beat at

beat at

To attempt to strike a person or thing. I beat at that bug with a broom, but I was too scared to get close enough to actually hit it.
See also: beat
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

beat at something

to strike out at something. He beat at his attacker to no avail. Lily beat at the snake, but didn't harm it.
See also: beat
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
I Turner beat M McGonigle 2 and 1; J Egen beat C Elvin 6 and 5; D Arkle beat D Turnbull 2 up; M Arkle beat AT Potts 5 and 4; J Henderson beat G Campbell 7 and 5; R Birkett lost to G Crombie 2 and 1.
G Ridley beat J Egen 1 up; J Eggleston beat D Arkle 4 and 3; A Tate lost to M Arkle 4 and 2; J Storey beat AT Oliver 4 and 2; L Foggon beat M Clements 4 and 3; D Scott beat D Hulme 3 and 2.