There are 2 main definitions of arm in English:

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Line breaks: arm
Pronunciation: /ɑːm


1Each of the two upper limbs of the human body from the shoulder to the hand: she held the baby in her arms
More example sentences
  • It is also great for toning your upper body, arms and leg muscles.
  • It is a good idea to do some gentle jogging or brisk walking for ten minutes, followed by gentle stretches of the arms, legs and upper body.
  • The hands began to warm up and so did my legs but my arms and upper body were still very cold.
upper limb, forelimb, appendage
archaic member
1.1A flexible limb of an invertebrate animal, e.g. an octopus.
Example sentences
  • When hunting and grabbing dinner, the octopus uses all the flexibility the arm is capable of.
  • Here's a typical view of a tangle of octopus arms, all covered with circular suckers.
  • The food is transferred down the arms to the mouth by tube feet located on the pinnules and arms.
1.2A sleeve of a garment.
Example sentences
  • He was still wearing a surf suit that day, though one with short sleeves at the arms and legs coming to his knees.
  • The shirt has the same pattern as the short sleeve shirts except for an additional pattern over the biceps and the elbow on both arms.
  • Stylish, comfortable and built for adventure, this long sleeve shirt comes with exclusive logos on the chest and the arm!
1.3An ability to bowl, pitch, or throw a ball skilfully: he has a good arm
More example sentences
  • He has the arm to make any throw, but it's his solid base that scouts have praised.
  • Maybe he'll use his explosive arm to throw out a runner and save a victory, as he did the second week.
  • Favre is a passer whose brilliance is based on a huge arm and a nifty ability to avoid the rush.
1.4Used to refer to the holding of a person’s arm in support or companionship: as they walked he offered her his arm he arrived with a pretty girl on his arm
More example sentences
  • Back at the jetty I was offered an arm for support, but refused.
  • Ever the gentleman he offered her an arm for support and she accepted thankfully.
1.5Used to refer to something powerful or protective: they have extended the arm of friendship to developing countries
More example sentences
  • The little girl moved closer to her mother who instinctively put a protective arm around her, drawing her in closer.
  • Families dressed in black placed protective arms around one another as they waited for the first glimpse of their loved ones.
  • You want to put your protective arms around your child and make her whole again.
reach, power, force, authority, strength, might, potency
2A thing resembling an arm in form or function, in particular:
Example sentences
  • The completed machine could roam around and had a fully functional arm.
  • The bracket-like arms projected towards each other from opposite banks and served as spans of the bridge.
  • The shuttle does have an expensive robotic arm for working on its own exterior, but it has nowhere near the versatility of the ones most of us get for free.
2.1A side part of a chair or other seat on which a sitter can rest their arm: his right elbow was leaning on the arm of the chair
More example sentences
  • Cole immediately threw the stand with the chess set and grabbed hold of the arms of Sara's seat.
  • I served them their drinks and promptly seated myself on the arm of the chair Ayden sat in.
  • He was sitting in the chair, with a pillow wedged between his right side and the arm of the chair.
2.2A narrow strip of water or land projecting from a larger body: a lake which was really an arm of the sea
More example sentences
  • The breach consisted of a 300-foot-long bridge-covered opening in the causeway near Lakeside, which allowed the rapid flow of south-arm water into the north arm.
  • Prior to the breach, the elevation of the south arm was over 3.5 feet higher than the north arm.
  • Shuswap Lake is shaped like an H and is made up of four large arms: the Shuswap Lake Main Arm, Salmon Arm, Anstey Arm, and Seymour Arm.
inlet, creek, cove, fjord, bay, voe;
branch, strait(s), neck, narrows, sound, channel, passage, stretch of water, waterway
3A branch or division of a company or organization: the political arm of the separatist group
More example sentences
  • First, it is given direction by a political arm, or college, of Commissioners, but the college is unelected.
  • The RAC Foundation, the lobbying arm of the motoring organisation, is now calling for a rethink on speed cameras.
  • Less well-known is the work of The Big Issue Foundation, the charity arm of the organisation.
branch, section, department, division, subdivision, wing, sector, chapter, lodge, detachment, agency, office, bureau, offshoot, satellite, extension
3.1Each of the types of troops of which an army is composed, such as infantry or artillery.
[also understood as a figurative use of arm2]
Example sentences
  • The artillery arm has produced many great generals, most notably Napoleon.
  • Belief in the Army combined arms team is intuitive for all of us from the day that we enter the service.
  • Lee recognized the inherent weakness of this system and began to reorganize the artillery arm.
4 Mathematics Each of the lines enclosing an angle.
Example sentences
  • One of the arms of angle [alpha] and one of the arms of angle [beta] are extended by the same amount.
  • The test line could be rotated as much as 11° clockwise or counterclockwise with respect to the relevant arm of the inducing angle.
  • In the first of these evaluations of angle perception, subjects were asked to rotate a test line until it appeared collinear with the indicated arm of the inducing angle.


Old English arm, earm, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch arm and German Arm.


arm in arm

(Of two or more people) with arms linked: they walked arm in arm
More example sentences
  • Trace and I were linked arm in arm, waiting politely for some people to enter before we made our way out.
  • Eliza and Bernadette walked arm in arm into the two-story house they were residing in for the summer.
  • Seven decades on, they returned to the church to celebrate their platinum anniversary and once again walked down the aisle arm in arm.

as long as one's (or someone's) arm

informal Very long: I have a list of vices as long as your arm
More example sentences
  • The business employs some 20 full and part-time people and there's a waiting list as long as your arm of young girls wanting to don the mob-cap on Saturdays and in school holidays.
  • There were many times that the police were forced to drag us away from our protests, and I probably would have had a criminal record as long as your arm if the magistrate hadn't been Cecil's brother.
  • The man elected chairman that opening night was a retired Brigadier with a pedigree as long as your arm, and a penchant for shouting orders at subordinates.

at arm's length

1Away from the body, with one’s arm fully extended: I held the telephone at arm’s length
More example sentences
  • After weeks and weeks of blurred vision and of holding books and paper at arm's length, the whole world, near and far, leapt into sharp focus once more.
  • You're wondering if there will be enough room even to hold your book at arm's length above shoulder level and squint at the small type on the train.
  • I give him a cheque, at arm's length, but can't find my guarantee card.
2Avoiding intimacy or close contact: he has long fought to keep the government at arm’s length from big business
More example sentences
  • McNealy has long fought to keep the government at arm's length from big business and says that too much intrusion could be enough to take the fun out of being a CEO.
  • He deliberately kept his sister at arm's length; what few real close friends he had you could probably count on one hand.
  • She said that they still talked, but she kept him at arm's length; they were not as close.
avoid, keep away from, stay away from, steer clear of, circumvent, give a wide berth to

cost an arm and a leg

informal Be extremely expensive: the coat had cost him an arm and a leg
More example sentences
  • ‘It costs an arm and a leg to keep this church going,’ she said, while noting, ‘The elderly worshipers have been very true to their offerings.’
  • Try living on that in London, where a cup of coffee costs an arm and a leg.
  • But this is one of Sweden's more traditional national sports, born out of long and deeply chilly winter evenings in a country where alcohol costs an arm and a leg.

give one's right arm

informal Used to convey how much one would like to have or do something: I’d give my right arm to go with them
More example sentences
  • If you are music-crazy, you would gladly give your right arm to own one such system.
  • Other European economies, struggling to contain their deficits, would give their right arm for such a surplus.
  • Most actors would give their right arm to have one successful character and I've had four.

the long (or strong) arm of the law

The far-reaching power of the law: the long arm of the law caught up with him
More example sentences
  • And if there is evidence, which merits prosecution and arrests, I believe that the long arm of the law should catch whoever has perpetuated such crimes.
  • They will not generally be expected to act as the strong arm of the law but they can very usefully serve as its eyes and ears.
  • ‘Without massive logistics, they cannot possibly maintain their shadowy network of cells and they cannot run from one hideout to another in a bid to outrun the long arm of the law,’ he noted.

put the arm on

North American informal Attempt to force or coerce (someone) to do something: she started putting the arm on them for donations
More example sentences
  • To be dubbed a Ranger or a Patriot used to mean that one had gone as far as one could go in putting the arm on business colleagues for individual donations, which were then grouped into eye-popping wads.
  • When Sam arrives to put the arm on Norman, it can be said that neither actor inhabits his role.

under one's arm

Between one’s arm and one’s body: Meryl tucked the papers under her arm
More example sentences
  • You tuck the paper under your arm, and you're whistling when you walk through the front door.
  • A man clambers onto the streetcar after having bought the daily paper and tucking it under his arm.
  • He was carrying Jason and Jules' breakfast in a brown paper bag tucked under his arm.

with open arms

With great affection or enthusiasm: schools have welcomed such arrangements with open arms
More example sentences
  • Stars support exiting team members and welcome new members with open arms and enthusiasm.
  • No, I will continue on this path, and I will go where it takes me with open arms and an open mind.
  • With their friendly disposition and infectious enthusiasm, the lads are welcomed with open arms by locals of all ages.

within (or beyond) arm's reach

Near (or not near) enough to reach by extending one’s arm: he came closer, almost within arm’s reach the bookshelf is within arm’s reach of my computer
More example sentences
  • And for obvious reasons, the country is full of guns - everyone does a stint of compulsory military service, so pretty much everyone in their early 20s is within arm's reach of a firearm at all times.
  • I never saw Claude Nougaro without a book within arm's reach, or carried in the little suitcase he took on tour.
  • In a hospital setting, the most extreme situations may call for a ‘sitter’ who will remain within arm's reach of the patient for the duration of the watch.



noun (plural armfuls)
Example sentences
  • So with an armful of parcels we staggered back to the station, tired but contented that most of the Christmas shopping was taken care of.
  • Bonnie returned shortly with an armful of bandage rolls and some padding.
  • Carrying an unwieldy armful of packages, Beth Durand turns around at the sound of her name.


Example sentences
  • What is wrong introducing card games such as bridge or canastas into club cultures rather than addictive armless bandits?
  • The ‘get up and go test’ measures mobility and involves timed standing from an armless chair, walking fast for 10 yards, returning, and sitting down.
  • ‘Now, let me see,’ Jinn looked up at the directory boards and immediately one of the lead men rushed forward to set a pair of round armless glasses on Jinn's nose.


Example sentences
  • The winners of the 14-hour endurance race get around all of the Magic Kingdom's attractions in a single day and take home several armloads of valuable Disney merchandise.
  • I stood with arms raised while the gang members bolted around the room, scooping up armloads of jewelry and gold, before taking flight out the back door.
  • Several men started up the side of the cliff toward the top - carrying armloads of ropes cut from the rows of playground swings.

Definition of arm in:

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There are 2 main definitions of arm in English:

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Line breaks: arm
Pronunciation: /ɑːm


[with object]
1Supply or provide with weapons: the security forces are armed with automatic rifles
More example sentences
  • Derek, Richard and Wade didn't even have to have me tell them to start going to their rooms and begin arming themselves with body armour and other weapons.
  • Nor was it in dispute that he had armed himself with a CS gas canister before going out.
  • The complainant during the trial said that he had not armed himself with the knife and that the knife had been in the kitchen drawer.
1.1Supply or provide with equipment, tools, or other items in preparation or readiness for something: she armed them with brushes and mops
More example sentences
  • On a typical Holi day, preparations begin by arming oneself with shades of brightly colored powder and water guns.
  • He claimed that we'd all be a lot safer if researchers would keep details about vulnerabilities to themselves, and stop arming hackers with offensive tools.
  • If I really want some chips, I pick up a single-size serving, and I steer clear of the vending machine, arming myself by preparing fruits and vegetables as snacks.
2Activate the fuse of (a bomb, missile, or other explosive device) so that it is ready to explode: the bomb would be quite safe until it was armed
More example sentences
  • If these elements can convince the military to carry out a coup, they can surely convince them to arm the missiles.
  • He reached up and flicked a switch, arming his missiles.
  • The enrichment programme could be used to arm nuclear warheads.


Middle English: from Old French armer (verb), from Latin armare, from arma 'armour, arms'.

Definition of arm in:

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