Idiom | Beat Around the Bush

Idiom | Beat Around the Bush

Idiom | Beat Around the Bush

To ‘beat around the bush’ means that the person is not being direct, avoiding the main topic. The idiom dates back hundreds of years ago. In those times, hunters used men to beat bushes with sticks to chase any game hiding in them.

This background helps show what beating a bush actually means, but we need to take one more step to understand the meaning of this idiom clearly. Think about the bush like it’s the main topic. To beat around the bush is to avoid that topic.

イディオム‘Beat around the bush’は、要点にふれず遠まわしな言い方をすることをさします。昔茂みを叩きながら隠れている動物をおびき寄せ獲物を捕らえていました。the bush(茂み)=メイントピックと考えるとイメージがしやすいかもしれません。

Beat Around the Bush Usage 使い方

Beat Around the Bush - English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi
Brown Bear Cub (

Frequently the verb ‘be’ or ‘do’ is used with idiom, however there are many other variations.

Check out the examples below. ⬇️

This idiom can be used in casual or formal situations.  




Examples 例文

Beat Around the Bush - English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington
Woman Hiding Behind a Bush (

Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.


If you want something, just ask me. There is no need to beat around the bush.


I don’t want to beat around the bush with you; can I borrow a few thousand dollars to buy a car?


Are you beating around the bush?


My brother has been hanging around me all day. I know he wants a favor, but he’s beating around the bush.


Did he beat around the bush or tell you directly?


Common Misuse よくある間違った使い方

Beat Around the Bush - English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington
Joshua Tree National Park, Sunset (G. McGregor/

It’s important to note that this idiom is used to talk about verbal communication, or lack of, and generally not used it to talk about physical activates.

Here is an example of how NOT to use it:

❌When it comes to doing exercise and losing weight, I’m beating around the bush.


【誤】When it comes to doing exercise and losing weight, I’m beating around the bush.


Use mnemonic! ニーモニックテクニック

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi - Idioms Beat Around the Bush
A Young Girl Hiding Behind a Bush (

This idiom is a little more challenging to think up a story. I like to imagine someone I want to talk to is hiding in a bush and I’m trying to get them out. Instead of hitting the bush directly, I hit around it trying to scare them out.

Of course, we always encourage you to create your own mnemonic device. It’s much more effect if you do that.

Check out our post on mnemonics basics to learn more.






Keep Studying

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi
English Stripped Bare Culture Page (G. McGregor/

Don’t stop learning now. Check out one of our other lessons in the follow categories and keep studying.


English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi
Ready Steady Travel Homepage (G. McGregor/

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