Normally when an idiom is in use from the s forward, the Google Books database will include a smattering of instances from the s and many more from the early s. Bellamy So far from blaming you, Charles, that, if my endeavours can be serviceable, I will beat the bushes with you. Is it not worse than a mockery? Anne Baker, Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases offers this interesting local sense of the phrase: Though it is to me, personally, a matter of perfect indifference, an error of opinion prevails that I wish to correct:
As far as the relative global popularity of the two versions of the phrase goes, the US version is becoming the standard. What does it amount to? See her first, and then blame me if you can. In this sense, beating around the bush was just a lead up to the true goal of the hunt, and not the exciting part. Instances of 'beating the bushes' in the wild Given the early instances of "beating the bushes" and "beating around the bushes" cited by the dictionaries discussed above, one of the most surprising things about a Google Books search for the phrases is how late the earliest matches for each phrase are. The girl [little Nell] has strong affections, and, brought up as she has been, may at her age be easily influenced and persuaded. Anne Baker, Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases offers this interesting local sense of the phrase: It is noted out of CICERO by Macchiavel, That the People, tho they are not so prone to find out Truth of themselves, as to follow Custom, or run into Error ; yet if they be shewn Truth, they not only acknowledge and imbrace it very suddenly, but are the most constant and faithful Guardians and Conservators of it. If I take her in hand, I will be bound, by a very little coaxing and threatening, to bend her to my will. The Rambler and Smollett examples above are interesting because they explicitly refer to "beating the bushes" as being a task performed not by paid human workers but by trained greyhounds and spaniels. Is it not worse than a mockery? But if in your walks you meet a finer woman than ordinary, let her not escape till I have seen her. There was no beating around the bush. In this example, two co-workers use the expression in a conversation about who was fired. Western began now to inquire into the original rise of this quarrel [which occurred on the edge of a "thicket"]. Origin of Beating Around the Bush In the past, hunters who wanted to catch birds would literally beat around a bush in order to scare the birds out from the dense leaves. This term, first recorded in , originally may have alluded to beating the bushes for game. But here, a search for "beat the bushes" turns up only a handful unique and confirmable matches before He bet about the bush, whyles other caught the birds. Please stop beating around the bush and just tell me what you are talking about. Tell me who it is. So we have an odd situation where the same practical hunting activity has been adopted idiomatically to mean "to take extensive direct action in pursuit of something" and "to take indirect measures to suggest or imply something. Beating Around the Bush Meaning Definition: But the next four are from , , , and , and do not use the phrase metaphorically. The first of these is from Gervase Markham, Hunger's Prevention , cited in the introduction to an edition of The Tempest, apropos of a description of bat fowling hunting for roosting birds at night: Origin The figurative meaning of the odd phrase 'beat around the bush' or, as it is usually expressed in the UK, 'beat about the bush', evolved from the earlier literal meaning.
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What Is The Meaning Of Beat Around The Bush?
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