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Beat around the bush

27/3/19 Beat around the bush

To beat around the bush is an idiom that means to delay the completion of an activity or stall while coming to the crux of an argument or discussion. The verb may be conjugated through all its forms. Outside the United States the phrase is sometimes said as beat about the bush. This is falling out of favor as beat around the bush is becoming the global standard, at least in written communication.
The origin of the phrase is quite literal. While hunting, one person would go beat the bush to scare the birds into the air so that someone else could shoot them.
The phrase is very old, from at least the 1400s in the form of beat the bushes. The progression of the phrase is quite logical. Beating around a bush is not as effective as beating the bush. This exact wording is noted in the late 1500s.

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