beat around/about the bush, to

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beat about the bush

To speak vaguely or euphemistically so as to avoid talking directly about an unpleasant or sensitive topic. Primarily heard in UK. Don't beat about the bush—just tell me the truth. Would you pleast stop beating about the bush? Are you leaving the company or not?
See also: beat, bush

beat around the bush

To speak vaguely or euphemistically so as to avoid talking directly about an unpleasant or sensitive topic. Primarily heard in US. Don't beat around the bush—just tell me the truth. Would you pleast stop beating around the bush? Are you leaving the company or not?
See also: around, beat, bush
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

beat around/about the bush, to

Indirection in word or deed; to shilly-shally, to approach something in a roundabout way. This expression for overcautiousness dates from the early sixteenth century, when Robert Whytynton (Vulgaria, 1520) warned, “a longe betynge aboute the busshe and losse of time.” Some authorities think it came from beating the bushes for game, and indeed there are numerous sayings concerning the delays caused by too much beating and not enough bird-catching, dating back even further. (See also beat the bushes for.) Although the days of beaters seem remote, the phrase survives as a common cliché.
See also: around, beat, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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