beat (about/around) the bush

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beat (about/around) the bush

To speak vaguely or euphemistically so as to avoid talking directly about an unpleasant or sensitive topic. Don't beat around the bush—just tell me the truth. Why are you beating around the bush? Are you leaving our company?
See also: beat, bush

beat around the bush

 and beat about the bush
Fig. to avoid answering a question; to stall; to waste time. Stop beating around the bush and answer my question. Let's stop beating about the bush and discuss this matter.
See also: around, beat, bush

beat around the bush

Also, beat about the bush. Approach indirectly, in a roundabout way, or too cautiously. For example, Stop beating around the bush-get to the point. This term, first recorded in 1572, originally may have alluded to beating the bushes for game.
See also: around, beat, bush

beat about the bush

discuss a matter without coming to the point; be ineffectual and waste time.
This phrase is a metaphor which originated in the shooting or netting of birds; compare with beat the bushes below.
1992 Barry Unsworth Sacred Hunger I don't want to beat about the bush. Mr Adams is threatening to leave us.
See also: beat, bush

ˌbeat about the ˈbush

(British English) (American English ˌbeat around the ˈbush) take too long before saying what you want to say; avoid saying something directly: Don’t beat about the bush. Tell me exactly what you think is wrong with my work. OPPOSITE: call a spade a spade
See also: beat, bush

beat around the bush

To speak evasively or misleadingly, or to stall or waste time. To flush pheasants and other birds so they could be shot, British gamekeepers hired beaters who would swing sticks at likely places where the birds might be lurking. Not to go directly to such foliage but to work around it instead gave the impression of wasting time or not trying very hard to raise the birds; hence, beating around the bush.
See also: around, beat, bush