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Beat around the bush

"to beat around the bush" / "Don't beat around the bush."

Meaning: to avoid talking about what is important; to speak or answer vaguely or indirectly

Similar Expressions
  • He is beating around the bush.
  • He is avoiding the issue.
When do we use it?

We use this expression to describe a situation when a person is trying to avoid talking about something on purpose. We usually use this when we ask a person a direct question, but they do not give us a direct answer. Politicians do this a lot.

A) Do you think humans have caused global warming?
B) I think that the weather is very important to us and it is something that we should pay attention to closely. It is...
A) Don't beat around the bush. Do you think humans have caused global warming?

How do we use it?

We often use this expression in command form. We do this when we want another person to answer honestly and directly.
  • Don't beat around the bush. Please answer my question.
  • Don't beat around the bush. Tell me what you really think.
  • Stop beating around the bush. Tell me what happened.
We can also use this expression in questions and sentences. It is often used in the present continuous tense when talking about a current situation.

A) Why is he beating around the bush?
B) I think he doesn't want to tell the truth.

A) He is beating around the bush. He won't answer any question directly.
B) He is a politician. What do you expect?

A) Why are you beating around the bush? Tell me the truth.
B) I'm not beating around the bush. Just listen to my story and be patient.

Adding expressions and idioms to your vocabulary will help you become a better English speaker. You do not need to learn a million expressions or idioms at one time! If you study new English expressions and idioms steadily and consistently, then your vocabulary will get better and better. Use these free English lessons to expand your vocabulary and learn useful English idioms, slang, and expressions.

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