the shoulders to the hands He escaped with only a broken arm. She threw her arms around his neck. The officer grabbed him by the arm (= grabbed his arm). She touched him gently on the arm. He held the dirty rag at arm's length (= as far away from his body as possible). They walked along arm in arm (= with the arm of one person linked with the arm of the other). She cradled the child in her arms. They fell asleep in each other's arms (= holding each other). He was carrying a number of files under his arm (= between his arm and his body). He walked in with a tall blond lady on his arm (= next to him and holding his arm). Topic CollocationsPhysical AppearanceA person may be described as having:eyes (bright) blue/green/(dark/light) brown/hazel eyes deep-set/sunken/bulging/protruding eyes small/beady/sparkling/twinkling/shifty eyes piercing/penetrating/steely eyes bloodshot/watery/puffy eyes bushy/thick/dark/raised/arched eyebrows long/dark/thick/curly/false eyelashes/lashesface a flat/bulbous/pointed/sharp/snub nose a straight/a pointy/a Roman/an aquiline nose full/thick/thin/pouty lips dry/chapped/cracked lips flushed/rosy/red/ruddy/pale cheeks soft/chubby/sunken cheeks white/perfect/crooked/protruding teeth a large/high/broad/wide forehead a strong/weak/pointed/double chin a long/full/bushy/wispy beard a full/thin goatee a long/thin/bushy/droopy/handlebar/pencil mustachehair and skin pale/fair/olive/dark/tanned skin dry/oily/smooth/rough/leathery/wrinkled skin a dark/pale/light/sallow/ruddy/olive/swarthy/clear complexion deep/fine/small/facial wrinkles blonde/blond/fair/(light/dark) brown/(jet-)black/auburn/red/ginger/gray hair straight/curly/wavy/frizzy/spiky hair thick/thin/fine/bushy/thinning hair dyed/bleached/soft/silky/dry/greasy/shiny hair long/short/shoulder-length/cropped hair a bald/balding/shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/spot a side/center partbody a long/short/thick/slender/ (disapproving) scrawny neck broad/narrow/sloping/rounded/hunched shoulders a bare/broad/muscular/small/large chest a flat/round/swollen/bulging stomach a small/tiny/narrow/slim/slender/28-inch waist big/wide/narrow/slim hips a straight/bent/arched/broad/hairy back thin/slender/muscular arms big/large/small/manicured/calloused/gloved hands long/short/fat/slender/delicate/bony fingers long/muscular/hairy/shapely/ (informal) (often disapproving) skinny/spindly legs muscular/chubby/ (informal) (disapproving) flabby thighs/calves big/little/small/dainty/wide/narrow/bare feet a good/slim/slender/hourglass figure be of slim/medium/average/large/athletic/stocky build
  2. of clothing
  3. 2the part of a piece of clothing that covers the arm synonym sleeve The arms will need shortening.
  4. of chair
  5. 3the part of a chair, etc. on which you rest your arms She perched on the arm of his chair.
  6. of machinery
  7. 4a long narrow part of an object or a piece of machinery, especially one that moves, for example a crane
  8. of water/land
  9. 5a long narrow piece of water or land that is joined to a larger area A bridge spans the arm of the river.
  10. of organization
  11. 6[usually singular] arm (of something) a section of a large organization that deals with one particular activity synonym wing the research arm of the company
  12. Idioms
    (with) arms akimbo
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    with your hands on your hips and your elbows pointing away from your body
    as long as your arm (informal)
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    very long There's a list of repairs as long as your arm.
    a babe in arms (old-fashioned)
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    a very small baby that cannot yet walk
    bear arms (old use)
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    to be a soldier; to fight
    cost/pay an arm and a leg (informal)
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    to cost/pay a lot of money
    fold your arms
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    to put one of your arms over the other one and hold them against your body He stood watching her with his arms folded across his chest.
    give your right arm for something/to do something (informal)
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    used to say that someone is willing to give up a lot in order to have or do something that they really want I'd have given my right arm to be there with them.
    keep somebody at arm's length
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    to avoid having a close relationship with someone He keeps all his clients at arm's length.
    a shot in the arm
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    something that gives someone or something the help or encouragement they need
    twist somebody's arm (informal)
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    to persuade or force someone to do something
    with open arms
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    if you welcome someone with open arms, you are extremely happy and pleased to see them
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: arm