beat around the bush

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Alternative forms[edit]


From the older form beat about the bush, replacing the preposition.



beat around the bush (third-person singular simple present beats around the bush, present participle beating around the bush, simple past and past participle beaten around the bush)

  1. (idiomatic) To treat a topic, but omit its main points, often intentionally.
  2. (idiomatic) To delay or avoid talking about something difficult or unpleasant.
    Synonyms: go around the houses, prevaricate, pussyfoot, ramble, tergiversate, waffle
    Antonyms: cut to the chase, get on with it, get to the point
    Just stop beating around the bush and tell me what the problem is!
    • 1870, Horatio Alger, Rufus and Rose[1]:
      "Look here," said Smith, menacingly, "if you think I cheated you, you might as well say so right out. I don't like beating around the bush."

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