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beat around the bush | beat about the bush

Meaning: If you beat around the bush, or beat about the bush, you don't say something directly, usually because you don't want to upset the person you're talking to.

For example:

  • I had trouble telling Pedro he'd lost his job. I started beating around the bush and talking about one door closing and another door opening.

  • Stop beating about the bush. Just tell me what's happened!

Quick Quiz:

It's hard not to beat around the bush when you have to
  1. put out a bushfire
  2. give someone some good news
  3. tell someone some bad news

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