- a person who deliberately avoids paying debts.
- a loafer; sponger.
- being a parent who neglects parental responsibilities, especially one who does not pay child support: deadbeat dads.
- Horology. noting any of various escapements acting without recoil of the locking parts from the shock of contact.
- Electricity. (of the indicator of an electric meter and the like) coming to a stop with little or no oscillation.
Origin of deadbeat
Examples from the Web for deadbeat
The claims have led one tabloid to brand Jenner a “deadbeat daughter.”Are You Legally Responsible for Your Elderly Parents?
April 26, 2014
Anyway the phrase "deadbeat nation" is going to have a lot more resonance coming out of Obama's mouth than in Rubio's letter.
It caught a lot of people's ears just now when Obama said, "We are not a deadbeat nation."
When marriages fail, the deadbeat dad is the norm in American society, not the exception.Summer of the Single Mom
September 1, 2010
In a bizarre twist, the U.S Government has apparently adopted a tactic normally reserved for deadbeat dads on Superbowl Sunday.The Polanski Endgame
Mark Geragos, Pat Harris
September 29, 2009
I knew you looked a deadbeat, but Id no idea I was quite so bad, he said.The Protector
The bartender, accepting the situation as generally inclusive, put his hands up along with his deadbeat patrons.Trail's End</p>
George W. Ogden
The sparrow was deadbeat, and was travelling slowly to the north and west on a zigzag course, about two hundred feet high.H.M.S. ----
- informal a lazy or socially undesirable person
- mainly US
- a person who makes a habit of avoiding or evading his or her responsibilities or debts
- (as modifier)a deadbeat dad
- a high grade escapement used in pendulum clocks
- (modifier) (of a clock escapement) having a beat without any recoil
- (modifier) physics
- (of a system) returning to an equilibrium position with little or no oscillation
- (of an instrument or indicator) indicating a true reading without oscillation
Word Origin and History for deadbeat
"worthless sponging idler," 1863, American English slang, perhaps originally Civil War slang, from dead (adj.) + beat. Earlier used colloquially as an adjectival expression to mean "completely beaten" (1821), and perhaps the base notion is of "worn out, good for nothing." It is noted in a British source from 1861 as a term for "a pensioner."
In England "dead beat" means worn out, used up. ... But here, "dead beat" is used, as a substantive, to mean a scoundrel, a shiftless, swindling vagabond. We hear it said that such a man is a beat or a dead beat. The phrase thus used is not even good slang. It is neither humorous nor descriptive. There is not in it even a perversion of the sense of the words of which it is composed. Its origin is quite beyond conjecture. ["Americanisms," in "The Galaxy," January 1878]
It also was used of a kind of regulating mechanism in pendulum clocks.