deadbeat

[ ded-beet ]
/ ˈdɛdˌbit /

noun

Informal. a person who deliberately avoids paying debts or neglects responsibilities.
Informal. a loafer; sponger.

adjective

Informal. not paying one's debts or neglecting one's responsibilities:a deadbeat parent who won't pay for college;deadbeat borrowers.
Horology. noting any of various timepiece escapements that act 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.

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Origin of deadbeat

First recorded in 1760–70; dead + beat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for deadbeat

British Dictionary definitions for deadbeat (1 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

British Dictionary definitions for deadbeat (2 of 2)

dead beat

adjective

informal tired out; exhausted
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 deadbeat

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.