IDIOMS: TO BEAT AROUND THE BUSH

Wild Red-legged Partridge in natural habitat of reeds and grasses on moorland in Yorkshire Dales, UK.; Shutterstock ID 1211608180; Purchase Order: -

In the age of supposed transparency, there has never been more ‘beating around the bush.’ The idiom refers to prevarication, lack of decision or delay.
Think of the UK Prime Minister’s response to the pandemic, for example. The origin of the idiom is in hunting. In mediaeval times, wild animals or birds were an important source of food, but very often hunted for sport by aristocratic men and women. People were employed to beat the area around bushes with sticks to frighten game into running or flying out. They avoided hitting the bushes directly because they might disturb something unpleasant: a bees’ nest, for example! The reason for ‘beating around the bush’ in the modern sense may be a troublesome issue that one is reluctant to deal with.
Then again, what else are Prime Ministers there for?

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