Green’s Dictionary of Slang

deadbeat v.

[deadbeat n.]

1. to waste time, to idle around.

[US] ‘West Point Sl.’ in Howitzer (US Milit. Academy) 292–5: Dead Beat — To avoid working. One who endeavors to avoid exertion in any form.

2. to sponge on.

Waco Dly Examiner 5 Sept. 3/1: No party can dead-beat his way on me these hard times.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 141/2: deadbeat v. To loaf or sponge.

3. to cheat.

[US]W.O. Stoddard Esau Hardery 177: He’s dead beated on you [DA].
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 603: ‘Blame it on your lyin cheatin cold deadbeatin two-timin double-dealin mean mistreatin lovin heart’ (whatever that meant).