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beat the bushes for

Look everywhere for something or someone, as in I've been beating the bushes for a substitute but haven't had any luck. This term originally alluded to hunting, when beaters were hired to flush birds out of the brush. [1400s] Also see beat around the bush.

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