What does the phrase “to give a wide berth to” mean and How did it originate?

The word “berth” came into the language early in the seventeenth century from sources unknown.

It was a nautical term employed to mean roomway for a ship in which to operate.

The early phrase was “to give a good (or, a clear) berth to,” which meant, literally, to avoid, or to keep well away from, and we give it the same meaning today, though rarely with reference to a ship.

what does the phrase to give a wide berth to mean and how did it originate
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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.