Origin behind saying ‘Beating around the bush’

Daybreak

(WYTV) – Let’s not beat around the bush, let’s get right to the nugget.

Or you may have heard it as “beat about the bush;” in other words, “stop wasting time; get to the point.”

It goes back to bird hunts. Some of the participants roused the birds by beating the bushes so others could catch the quarry in their nets.

So “beating about the bush” was the start of the main event, which was capturing birds. Eventually, you stopped beating around the bushes when the birds flew out.

Grouse hunting and other forms of hunt still use beaters today.

The phrase is old and first appears in the medieval poem around 1440:

“Butt as it hath be sayde full long agoo,
Some bete the bussh and some the byrdes take.”

In fact, “beat about the bush” must be one of the oldest non-biblical phrases in the English language.

“Beat around the bush” is the American version, “beat about the bush” is British, and our version became more popular around 1980.

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