I was reading Eurotrash by Irvine Welsh. Richard in the novel says "You know what I mean. You keep your arms covered up." and I don't know what it means.

  • It means hidden by clothes. – Kaique May 16 '19 at 14:14
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    This is not a standard figurative expression, but there's a lot of missing context here. Perhaps there is reason why wearing long sleeves has particular meaning in this particular situation. For example, Irvine Welsh frequently writes fiction with characters who are drug users, and some drug users might wear long sleeves to hide the bruises caused by injecting drugs. But it's impossible to tell whether that is the meaning in this particular case without more context. – Canadian Yankee May 16 '19 at 15:46
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    I think Canadian Yankee is on to something. I'd like to add tattoos to the list of things to consider. – Justin Stafford May 16 '19 at 16:12
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    Not a standard expression? I would say it is completely standard. Think sunburn or religion or track marks: Do you keep your arms covered up to [avoid sunburn]? [for religious reasons?] [hide track marks?] – Lambie May 16 '19 at 18:38
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    Please add more context. This is a descriptive phrase that is referring to something that is not being openly stated. – Valkor May 16 '19 at 19:10

It means what it says. I haven't read the book, but I suspect that the implication is "so that people won't see the syringe marks".

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