beat a dead horse

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beat a dead horse (third-person singular simple present beats a dead horse, present participle beating a dead horse, simple past beat a dead horse, past participle beaten a dead horse or (colloquial) beat a dead horse)

  1. (idiomatic) To persist or continue far beyond any purpose, interest or reason.
    After having shown us three hours of instructional and safety videos, the inspector was simply beating a dead horse by telling us to buckle up as we got into the van.
    • 1992, William A. Katz, Reference Services and Reference Processes, McGraw-Hill, →ISBN, page 220:
      The library director believes the argument about “professionalism” is adead horse we should stop beating.”
    • 1999, Fredrick Carl Redlich, Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet, Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page xii:
      A friend, the political scientist Irving Bernstein, told me that political scientists and historians are inclined to regard the question of objectivity as a dead horse that one should stop beating, and maintained that it is not the scholar but the lay person who has problems with objectivity.
    • 2016, Anthony Livingston Hall, The iPINIONS Journal: Commentaries on the Global Events of 2015, volume XI, iUniverse, →ISBN:
      I won’t stop beating this dead horse until (male) TV executives stop this sexist practice.


See also[edit]