The phrase "run a mile" means:

To try to avoid a situation or a person because you are embarrassed or frightened.

Based on this definition, I wonder if you could let me know whether the following sentence sounds natural and the usage of this verb is correct:

He's completely against marriage. He runs a mile "from" girls when it comes to marriage.

I have visited many web pages which had lots of examples including the phrase, but never found a preposition "from" in even one sentences to be used along with this phrase. It was why I made up a sentence and brought it up in the forum.

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    – ColleenV
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


I was surprised to see comments from native speakers unfamiliar with the expression (very well-known to me). But apparently this is primarily a British English colloquial usage...

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From Cambridge Dictionary...

run a mile (UK informal)
to be extremely unwilling to be involved:
He'd run a mile if I asked him to marry me.

As it happens, the above example doesn't include a from clause, but there's no reason why it couldn't. The speaker there might just as well have said...

He'd run a mile from any girl who asked him to marry her.

We also say we'll give a wide berth to [something we really want to avoid], which often amounts to the same thing (essentially, avoiding something either by running far away from it, or by making sure you don't go anywhere near it in the first place).

  • 1
    I think "He'd run away from any girl..." or "He'd flee from any girl..." could also work. "run away" and "flee" can be used figuratively to mean "avoid".
    – Mixolydian
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 15:48
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    @Mixolydian: In most such contexts, flee would be a hopelessly outdated / fancy / poetic term to use today. Commented May 24, 2019 at 15:50
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    @A-friend: I was too polite to explicitly mention it in my actual answer, but the intended meaning would always be so contextually obvious I'd expect any native speaker to understand and accept it without thinking it was somehow "unusual" or "opaque", even on first encounter. You don't need to include a mile, which is just an obviously-available "intensifier" here anyway, so He'd run [away] from any girl who asked him to marry her would get the point across just as well. Commented May 24, 2019 at 15:56
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    I, too, was unfamiliar with run a mile — 1.62 km isn't exactly far, after all — and the phrase would be more comprehensible just to say run [away] from, or perhaps make a run from to emphasize urgency. I agree flee alone is mostly literary, but he might flee the scene, short for flee the scene of the crime, for beating a hasty exit, or keep his distance from such girls if expressing strategic caution.
    – choster
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 16:01
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    Alternatively, we Americans might just be too fat these days to comprehend running a mile from anything.
    – choster
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 16:02

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