beat around the bush
From the older form beat about the bush, replacing the preposition.
Audio (General Australian) (file)
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)
- (idiomatic) To treat a topic, but omit its main points, often intentionally.
- (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:
- "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."
to treat a topic but omit its main points
to delay or avoid talking about something difficult or unpleasant
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.