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Don't beat about the bush

Posted by Oxhead on October 12, 2000

In Reply to: Don't beat about the bush posted by Daniel Dainty on October 12, 2000

: I am 9 years old and have been given some homework to find what the meaning of Don't beat about the bush means I also need to know its origin as well Thank you for your help

: Daniel D.

To "beat around the bush" is to skirt the main subject. For instance, if you want to tell your dad that you broke the garage window with a baseball, but you start off by telling him that your homer won the ball game, you are beating around the bush. You're avoiding the main point, which is that the window is broken.

It sounds like you need a definitive answer to your question and the best I can do is to offer my surmise. It sounds like this phrase has a hunting origin. In the Middle Ages nobles would employ serfs as "beaters" to flush game out of wooded areas, copses, or "the bush." I suppose if someone only beat around the bush and didn't head in to the woods to scare the beast out, he could be accused of stalling.