Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can anybody provide an alternative expression to the phrase 'free from' meaning to disassociate oneself from something or someone bad?

For example, a company manager commits fraud and the deputy manager addresses him saying: 'I'm free from you and your criminal ways!' Meaning that he disassociates himself from the manager and the actions of the manager due to his disgust at the manager's crime.

share|improve this question
1  
But in your example it's quite possible the deputy manager is not "free", assuming the thing he wants to be rid of is guilt/suspicion. He can make the declarative statement that he disassociates himself from the boss's criminality, but others must recognise that disassociation before he can be free. Strictly speaking, the deputy can only repudiate his boss's actions, and hope that others (including the legal system!) accept this and absolve him of any "guilt by association". –  FumbleFingers Feb 13 '12 at 16:03

4 Answers 4

Phrase "wash [my] hands of..." is commonly used to indicate no connection with something, and so is "have nothing to do with...". Examples of using these phrases to disassociate oneself include

• I wash my hands of you and your criminal ways! ‒ jw
• I'll have nothing to do with you and your criminal ways! ‒ jw
• A bloody deed, and desperately despatched! How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands of this most grievous guilty murder done! ‒ in Richard III

share|improve this answer
    
Well this is with reference to the Bible and Pontius Pilate. What if you are not Christian. –  speedyGonzales Feb 13 '12 at 9:40
4  
You don't need to be Christian to use phrases of Biblical origin. Indeed, you'd deny yourself an awful lot of English idioms if you forbade yourself from using phrases coined in the King James Bible. –  slim Feb 13 '12 at 11:58
    
+1 for uncovering the origin of the OP's quote, which may have been bowdlerized for the reasons @speedyGonzales has mentioned. And to speedy, I say, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." –  rajah9 Aug 17 '12 at 15:20
    
@rajah9, Thank you for the +1, but I must say I didn't uncover an origin for OP's quote. I'll edit my quote block to indicate more clearly that the attribution for the third item is for the third item only. –  jwpat7 Aug 17 '12 at 15:43

The verb distance can be used in this sense. To use it in your example it would have to be something like ‘I'm distancing myself from you and your criminal ways.’ That’s rather an unlikely thing for anyone to say, but you get the idea.

share|improve this answer

I divorce myself from your criminal ways.

Suggests a complete separation. The third verb definition given in the link is:

(transitive) To separate something that was connected.
The radical group voted to divorce itself from the main faction and start an independent movement.

share|improve this answer

Perhaps

I disavow your dastardly deeds.

I decry your conduct.

I abjure your abject actions.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.