Dead beat

Posted by James Briggs on April 02, 2008 at 10:26:

In Reply to: Dead beat posted by DF on April 02, 2008 at 09:09:

: What is the origin and meaning of the term or phrase 'dead beat'?

'Beat' is 'exhausted' in this context. 'Dead' is another example of the word used as an intensifier 'dead centre', 'dead certainty' 'dead on', 'dead ringer' etc, etc. It doesn't have an origin, but 'dead' in this sense is 100s of years old.