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.

  • 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". Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 16:03

5 Answers 5


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

  • Well this is with reference to the Bible and Pontius Pilate. What if you are not Christian. Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 9:40
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    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
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 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
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 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. Commented Aug 17, 2012 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.



I disavow your dastardly deeds.

I decry your conduct.

I abjure your abject actions.


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.


I'm not sure you can really separate the dissociative connotation from the expression. To free oneself from something implies bondage. I guess you could be free from you, so the moment you dissociate from yourself you'll simultaneously be unable to draw meaning from the concept of dissociation due to "your" newfound state of annihilation.

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