beat around/about the bush, to avoid coming to the point; delay in approaching a subject directly: Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.
    beat the bushes, to scout or search for persons or things far and wide: beating the bushes for engineers.
    go bush, Australian.
    1. to flee or escape into the bush.
    2. become wild.

Origin of bush

before 1000; Middle English busshe, Old English busc (in place-names); cognate with Dutch bos wood, German Busch, Old Norse buskr bush
Related formsbush·less, adjectivebush·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for beat the bushes

forage, search

British Dictionary definitions for beat the bushes



George . born 1924, US Republican politician; vice president of the US (1981–89): 41st president of the US (1989–93)
his son, George W (alker). born 1946, US Republican politician; 43rd president of the US (2001–09)




a dense woody plant, smaller than a tree, with many branches arising from the lower part of the stem; shrub
a dense cluster of such shrubs; thicket
something resembling a bush, esp in densitya bush of hair
  1. the bushan uncultivated or sparsely settled area, esp in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada: usually covered with trees or shrubs, varying from open shrubby country to dense rainforest
  2. (as modifier)bush flies
Canadian an area of land on a farm on which timber is grown and cutAlso called: bush lot, woodlot
a forested area; woodland
the bush informal the countryside, as opposed to the cityout in the bush
a fox's tail; brush
  1. a bunch of ivy hung as a vintner's sign in front of a tavern
  2. any tavern sign
beat about the bush to avoid the point at issue; prevaricate


Australian and NZ informal rough-and-ready
Western African informal ignorant or stupid, esp as considered typical of unwesternized rustic life
US and Canadian informal unprofessional, unpolished, or second-rate
go bush informal, Australian and NZ
  1. to abandon city amenities and live rough
  2. to run wild


(intr) to grow thick and bushy
(tr) to cover, decorate, support, etc, with bushes
bush it (tr) Australian to camp out in the bush

Word Origin for bush

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse buski, Old High German busc, Middle Dutch bosch; related to Old French bosc wood, Italian bosco




Also called (esp US and Canadian): bushing a thin metal sleeve or tubular lining serving as a bearing or guide


to fit a bush to (a casing, bearing, etc)

Word Origin for bush

C15: from Middle Dutch busse box, bush; related to German Büchse tin, Swedish hjulbōssa wheel-box, Late Latin buxis box 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for beat the bushes



"many-stemmed woody plant," Old English bysc, from West Germanic *busk "bush, thicket" (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German busc, Dutch bosch, bos, German Busch). Influenced by or combined with cognate words from Scandinavian (cf. Old Norse buskr, Danish busk, but this might be from West Germanic) and Old French (busche "firewood," apparently of Frankish origin), and also perhaps Anglo-Latin bosca "firewood," from Medieval Latin busca (whence Italian bosco, Spanish bosque, French bois), which apparently also was borrowed from West Germanic; cf. Boise.

In British American colonies, applied from 1650s to the uncleared districts, hence "country," as opposed to town (1780); probably originally from Dutch bosch in the same sense, because it seems to appear first in English in former Dutch colonies. Meaning "pubic hair" (especially of a woman) is from 1745. To beat the bushes (mid-15c.) is a way to rouse birds so that they fly into the net which others are holding, which originally was the same thing as beating around the bush (see beat (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with beat the bushes


see beat around the bush; beat the bushes for; bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.