beat one's head against the wall

Also, bang or run one's head against or into a brick wall. Waste one's time in a hopeless enterprise, as in I have tried many times to convince him to stop smoking, but I'm beating my head against a brick wall. The metaphoric phrase alludes to a physical expression of frustration. [Late 1500s] Also see beat the air.


Nearby words

  1. beat into one's head,
  2. beat it,
  3. beat man,
  4. beat off,
  5. beat one's brains out,
  6. beat out,
  7. beat poets,
  8. beat someone at his or her own game,
  9. beat the air,
  10. beat the band

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