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Beat around the bush

Posted by James Briggs on December 15, 2003

In Reply to: Kind find? err, typo, meant 'can find'. posted by Lewis on December 15, 2003

: : : In an earlier thread someone used this term. It's one I use myself a lot. I've done a search, and I kind find plenty of definitions, but no origins. Does anyone know where this comes from?

: I thik there are two possibilities - one literal, the other figurative. If one were hunting and wanted to flush a creature from cover - one could 'beat' around a literal bush, rather than go into it. More figuratively, it would mean not getting stuck in there - perhaps teasing a little?
: The expression implies unnecessarily indirect action, rather than a planned stage in something.

This saying is several hundred years old and comes from hunting. The beaters beat for the hunters, often around bushes; however they never catch the prey, it's always the hunters, who go directly to the quarry.