deadbeat

[ noun ded-beet; adjective ded-beet ]
/ noun ˈdɛdˌbit; adjective ˈdɛdˈbit /

noun

a person who deliberately avoids paying debts.
a loafer; sponger.

adjective

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

First recorded in 1760–70; dead + beat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for dead beat (1 of 2)

dead beat

adjective

informal tired out; exhausted

British Dictionary definitions for dead beat (2 of 2)

deadbeat
/ (ˈdɛdˌbiːt) /

noun

informal a lazy or socially undesirable person
mainly US
  1. a person who makes a habit of avoiding or evading his or her responsibilities or debts
  2. (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
  1. (of a system) returning to an equilibrium position with little or no oscillation
  2. (of an instrument or indicator) indicating a true reading without oscillation
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

Idioms and Phrases with dead beat

dead beat

1

Defeated; also exhausted. For example, That horse was dead beat before the race even began, or, as Charles Dickens put it in Martin Chuzzlewit (1843): “Pull off my boots for me ... I am quite knocked up. Dead beat.” [Slang; first half of 1800s]

2

Also, deadbeat. A lazy person or loafer; also, one who does not pay debts. For example, Her housemate knew she was a deadbeat, shirking her share of the chores, or He's a deadbeat; don't count on getting that money back. [Slang; second half of 1800s]

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