Beat around the bush



a low plant with many branches that arise from or near the ground.
a small cluster of shrubs appearing as a single plant.
something resembling or suggesting this, as a thick, shaggy head of hair.
Also called bush lot. Canadian. a small, wooded lot, especially a farm lot with trees left standing to provide firewood, fence posts, etc.
the tail of a fox; brush.
Geography. a stretch of uncultivated land covered with mixed plant growth, bushy vegetation, trees, etc.
a large uncleared area thickly covered with mixed plant growth, trees, etc., as a jungle.
a large, sparsely populated area most of which is uncleared, as areas of Australia and Alaska.
a tree branch hung as a sign before a tavern or vintner’s shop.
any tavern sign.
Slang: Vulgar. pubic hair.
Archaic. a wineshop.
to be or become bushy; branch or spread as or like a bush.
to cover, protect, support, or mark with a bush or bushes.
bush-league.
beat around / about the bush, to avoid coming to the point; delay in approaching a subject directly:
Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.
beat the bushes, to scout or search for persons or things far and wide:
beating the bushes for engineers.
go bush, Australian.

to flee or escape into the bush.
Slang. to become wild.

noun
a dense woody plant, smaller than a tree, with many branches arising from the lower part of the stem; shrub
a dense cluster of such shrubs; thicket
something resembling a bush, esp in density: a bush of hair

the bush, an uncultivated or sparsely settled area, esp in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada: usually covered with trees or shrubs, varying from open shrubby country to dense rainforest
(as modifier): bush flies

(Canadian) an area of land on a farm on which timber is grown and cut Also called bush lot, woodlot
a forested area; woodland
(informal) the bush, the countryside, as opposed to the city: out in the bush
a fox’s tail; brush
(obsolete)

a bunch of ivy hung as a vintner’s sign in front of a tavern
any tavern sign

beat about the bush, to avoid the point at issue; prevaricate
adjective
(Austral & NZ, informal) rough-and-ready
(W African, informal) ignorant or stupid, esp as considered typical of unwesternized rustic life
(US & Canadian, informal) unprofessional, unpolished, or second-rate
(informal, Austral & NZ) go bush

to abandon city amenities and live rough
to run wild

verb
(intransitive) to grow thick and bushy
(transitive) to cover, decorate, support, etc, with bushes
(transitive) (Austral) bush it, to camp out in the bush
noun
Also called (esp US and Canadian) bushing. a thin metal sleeve or tubular lining serving as a bearing or guide
verb
to fit a bush to (a casing, bearing, etc)
noun
George. born 1924, US Republican politician; vice president of the US (1981–89): 41st president of the US (1989–93)
his son, George W(alker). born 1946, US Republican politician; 43rd president of the US (2001–09)
n.

“many-stemmed woody plant,” Old English bysc, from West Germanic *busk “bush, thicket” (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German busc, Dutch bosch, bos, German Busch). Influenced by or combined with cognate words from Scandinavian (cf. Old Norse buskr, Danish busk, but this might be from West Germanic) and Old French (busche “firewood,” apparently of Frankish origin), and also perhaps Anglo-Latin bosca “firewood,” from Medieval Latin busca (whence Italian bosco, Spanish bosque, French bois), which apparently also was borrowed from West Germanic; cf. Boise.

In British American colonies, applied from 1650s to the uncleared districts, hence “country,” as opposed to town (1780); probably originally from Dutch bosch in the same sense, because it seems to appear first in English in former Dutch colonies. Meaning “pubic hair” (especially of a woman) is from 1745. To beat the bushes (mid-15c.) is a way to rouse birds so that they fly into the net which others are holding, which originally was the same thing as beating around the bush (see beat (v.)).

To avoid getting to the point of an issue: “Your worries have nothing to do with the new proposal. Stop beating around the bush, and cast your vote!”

verb phrase

To avoid speaking directly and precisely; evade; tergiversate (mid-1500s+)

adjective

Rural; provincial; bush league •The sense has gradually developed from ”the wilderness” to ”the country as distinct from the city”; coincidentally it has taken on the same value judgment: The city is superior, the country is inferior: a bush town (1650s+)
Mediocre; second-rate; amateur: seemed pretty bush for pros (1650s+)

modifier

: Bush shot. You could see the pubic hair, but not the sex parts

noun

A beard; whiskers (1640s+)
The pubic hair, esp of a female; beaver (1745+)

verb

To fatigue; exhaust; sap; poop: The climb bushed him/ Our dialogues always bush me (1870+)

Related Terms

beat around the bush, beat the bushes

noun phrase

The back country; the BOONIES: When I was working 12-hour tricks as a newspaper cub in the bushes (1670+)

in which Jehovah appeared to Moses in the wilderness (Ex. 3:2; Acts 7:30). It is difficult to say what particular kind of plant or bush is here meant. Probably it was the mimosa or acacia. The words “in the bush” in Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37, mean “in the passage or paragraph on the bush;” i.e., in Ex. 3.

Also, beat about the bush. Approach indirectly, in a roundabout way, or too cautiously. For example, Stop beating around the bush—get to the point. This term, first recorded in 1572, originally may have alluded to beating the bushes for game.
see:

beat around the bush
beat the bushes for
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

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