beat the air


Also, beat the wind. Continue to make futile attempts, fight to no purpose. For example, The candidates for office were so much alike that we thought our vote amounted to beating the air. These phrases call up a vivid image of someone flailing away at nothing. [Late 1300s]

QUIZZES

BEAT THE DOLDRUMS WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

We know you’ll tackle this quiz totis viribus! See how many words from the week of Oct 12–18, 2020 you get right!
Question 1 of 7
What does “Indigenous” mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.