The idiom 'beat around the bush' means to spend a long time getting to your main point or to avoid directly talking about something, especially if the subject is awkward or unpleasant. We explain how to use it with some easy examples to help you learn this idiom so you can use it in spoken and Business English.
This idiom, and its variant 'beat about the bush,' means to spend a long time getting to your main point or to avoid directly talking about something, especially if the subject is awkward or unpleasant. It is usually used in a negative sense, either to express frustration at somebody, or, in the case of 'I won't/don't want to beat around the bush,' to preface the delivery of bad news. One of its antonyms is 'cut to the chase.' You may see the two appear together quite often in text or speech in a form similar to 'stop beating around the bush and just cut to the chase!' As the video shows, it is commonly used in both a social and professional context. Phrases with a similar meaning include 'go around the houses,' 'waffle on,' and 'pussyfoot around.'