beat the air

beat the air

Also, beat the wind. Continue to make futile attempts, fight to no purpose. For example, The candidates for office were so much alike that we thought our vote amounted to beating the air . These phrases call up a vivid image of someone flailing away at nothing. [Late 1300s]
See also: air, beat
References in classic literature ?
And there were large calm lakes there too, in which white swans were swimming, and beat the air with their wings.
As carrier- pigeons, on being first let loose in a strange place, beat the air at random for a short time before darting off towards the spot for which they are designed, so did the Marchioness flutter round and round until she believed herself in safety, and then bear swiftly down upon the port for which she was bound.
In the streets of London where beauty goes unregarded, eccentricity must pay the penalty, and it is better not to be very tall, to wear a long blue cloak, or to beat the air with your left hand.
Put Napoleon in an island prison, let his faculties find no men to act on, no Alps to climb, no stake to play for, and he would beat the air, and appear stupid.
Their wings were a muted staccato as they beat the air, and a keen shearing whisper when they turned.
Gently fold in the cooled butter and then the flour and salt, going as smoothly and quickly as possible, so as not to beat the air from the sponge.
But I wouldn't have changed it for the world, because nothing could beat the air of anticipation, the sight of the players sidestepping onto the field in their crisp ironed white shorts.
In Group B, Adam and the Higher Education teams shared the points after their goalless draw, while Ammroc beat the Air Forces 2-1.
Another problem with wind energy is drag, the resistance felt by the turbine blades as they beat the air.
It lets out a long 'kraaaaaak' as its enormous wings beat the air and soon it's out of sight.
DJ Chris Moyles, above, was due to beat the air chaos and return to the airwaves today by hosting his show from New York.
80 Million" (2009, 3'41"), a performance video spoof by Eslam Zeen El Abedeen and Mohamed Zayan, finds the two artists facing one another, each with a foot raised to rest on the seat of a straight-backed chair, while their hands furiously beat the air in time to the durbakeh-riq duet ringing out in the soundtrack.
As they flew over the causeway road, they honked and beat the air frantically as they struggled to gain altitude.