beat around the bush


Alternative formsEdit


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.
    Just stop beating around the bush and tell me what the problem is!
    Synonyms: go around the houses, prevaricate, pussyfoot, ramble, tergiversate, waffle
    Antonyms: cut to the chase, get on with it, get to the point
    • 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."

Coordinate termsEdit


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