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steer clear of

Meaning: If you steer clear of something, you don't go near it because it could harm you or cause you a problem.

For example:

  • My doctor said I should steer clear of spicy foods until I feel better.

  • I'd steer clear of that guy if I were you. He's a bit crazy and he's always looking for a fight with someone.

Origin: Metaphorical, and probably related to the steering of ships. The instruction "steer clear of that ship" meant to steer one ship away from another ship in order to avoid getting too close.

Quick Quiz:

Tell your kids to steer clear of that dog. I was told that
  1. it bites people
  2. it wags its tail
  3. it loves children

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