beat (one's) head against a/the wall

(redirected from beating his head against the wall)

beat (one's) head against a/the wall

To attempt continuously and fruitlessly to accomplish some task or achieve some goal that is or seems ultimately hopeless. Some people are never going to agree with you on this, so it's no use beating your head against a wall trying to convince everyone. I feel like I've been beating my head against the wall trying to understand this math equation.
See also: beat, head, wall

beat one's head against the wall

 and bang one's head against a brick wall
Fig. to waste one's time trying hard to accomplish something that is completely hopeless. You're wasting your time trying to figure this puzzle out. You're just beating your head against the wall. You're banging your head against a brick wall trying to get that dog to behave properly.
See also: beat, head, wall

beat one's head against the wall

Also, bang or run one's head against or into a brick wall . Waste one's time in a hopeless enterprise, as in I have tried many times to convince him to stop smoking, but I'm beating my head against a brick wall . The metaphoric phrase alludes to a physical expression of frustration. [Late 1500s] Also see beat the air.
See also: beat, head, wall
References in classic literature ?
He thought: "The woman's a monster, but everybody will think me a fool"; and standing still in the midst of severe walnut-wood furniture, he felt such a tempest of anguish within him that he seemed to see himself rolling on the carpet, beating his head against the wall. He was disgusted with himself, with the loathsome rush of emotion breaking through all the reserves that guarded his manhood.
Prison officials hastily devised a cover story, claiming that the inmate died as a result of beating his head against the wall. But the events leading up to prisoner's death had been recorded on videotape.
Hardesty "hates cops," Terry said, and jail staff members had to use physical force against him on five documented occasions, once to keep him from beating his head against the wall. Hardesty never filed a complaint, but a jail employee did - months after the alleged incident took place.
Another prisoner was witnessed beating his head against the wall of his cell until he had put one of his eyes out.