1. to steal from, to defraud, to rob.
|Vocabulum 10: ‘Beat the flat;’ rob the man.|
|N.Y. Times 8 Aug. 8/1–2: ‘Beating the country’ is the latest idiomatic phrase of rascaldom, and implies the robbing of houses where the occupants are absent in the country [...] The sneak bides his time and ‘beats’ the house when all circumstances seem to favor the enterprise.|
|Bolivar Bull. (TN) 15 Apr. 1/3: The Slang of Our Day [...] They substitute beating for cheating.|
|Western Avernus (1924) 182: There remained but ‘beating.’ I had to find a freight or goods train, and in it [...] secrete myself, so that I might be taken to Portland without any one knowing.|
|N.Y. Globe 22 Aug. in Unforgettable Season (1981) 179: The man who beats the cash register when the Giants’ secretary is counting up the house will have to go some.|
|Chicago May (1929) 256: The fake hold-up man may beat the gent.|
|(con. 1905–25) Professional Thief (1956) 90: A representative [...] was beaten on a Pullman for $795 out of his drawing room.|
|Never Come Morning (1988) 155: I’ve beat every big-time outfit in the country.|
|Augie March (1996) 160: I ate in YMCA cafeterias or one-arm joints and beat checks as often as I could.|
|Howard Street 16: Man work hard all week long, he don’t dig nobody beatin’ him.|
|Street Players 182: She must have tried beatin’ the trick in the car.|
|Patriot Game (1985) 44: He’s beating me.|
|Clockers 264: ‘What do I tell this guy?’ [...] ‘Tell him he got beat.’.|
|‘The Damage Down’ in Portland Phoenix 12–19 Oct. [Internet] Everyone, and I mean everyone, gets ripped off eventually. I learned many lessons about copping in the big city, but even the best of us get beat.|
2. to defeat intellectually, to baffle, to confuse; often as beats me!
|Casket (Phila., PA) Jan. 41/1: By jings! that beats me, I tell ye.|
|Life and Adventures of Dr Dodimus Duckworth I 172: Well, that beats me all to pieces.|
|Scouting Adventures of McCullochs Texas Rangers 86: Well, that beats me.|
|(con. c.1840) Huckleberry Finn 236: It does beat all how neat the niggers played their hand.|
|Amateur Cracksman (1992) 103: It beats me how you brought it off in daylight, fog or no fog!|
|Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 212: ‘And what do the authorities say about it?’ ‘That beats me again.’ The Sergeant spoke fretfully.‘The Flag of Their Country’ in|
|Typhoon 156: How he knew there was a terrific gale fifty miles off beats me.|
|Ballygullion 100: It bates me to see the use av it at all.|
|White Moll 178: You can beat any jury in New York to it that you were both at the same old place.|
|Inimitable Jeeves 163: What beats me [...] is what principle you pick them on?|
|Dark Hazard (1934) 202: Well, I’ll be damned. No matter what happens, I’m never surprised. But this beats me.|
|Battlers 25: Where all these bagmen come from beats me.|
|(con. 1944) Big War 299: ‘What’s the scoop?’ ‘Beats me. Pull back again, I suppose.’.|
|Digger’s Game (1981) 132: Beats me how come they don’t find it.|
|London Fields 97: I’d say she really did a number on Guy Clinch. No half-measures there. It beats me how she keeps a straight face.|
|How to Shoot Friends 87: Hetzell played them all like a violin. I believe he beat the cops, his old gang and the courts.|
3. to leave quickly.
|Sporting Times 1 Feb. 1/2: He almost resolved he would beat a retreat.|
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 159: So I beats aroun’ the corner, picks out the second house to my right, tries the door and it opens.‘Canada Kid’ in|
|Northern Whig 12 Sept. 8/6: [A]nd then, beating, [I] ran right into a slop, who pinched me.|
|Chicago May (1929) 136: The wanderer landed in Charleston and beat his way to New York.|
|Gangster Girl 3: You beat a blowoff in Chi.|
|Web of the City (1983) 34: He beat for Tom-Tom’s.|
|Campus Sl. Apr. 1: beat – leave.|
4. of a criminal, to be acquitted of a crime, to defeat a case; of a lawyer, to defend a client successfully.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 18 July 18/3: [O]ver a soothing cup of tea he delights in telling an assemblage of choice spirits that they can ‘always beat the “coppers” if they’ll stick to tea.’ Undoubtedly there is a good deal in Bill’s text.|
|Life and adventures of Col. L.A. Norton 248: I can beat the case, and you shall never lose a dollar by me if I have to sell the last thing I have to pay up.|
|Wash. Post 11 Nov. Misc. 3/4: If he [i.e. a lawyer] succeeds in ‘beating a case’ he is a ‘swell mouthpiece.’.|
|Seventeen Years in the Und. 83: During my career as a yegg I was arrested four times and stood trial in two of the cases and ‘beat’ (was acquitted in) both.|
|Gangster Girl 11: If a ‘rap’ threatened, and this was a Federal offense, hard to square or beat, the ‘monkeys’ would be jettisoned without hesitation.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 70: If he can do no more than beat the chair for Lance he will be doing a wonderful job.‘The Old Doll’s House’|
|‘On Broadway’ 28 Jan. [synd. col.] [He] lined up the case against Princess Hohenlohe, which she beat at the time.|
|DAUL 24/2: Beat, v. [...] 2. To win a discharge or acquittal.et al.|
|Panic in Needle Park (1971) 148: There’s a good chance that he’ll beat the thing in court and walk out.|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 243: He told me to go crazy and I’d beat the chair. I thought hard on that, but I couldn’t make like a loco.|
|in Living Black 262: How many of them got off? Did any of them beat it?|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 173: Dey tryin’ to send me up, but I brought a lawyer and beat d’ case.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Beat. 1. To defeat an indictment.|
|Monster (1994) 172: I beat my case. They let me out.|
|Wire ep. 1 [TV script] They drop ten or twelve bodies in as many months, beat three cases in court.‘The Target’|
5. to escape from prison.
|in Pacific Reporter 158 1094: I am in a hell of a shape and the only chance I got to save my neck is to beat the joint.|
|‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 438: Beat the prison, To escape from prison.|
|Stealing Through Life 308: ‘Say, Dan an’ another guy beat the joint up above, yesterday.’ ‘Dan free! Good old Dan!’.|
|Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 98: I can ‘beat’ this joint.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Men of the Und. 320: Beat, [...] 2. To escape from prison.|
|Prison Sl. 109: Takin’ a Flier A seldom used expression meaning to escape from prison. (Archaic: blow, beat).|
6. to escape or avoid, e.g. a duty or obligation.
|diary 26 Nov. [Internet] Policed quarters and took bath. Beat [avoided] detail to scrub mattresses.|
|Never Come Morning (1988) 143: You did six months for all four instead of twenty years apiece [...] How’d you beat all them years?|
|World’s Toughest Prison 790: beat – To evade or escape the consequences.|
|House of Slammers 90: ‘I can’t beat it,’ he said, as he counted Bud’s bread. ‘It’s a fact that we might as well face.’.|
7. to pay for.
|Popular Detective Jan. [Internet] I was wonderin’ how I’d beat that six buck check in there as I only had four singles in my poke.‘State Penmanship’|
8. (orig. US black, also beat up on) of a man, to have heterosexual intercourse.
|[||Eastward Ho! V i: So well I like the play, / That I could wish all day / And night to be so beaten].|
|in Erotic Muse (1992) 58: My father’s a drummer, a drummer, a drummer, / A very fine drummer is he. / All day he beats drums, beats drums, beats drums. / At night he comes home and beats me.|
|Last Toke 65: Can’t rightly tolerate the ide’ o’ that pimple-face guinea tellin’ his friends ’bout how he beat up on a black girl.|
|Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] beat Definition: to have sex with a girl Example: That girl is fine az hell, I’ll beat dat.|
|‘Lyrics’ [lyrics] And your girl looks like she don’t work / [...] Man wouldn’t beat that even if I was burse.|
9. see beat off v. (1)
(US black) one who sells poor quality or fake drugs.
|Patterns in Drug Abuse I 216: It’s only when the beat artist didn't get away and got caught within the first hour or two that you're likely to have violence.|
|(con. 1982–6) Cocaine Kids (1990) 39: One response to freebase buyers’ increasing demand for purer and purer cocaine was a proliferation of dealers and con men (‘beat artists’) purporting to sell the real thing.|
|ONDCP Street Terms 2: Beat artist — Person selling bogus drugs.|
(Can.) to steal a ride on a freight train.
|N.-Y. Trib. 10 May B1: In point of fact, nine out of every ten beggars who have lost their legs lost them ‘beating the freights’ – that is, stealing rides on freight trains.|
|American Flint 3 3/2: It is impossible to beat a freight in the southern states, and for being caught on a railroad train without a ticket means six months to a year on the county roads.|
|Subsoil 86: If she would give him his money he could get back as far as Baltimore, and then beat a freight to New York.|
|Half a Million Tramps 305: ‘If you want to go cheap,’ he said, ‘just go down the yard and “beat a freight” [...] when you see a train leaving jump on it and hang on until it stops, and then get into one of the empty “box cars”.’.|
see under rap n.1
see separate entry.
see under trick n.1
see under cheeks n.1
see separate entry.
(US Und.) to rob, to break into.
|You Can’t Win (2000) 172: We’ll hike the forty miles into town [...] beat off the box, and get a couple of horses out of the livery stable.|
(US) to travel on any form of transport without paying for one’s ticket.
|Western Avernus (1924) 153: ‘Oh, get on board the Teaser and beat your way,’ or, [...] in English, cheat the steamer by stowing away.|
|Tramp Diary in Jack London On the Road (1979) 59: The ease the kids have in beating their way.|
|Tramping with Tramps 268: I was afraid to beat my way on the railroad between the two cities.|
|Punch 21 Feb. 142/2: Most of his hands beat their way up here same as you’ve done; they’d feel it disgraceful to waste money on a ticket.|
|Cry of Youth 71: Try to catch a freight and leave, but find they’ve closed down tight / On letting hoboes beat their way, and jug them left and right.‘The Harvest Fly’s Complaint’ in|
|Hobo 79: The brother tried to persuade him to wait till he had saved enough money to pay his fare but he preferred to take his ‘chances,’ so he was ‘beating his way’.|
|Keys to Crookdom 75: The yegg of this period generally ‘beat’ his way into town on a train.|
|Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 132: Now this happened at a time when I didn’t have one cent. / I beat my way to Frisco and my mind was [?] and bent.|
|(con. 1920s) Legs 151: I beat my way. That is, I catch rides on freight trains, or on the engine of passengers if I’m in a hurry.|
to take a person’s money, whether it is offered or not; to trick someone out of; to rob.
|Enemy to Society 211: Guess you forgot the time Stevey and me ‘beat’ him for that bunch of ‘dough’ on the Mauradriatic.|
|Prison Days and Nights 26: There’s nobody that can holler as loud as a thief that’s been beat for something.|
|DAUL 24/2: Beat, v. [...] 3. To rob. ‘They beat the sucker for a nice pocket-touch (proceeds of his pockets).’.et al.|
|Vice Trap 31: You’ve beaten me for so many things. [Ibid.] 33: You sponged off your friends, and beat them for money.|
|Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 66: I was on my way to Union Station to beat some sucker for his dough.|
|(con. 1950s) Whoreson 62: My mind was rocked by the thought of someone having beat us for our stash.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 200: They [...] beat me for a ten-dollar bill.‘Florence’ in|
|Bonfire of the Vanities 366: You already beat me for half my fee.|
1. to cheat, to defraud, to steal from.
|Oquawka (IL) Spectator 5 Feb. 1/7: He then went to Cincinnati where he beat another man out of $12 [DA].|
|Wanderings of a Vagabond 45: He would not consent to have any one beat out of their money, by foul play, at his place.|
|Lantern (N.O.) 14 May 3: No girl could beat her daughter out of a beau and escape.|
|Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories n.p.: Tom keeps him thar fer a week to beat him out’n a dollar.‘A Trick O’ Trade’ in|
|Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 353: Clancy had stolen the coppers’s ‘girl,’ [...] but even though she were not of the cast of Vere de Vere, the copper didn’t want a crook beating him out.|
|Gentle Grafter (1915) 154: He couldn’t have worked a scheme to beat a little girl out of a penny slate-pencil.‘The Man Higher Up’ in|
|Story Omnibus (1966) 200: Slim tried to beat the Toad out of two bits’ worth of Java.‘Corkscrew’|
|Never Come Morning (1988) 143: ‘You’ve beat society out of four hundred years.’ ‘Society beat me out of a thousand first.’.|
|Swell-Looking Babe 102: To beat them out of their split.|
|Rage in Harlem (1969) 34: She’s gone off with the man who beat you out of your money.|
|(con. 1960s) Whoreson 198: This bitch really believed she would end up beating me out of some money.|
|Muscle for the Wing 99: You said somebody else ripped it [i.e. stolen liquor] from us, but I always figured you beat me out of it.|
|Skin Tight 160: She beat you and the anchorman out of some serious dough.|
|Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Beat-out: Lost something some way or another, usually conned out of it, through deception.|
2. to overcome, to beat a rival.
|Bloomfield Times (PA) 18 Mar. 2/3: Father, this beats all creation.|
|Forty Years a Gambler 19: I beat him out of five lots.|
|Fables in Sl. (1902) 115: Whenever the Foresters had a Picnic they invited him to make the Principal Address, because he was the only Orator who could beat out the Merry-Go-Round.|
|Northerner 227: Jiminy! [...] This beats out all creation!|
|Road 41: It is five to one, including the engineer and fireman, and the majesty of the law and the might of a great corporation are behind them, and I am beating them out.|
|Coll. Short Stories (1941) 253: The Cubs had Zimmerman at third base and it didn’t look like they was any danger of a busher beatin’ him out.‘Horseshoes’ in|
|Doughboy Dope 109: He was a good deal of a pest, and nearly beat out Nero as history’s prize bad actor.|
|Go, Man, Go! 28: Once a four-cylinder job beat me out.|
1. (US) to confuse, to confound.
|Innocents Abroad 616: I swear it beats my time, though.|
|Innocents at Home 357: ‘If he’s proven guilty.’ ‘Great Neptune, ain’t he guilty? This beats my time.’.|
|Big Bonanza (1947) 278: He broke loose with: ‘Well, now, this beats my time!’.|
|Anglia VII 261: Dat jes’ beats my time! = that is too improbable.‘Negro English’ in|
|DA].Red Rock 224: It clean beats my time [|
2. (US black/campus) to cheat or be cheated in a love affair.
|AS VII:5 329: to beat one’s time—to ‘cut out’ a rival by a more elaborate display of attention, presents or entertainment.‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in|
(US black) to have lesbian intercourse.
|‘Eat’ [lyrics] [T]hey call me a dyke, a faggot, a gay bitch / [...] /They just mad cause I beat the pussy like bam bam / Because I’m making these bitches twerk on a handstand.|
see under rap n.1
(orig. US) a phr. used to express surprise or amazement.
|Mary’s Birthday III iii: There’s poetry for you, George, impromptu. Can you beat it?|
|Leicester Dly Mercury 28 Aug. 1/5: Look At This! [...] Can You Beat It?|
|Artie (1963) 67: Can you beat him? Can you tie him?|
|TAD Lex. (1993) 24: Higashi’s seconds wore tuxedos. Can you beat it?in Zwilling|
|Comic Section N.-Y. American and Journal 21 Jan. 1: Tige went into Cousin Fanny’s room and shook himself – can you beat that?|
|Mexican Diary (t/s) 281: In the words of the cartoonist: — Can you beat it!|
|Home to Harlem 6: Then the boat plows round and run off and leaves me behind. Kain you beat that, Buddy?|
|At Swim-Two-Birds 168: Can you beat it? asked Shorty.|
|Coast to Coast 129: The silly little bitch accosted a plain-clothes man. Can you beat it? My Christ, I was mad!‘Heat’ in Mann|
|Little Men, Big World 67: ‘It’s done every day,’ she says, wisecracking; but she was serious all the same. Can you beat it?|
|Banker Tells All 140: ‘Can you beat that!’ said the safe-cracker.|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 13: The next day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. ‘My God,’ said Poppa. ‘We’re at war.’ ‘Dios mío,’ said Momma. I turned to James. ‘Can you beat that.’.|
|Ruling Class I xvi: Can you beat it, J.C.’s got labour pains too.|
|Paco’s Story (1987) 48: The one survivor of the Alpha Company holocaust massacre was aboard [...] and still alive (Can you beat that!).|
|www.brothersjudd.com 12 Oct. [blog] SADDAM’S OFFERING OIL VOUCHERS, CAN YOU BEAT THAT?|
(US) to defeat intellectually, to get the better of, to baffle, to confuse.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Oct. 12/4: The Courtly Language of the Ring. / M’Murphy: ‘I gotcher beat, “Turkey” – I gotcher beat!’ / Turkey: ‘Pooph! Oi’ll put me hook down yer t’roat and pull yez insoide out.’.|
|Fact’ry ’Ands 124: You kin all git orf ther earth. Twentyman’s got yeh beat.|
|Songs of a Sentimental Bloke 96: It’s got me beat. Doreen’s late Par, some way, / Was second cousin to ’is bruvver’s wife.‘Uncle Jim’ in|
|Digger Smith [Internet] ‘Why do they do it? I dunno,’ / Sez Digger Smith. ‘Yeh got me beat.’.‘The Boys Out There’ in|
|(con. 1916) Her Privates We (1986) 150: ‘Well, what the ’ell did you come out for,’ asked Madeley. [...] ‘That’s where th’ast got me beat, lad.’.|
|Capricornia (1939) 340: Men always goes rampin’ about a woman that’s got ’em beat in the way of bein’ incomprehensible.|
|Neon Wilderness (1986) 223: When I get behind a wheel [...] that’s when I got the world beat.|
|Hustler (1998) 9: I got my fat ass beat. Just beat right off.|
a general excl. of incomprehension, ‘I just can’t understand it!’.
|Big Bear of Arkansas (1847) 93: What on the Lord’s yearth young people now a days works and laces and befrils nite caps fur I can’t tell – it beets me.|
|(con. c.1840) Huckleberry Finn (2001) 254: The lawyer looked powerful astonished, and says: ‘Well, it beats me.’.|
|Lord Jim 41: ‘Why? It beats me! Why?’ He slapped his low and wrinkled forehead.|
|Such is Life 141: Beats all!|
|Gentleman of Leisure Ch. ix: It beats me [...] What do you want to leg it about the world like that for? What’s the trouble?|
|Ulysses 588: It beats me [...] how a wretched creature like that from the Lock Hospital, reeking with disease, can be barefaced enough to solicit.|
|Shearer’s Colt 141: Lady Seawood shook her head. ‘Beats me,’ she said.|
|Harder They Fall (1971) 221: It beats the hell outa me.|
|Sexus (1969) 118: It beats me!|
|One Lonely Night 22: Beats me, I’m on vacation.|
|(con. 1948) Flee the Angry Strangers 179: ‘How can she make such a buffoon of herself?’ ‘Beats me.’.|
|Never So Few (1958) 121: ‘What have they got to do with it?’ Ringa asked. ‘Beats my ass.’.|
|Billy Bunter at Butlins 214: ‘Beats me,’ said Bob.|
|Picture Palace 235: She was shaking her head and her mouth was set in a rueful little pucker. ‘It beats me.’.|
|Brown’s Requiem 55: ‘What happened to Edwards?’ I asked. ‘Beats me,’ McNamara said.|
|Close Pursuit (1988) 33: ‘How the hell’d the guy float all the way down to the Thirty-fourth Street heliport?’ Stokovich shrugged. ‘Beats me.’.|
|Lucky You 131: Beats the hell outta me.|
|Powder 198: It beats me every time.|
|Black Tide (2012) [ebook] ‘What’s Gary do?’ ‘Beats me’.|
|Big Ask 130: ‘Any idea how it happened?’ ‘Beats me.’.|
|Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 52: ‘Do you wish to purchase the item?’ ‘Beats me, soldier.’.|
SE, meaning to defeat, to surpass, in slang uses
see separate entry.
to be confusing; thus he beats akeybo, he acts in an extreme manner; akeybo beats the devil, something is extremely confusing.
|, ,||Sl. Dict. 66: AKEYBO, a slang phrase used in the following manner:— ‘He beats akeybo, and akeybo beats the devil.’.|
orig. horseracing use, to surpass in every way; often in phr. don’t that beat all.
|Oxford Jrnl 12 Apr. 1/3: The Odds [...] were three to one on the Gelding, who was beat Hollow.|
|Manchester Mercury 8 May 1/1: Mr Jenison Shafto’s filly [...] beat hollow Sir James Lowther’s Bay Colt.|
|Newmarket II 163: The frequenters of the Turf, and numberless words of theirs are exotics everywhere else; [...] the author poured upon us [...] a torrent of taken-in – beat hollow.|
|Salisbury & Winchester Jrnl 2 Dec. 1/2: If [the palace] does not vie with Versailles for richness, it beats it hollow in perfect cleanliness.|
|Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: All Hollows. He was beat all Hollow he was beat without having a chance of succeeding. It was all Hollow. It was a decided thing on one side. See Hollow.|
|Ipswich Jrnl 25 Aug. 3/2: The batchelors [...] were beat hollow by the married men, at the game of cricket here, on Monday.|
|‘Modern Dict.’ in Sporting Mag. May XVIII 98/2: He was beat all hollow; i.e. he had no chance of conquering.|
|New Comic Pantomime called The Astrologer 18: This beats all from north to south.|
|Letters from Alabama 1 Jan. 121: This beats us all hollow, Matt.|
|Brother Jonathan II 93: Hourra for you—that beats all nater!|
|Ingoldsby Legends (1889) 148: Many Ladies in Strasburg were beautiful, still / They were beat all to sticks by the lovely Odille.‘The Lay of St. Odille’|
|Crockett Almanacks (1955) 95: Of all the rivers on this airth, the Mississippi beats all holler.in Meine|
|‘Uncle Sam’s Peculiarities’ in Bentley’s Misc. IV 589: That beats all natur!|
|High Life in N.Y. I 174: Think, sez I, wal, if this don’t beat all natur.|
|Stray Subjects (1848) 116: The collection – bears, tigers, kangaroos, and porkepines, which beats the Zoological Gardens all holler.|
|Biglow Papers (1880) 17: The sort o’ trash a feller gits to eat doos beat all nater. / I’d give a year’s pay for a smell o’ one good blue-nose tater.|
|Spirit of the Times 26 Jan. (N.Y.) 581: They ain’t no whar, for the big black customer what circumlocates down in our neck o’ woods beats ’em all hollow.‘Mike Hooter’s Bar Story’ in|
|Lavengro III 217: Well, if that doesn’t beat all!|
|Sam Slick’s Wise Saws I 36: Well, that beats all natur.|
|Nature and Human Nature II 64: I’ll be dod fetched if I meant any harm, but you beat me all holler.|
|Season Ticket 220: Don’t the British beat all natur in their way?|
|Billy O’ Bent’s Berryin’ 7: They’st have somat at’ll beat tobacco hollow.|
|Poganuc People 20: Wal, now, this beats all!|
|Staffs. Sentinel 29 June 2/5: A sensation drama was enacted [...] which beats hollow Dion Boucicault and the flying trapeze.|
|Letters from the Southwest (1989) 192: That’ll beat sow-belly and murphies [...] all hollow.letter 25 Dec. in Byrkit|
|Seth’s Brother’s Wife 296: By Cracky! [...] don’t it beat natur’!|
|Red Badge of Courage (1964) 74: I got skeared when they was all a-shootin’ b’hind me an’ I run t’ beat all.|
|‘Joseph’s Dreams & Reuben’s Brethren’ in Roderick (1967–9) II 114: A greenhorn raised on asses’ milk! / Well, this beats all I know!|
|Potash And Perlmutter 135: It beats all, the queer ideas some people has.|
|Dly Capital Jrnl (Salem, OR) 19 Aug. 4/2: He finds collecting silver junk beats blowing it, all hollow.|
|Wildcat 62: Cinnamon, you sure does beat all!|
|Hobo 33: He was cursing the bugs and saying that he knew an engine room that had this ‘place beat all hollow’.|
|Bessie Cotter 136: Don’t it beat all hell.|
|Family from One End Street 29: You beat all, you do, you and your ideas.|
|Walk in Sun 73: He can draw covers to beat all hell.|
|Long Wait (1954) 21: ‘Damn, Johnny,’ he said with his head wagging from side to side, ‘you sure beat all.’.|
|Man Walking On Eggshells 62: Now if that don’t beat all.|
|(con. 1949) Boomers 60: Beats all hail, she’s jest as horny when she’s in the family way as when she’s not.|
(W.I.) to be unbelievable, unheard of, utterly ridiculous.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
see under Bannagher n.
(US) to surpass in every way.
|Lancaster Gaz. (OH) 13 Oct. 1/7: Cass only enacted the Michigan law, while Harrison signed and approved the Indiana law! This beats bobtail.|
|Herald & Mail (Columbia, TN) 13 Apr. 1/6: Well, well, well! [...] uv all and uv all — this beats bobtail!|
|Lafayette Advertiser (LA) 23 Nov. 4/2: If they effect that ‘sordid lucre’ reform they will beat ‘Bobtail’, and ’Bobtail’ you know beat the D—l.|
|Lafayette Advertiser (LA) 20 Oct. 3/2: You git colty and dance and prance and frisk around to beat Bobtail.|
|DARE].Sketches of Country Life 47: Blev Scroggins was mixin’ around among the various delegates [...] to beat bobtail [|
|Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 29 Apr. 11/3: Well, ef dat don’ beat bobtal!|
|Salt Lake Herald-Repub. (UT) 22 May 36/2: ‘Wages for wives,’ says Ike wid a sigh, ‘ef dat don’t beat Bobtail’.|
|Hench Collection n.p.: A fellow-teacher and friend, raised in eastern North Carolina, told me of the proverb That beats bobtail meaning that beats the devil. Sometimes the proverb has a longer form: That beats bobtail and everybody knows what bobtail beats. [Ibid.] A native Virginian (raised in Norfolk) was speaking of something that surprised him a great deal, something that he could not comprehend. Summing up his impression, he said, ‘Doesn’t it beat bobtail for him to do that!’ [DARE].|
to defeat or surpass completely.
|Bell’s Life in London 26 Apr. 2/3: The latter should give him the Rook, and beat him into fits, and out again.|
|York Herald 7 June 8/3: He [i.e a racehorse] was tried with Salopian [...] and beat him into fits.|
|Frank Fairlegh (1878) 131: As to reading his book, he’d beat the parson himself into fits at it.|
|Falkirk Herald 28 Jan. 3/3: Glasgow, to use an emphatic [...] phrase, ‘beat us all to fits’.|
|S. London Chron. 22 Sept. 3/2: By means of these conjuring tricks, which beat ‘all to fits’ [...] we have made science [...] speak a language that would have utterly flabbergasted Archimedes.|
|Leeds Times 23 Feb. 6/3: Give me Bill Balls and apair of rummy ’osses, and he’ll beat ’em all into fits! Take my word, marm, a ’bus driver is a man as ought to be looked up to.|
|‘’Arry on His ’Oliday’ Punch 13 Oct. 160/2: The cut of these bags, Sir, beats Poole out of fits.|
|Sporting Times 22 Mar. 3/2: THEN BOBBY shook up Austerlitz / And beat each other’s ’orse to fits .|
|Isle of Man Times 19 June 4/4: We have travelled on the railways in those districts [...] and know [...] that the Manx lines ‘geat them all to fits’ for comfort, speed and general management.|
|Edinburgh Eve. News 3 Aug. 4/1: Well, if our Major don’t beat him all to fits in dress.|
|Eve. Dispatch (W. Midlands, UK) 7 Dec. 3/3: ‘How do you like the women cooks?’ he asked the men. ‘Sure, sir [...] they beat the men into fits’.|
|Mapp and Lucia (1984) 233: This was a record that beat Risholme all to fits.|
of an individual, to be remarkable / outstanding in one’s behaviour.
|Yankee Notions 56: He, he, he! a rotten good ’un, by gum! darned ’f it don’t beet the old Nick and all nater!|
|Gallipolis Jrnl (OH) 1 June 3/4: For the culture of strawberries and grapes we believe Mr R beats ‘old Nick’ himself.|
|Stark Co. Democrat (Canton, OH) 19 Jan. 2/3: The lying impudecannce of the radical sheets beats old Nick all the pieces.|
|Northern Tribune (Cherboygan, MI) 1 Dec. 12/1: Biddle beats the very Old Nick for sly.|
|Perrysburg Jrnl (OH) 26 Dec. 4/1: It does beat the old Nick that Perrysburg can’t have anything without B.G. trying to get in on it.|
|S.F. Call 21 Dec. 11/4: ‘Them doctors do beat the old Nick himself,’ she finally remarked.|
|Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ) 12 June 21/3: First Yeggman— The ‘dicks’ can certainly beat old Nick himself.|
1. to arrive at a destination sooner than another person.
|Patriot Game (1985) 64: I really don’t think he knew who beat him to the punch and saved him the trouble.|
2. to appreciate or understand something faster than another person.
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
see under bags n.2
see under band n.2
to surpass any contender.
|Clockmaker II 62: It beats the bugs, don’t it?|
|Clockmaker III 158: Well, if this don’t beat the bugs, he’d say!|
|Season Ticket 41: It fairly beats the bugs.|
|DA].Check No. 2134 261: ‘That beats the bugs!’ exclaimed the operator [|
|in Sketch 20 Mar. 150/1: ‘Jeez, Homer,’ one imagines Mr Lazarus saying, ‘if that doesn’t beat the bugs!’.|
(US) to surpass in every way.
|Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 12: beat the cars To excel.|
|Ellensburg Dawn (WA) 5 Apr. 3/5: They make a horse trot, a hen cackle and a rooster crow to beat the cars.|
|St John’s Herald (AZ) 8 Apr. 2/1: Up at the mountains it was snowing to beat the cars.|
see separate entry.
(Aus.) for an engaged woman to have sex with her fiancé and to get pregnant thereby.
|Awatea (1978) 43: That’s against the law too! No beating the gun till after the draw.|
|DSUE (8th edn) 61/2: since late 1940s.|
(US) lit. or fig., to surpass any contender.
|New Mirror (NY) 17 Feb. 318/2: You’ll be well pleased to hear the news / That Kibbe has got new boots and shoes; / They're sold so cheap that it beats the Jews.|
|Lewistown Gaz. (PA) 8 Oct. 3/6: We’ve Clothing, Vestings, Boots and Shoes, / Which we sell so low ‘it beats the Jews’.|
|Commercial Jrnl (Dublin) 13 Sept. 3/3: ‘I can no more call him to mind than you can.’ ‘Well — that beats the Jews’.|
|St Cloud Democrat (MN) 16 Nov. 3/2: He says it ‘beats the Jews’ how St Cloud does grow.|
|Jeffersonian (Stroudsburg, PA) 30 Oct, 1/5: ‘That beats the Jews’ is a very common expression, but we do not know its origin.|
|Forest Republican (Tionesta, PA) 20 Oct. 3/3: The way they sell the boots and shoes / I do declare it beats the Jews.|
|Maryville Times (TN) 12 May 5/2: ‘Belle of Swannanoa’ beats the Jews for a smoke at Toole’s made by Cone, Shields & Co.|
|Caucasian (Clinton, NC) 19 Apr. 4/5: [picture caption] Well, for consummate impudence he beats the Jews.|
|Bee (Earlington, KY) 25 July 4/1: A Rabbi [...] claims the mails can be carried across the Atlantic in two days. This beats the Jews.|
|Dly Capital Jrnl (Salem, OR) 15 Sept. 3/6: The clover windrower [...] I purchased from you is simply out of sight [...] and for short barley it simply beats the Jews.|
|Holt Co. Sentinel (Oregon, MO) 25 June 3/2: The busy farmer frets [...] and says that it just beats the Jews how rains are fallng every day so he can’t cut his clover hay.|
|World to Win 184: Don’t it beat the Jews how I happened t’ run across that?|
|AS XIV:4 267: If it is startling news, it ‘beats the Jews’ or ‘beats the Dutch’.‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in|
(Irish) to surpass everything.
|Islanders 26: ‘Well, glory be to God,’ the mother exclaimed, ‘if that doesn’t beat the wee wheel.’.|
|Tarry Flynn 231: ‘Jabus, that’s a dread,’ said Eusebius, ‘that bates the little dish as the fellow said.’.|
(W.I., Gren.) to commit a major crime and act brazenly in acknowledging it without any form of shame or sorrow.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
to have a child out of wedlock; to become pregnant before the wedding.
|DSUE (8th edn) 62/1: since late 1940s.|
to defeat comprehensively.
|Blackwood’s Mag. V. 638: All other Colleges, thou beat’st to snuff / Great Alma Mater of our kings of yore.|
|DSUE (1984) 1107/1: ob. by 1930.|
(US) to start first.
|Let Tomorrow Come 41: He tries to unlimber his rod, but I beat ’im to the wheel.|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 534: Studs is beating you to the gun.Judgement Day in|
(Aus.) a phr. used to indicate weakness.
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 21 Aug. 1/7: Poor old Bob. He couldn't ‘beat a carpet’ now, let alone Tommy Burns.|
|News (Hobart, Tas.) 17 Apr. 3/6: Gilham called him a squib, and told him he couldn’t beat a carpet.|
|Here’s Luck [Internet] When Mustard Plaster won the Carrington Stakes, in 1902, and I had my metaphorical shirt on Onkus, a retired cart-horse that couldn’t beat a carpet.|
|Sporting Globe (Melbourne) 20 May 4/3: ‘You’re like all mugs; couldn’t beat a carpet yourself and cry “stinking fish” on others’.|
|W. Wyalong Advocate (NSW) 13 May 2/8: On 1954's showing to date, the Magpies couldn’t beat a carpet.|
|‘Aussie Insults for Bad Sports’ at MajorMitchell.com.au [Internet] Competitors: You couldn’t beat a carpet!|
|‘Arsenal Chat Room’ on Channel2.co.uk [Internet] We couldn’t beat a carpet at Wembley if our lives depended on it.|
that is really amazing, that’s beyond the bounds of possibility.
|[||Tears, Sighs, etc. of the Church of England Bk II 228: Ministers’ scufflings and contests with one another, is beyond any Cock fighting or Bear-baiting to the vulgar envy, malice, profaneness, and petulancy].|
|N.-Y. Eve. Post 18 Jan. n.p.: This, if I must speak plain, beats cock-fighting.|
|Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 8: D—n me, that beats cock-fighting!|
|N.-Y. Enquirer 15 Apr. 2/4: 7th and last round. — This beat Cockfighting, for on coming to the scratch it was seen that the Pink had got his other peeper closed; he then stood no chance; and after a severe blow in the bread-basket, gave in.|
|Pickwick Papers (1999) 524: Vel [...] if this don’t beat cock-fightin’, nothin’ never vill.|
|Stray Subjects (1848) 62: Wai, that beats thunder all teu smash!|
|Paul Pry 19 Mar. 1/3: ‘Well, I’m d—d! [...] this beats cock- fighting! You are a downey old dodger’.|
|Times 17 Sept. 11/6: ‘Why, this beats cock-fighting!’ exclaimed Field, on seeing proof that Provis was really a great rogue, and, therefore, all the less likely to be the gentleman he said he was; and, satisfied that the game was all up with ‘Sir Richard,’ Mr. Field added, ‘Well, now I’ll go to dinner’.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 106/1: Well, thunner my b—y eyes out’n mi ’ead iv this ’ere duzzin’ beet cockfyghtin’.|
|Dick Temple I 180: There’s many things are said to beat cock-fighting, but [...] pigeon-flying is the only thing that really does.|
|Jack’s Courtship I 135: Well, roast me! [...] if this dont beat cockfighting.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Aug. 6/3: ‘Wal,’ said the astonished American, ‘this beats thunder; I never heard of such a thing in my life before – education, salvation, and damnation all run by the one man.’.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 16 Nov. 7/4: ‘Have you noticed,’' asks a friend, ‘how lame horses run in the Melbourne Cup? It licks cock-fighting’.|
|Bushranger’s Sweetheart 53: We were suddenly transported into a scene from the Arabian Nights. ‘By gosh this beats cock-fighting!’ said Jim.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Sept. 35/1: One at a time’s good fishin’. Come along me beauties; two blanky Chinamen (fives). ’Struth, but that beats cock-fightin’.|
|Quinton’s Rouseabout and other Stories 121: Missus – well, that beats cock-fighting!|
|diary 7 Sept. [Internet] This place beats cock fighting. It’s right in no man’s land between ours and the Huns first lines, and infested with rats.|
|in Rainbow in Morning (1965) 84: That beats a hen a-scratchin’. Don’t that just beat a hen a-lopin’.|
|Final Count 826: This beats cock-fighting. Wouldn’t have missed it for a thousand.|
(US) that is really amazing, that’s beyond the bounds of possibility.
|Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 39: ‘Well, that beats the devil,’ said the grocery man.|
|Kansas Agitator (Garnett, KS) 24 Mar. 4/3: It beats the devil we are not able to get a secretary of the treasury that can get it into his head that [etc.].|
|Commoner (Lincoln, NE) 1 July 2/2: Pat took his old friend Mike into a magnificent cathedral [...] Mike said, ‘Pat, this beats the devil’ [etc.].|
|Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt Lake City, UT) 18 Dec. 19/1: Beats the devil how everything broke loose tonight all in a bunch!|
(US campus) to a very great extent.
|Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 12: beat four of a kind […] Actively, intensely, to a high degree. ‘I was studying to beat four of a kind.’.|
SE, meaning to hit, in slang uses
see separate entry.
see separate entry.
see separate entries.
1. to avoid a topic, to fail deliberately to come to the point.
|Art of Eng. Poesie III xviii 161: Then have ye the figure Periphrasis, as when we go about the bush, and will not in one or a few words expresse that thing which we desire to have knowen, but do choose rather to do it by many words.|
|Blacke Bookes Messenger 3: The fetching in a Conny, beating the bush.|
|Trick to Catch the Old One I iii: I had beaten the bush to the last bird.|
|Greenes Tu Quoque Scene x: You doe not take the course to winne my sister, But indirectly goe about the bush.|
|Rover III i: Will. But hearkey, Friend of mine, are you my Rival? and have I been only beating the Bush all this while?|
|Confederacy III ii: You must know I went round the Bush, and round the Bush, before I came to the matter.|
|‘Toasts & Sentiments’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 48: May volunteers all be able to enter the privates without beating about the bush.|
|Ask Mamma 19: He would beat about the bush a little longer. It was very pleasant sport.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor IV 269/2: After a little manoeuvring and bush-beating, she asked me if I would not like to go over to France.|
|‘Take it Easy John’ [lyrics] Should you ever love a pretty girl and want that girl to kiss / Don’t beat about the bush my boy, but plainly tell her this.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 11 July 12/1: An Australian indulges in no such foolishness. If he meets an old friend, his greeting is either ‘Give it a name!’ or ‘Do you hold it?’ according to circumstances. There is no preliminary beating about the bush with him.|
|Amateur Cracksman (1992) 3: But it’s no good beating about the bush.|
|John Henry 32: They have to beat around the bush and chase their friends to the swamps by throwing things like ‘svelte’ at them.|
|Marvel III:55 4: But no beating about the bush. What happened last night?|
|Marvel 15 Oct. 24: It is a lot quicker not to beat about de bush wid me.|
|Bulldog Drummond 42: He had never been a man who beat about the bush.|
|Doctor Serocold (1936) 106: So that’s why she’s been beating about the bush all this time.|
|AS XIV:4 266: In this group we have [...] to ‘beat around the bush’.‘Folk “Sayings” from Indiana’ in|
|Loving (1978) 83: When told of the journey which had been put forward Miss Swift did not beat about the bush.|
|Man with the Golden Arm 239: Quit beatin’ around the bushes.|
|Come in Spinner (1960) 222: Deb, if you want me to help you, it’s not good beating about the bush.|
|Absolute Beginners 41: A great deal of a lot of beating around the bush.|
|Meanwhile, Back at the Front (1962) 212: Moon was in no mood for bush-beating.|
|Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 210: Don’t beat about the bush. I want the truth.|
|Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 54: No beating about the bush. Bit of a cock-up on the catering front.|
|Faggots 232: Nancellen, as her many conquests could tell you, was not one to beat around the bush.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Well without beating about the bush, you know, I mean – well – you know to cut a long story short.‘Cash & Curry’|
|Yes We Have No 337: No point in beating about the bush.|
|Guardian 14 Jan. 21: You ’as grabbed ’old of da wrong end of da stick an’ beginnin’ to beat around the bush with it, innit?|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.|
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
|Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 53: What a shuffling, beat-the-bush knave you are.|
(W.I., Gren.) to be in the mood for a physical fight or verbal confrontation, esp. one that will last for several days.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
see separate entry.
see separate entry.
1. (US campus) to leave, to depart quickly.
|Life 15 May 65: To ‘beat feet’ means time to leave.|
|Teen-Age Mafia 24: Dum Dum had the idea that they’d all like to deuce out, beat feet right out of there.|
|Reno (LV) Eve. Gazette 20 Mar. 31/6: ‘A common expression for when it’s time to leave a blast (party) for home,’ she wrote, ‘is “Let’s beat feet and skin the path to the pad before the warden flips.”.’.|
|CUSS 78: Beat feet leave a place.et al.|
|Obscenities 42: This dink just / Got hit by a truck [...] That beat feet after hitting him.‘The Surgical Hospital’|
|Great Santini (1977) 233: Beat feet it up here, scumbag. You. Yes. You, scumbag. You beat feet it up here before I tear your fucking legs from your putrid body.|
|Big Huey 244: beat the feet (v) Run away, escape.|
|Paco’s Story (1987) 64: Well, shit, fella, you might as well keep fuckin’ beatin’ feet, as they say.|
|About Face (1991) 28: We beat feet back to the safety of our rice-paddy wall.|
|Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Beat Your Feet: Order by an officer for a prisoner to move out of an area. (TX).|
|Destination: Morgue! (2004) 228: The killer shoots the vic. The killer beats feet.‘Hollywood Fuck Pad’ in|
2. (US campus) to hurry.
|Campus Sl. Nov. 1: beat the feet – hurry up! Let’s beat the feet or we’ll never get a good seat.|
|Sl. and Sociability 41: Examples of rhyme from college slang are [...] beat the feet ‘hurry up’.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.|
to strike one’s hands under the armpits to warm them.
|Times 15 Mar. 9/6: The common labourers at outdoor work were ‘beating goose’ to drive the blood from their fingers.|
(US gang) to subject to a beating as part of gang initiation.
|(con. 1990s) in One of the Guys 69: ‘These are my six friends right here so we’re all gonna fight and beat each other in and now we’re Crips’.|
see knock into a cocked hat under knock into v.
to walk on foot.
|Q. Horatius Flaccus (1640) 48: Therefore (till with his painfull Progenitors, he be able to beate it on the hoofe to the bene bouse, or the stauling Ken, to nip a ian, or clye the Iarke) ’tis thought fit he marche in the Infants Equipage.Masque of the Gipsies in|
|Athenæ Oxonienses (1817) 1068: They all beated it on the hoof to London .|
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Beat it on the Hoof, to walk on Foot.|
|Works (1811) VIII 399: The good man was...forced to beat it on the hoof as far as Hernhuth in Germany .Doctrine of Grace xii in|
(W.I.) to drink heavily.
|cited in Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).|
see separate entry.
see under bird n.3
see under dummy n.3
see separate entries.
see under hog n.
see under little brother n.
see under meat n.
(US black/Harlem) to applaud, to clap.
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|
see break someone’s ass under break v.1
see knock the ears off under ear n.1
(W.I., Bdos) to walk around.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
see under beaver n.1
see bang one’s bishop under bishop n.2
(US black) to (tap)dance.
|Really the Blues 210: That kid would sit in a chair and lay more iron than a lot of the best dancers who stood up and beat the boards in Harlem.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Straight from the Fridge Dad.|
see under booby n.1
(US/W.I.) to work very hard.
|Slanguage Dict. 59: Beating the books – studying hard.|
(US) to chatter, to gossip.
|Sat. Eve. Post Treasury (1954) 8 July 434: Okay, I’ll go back and beat the breeze.|
see under bull n.6
see knock the crap out of under crap, the phr.
see under dog n.2
see beat feet (it)
see under gong n.2
see hit the hay under hay n.
see under hoof n.
(US) to thrash severely.
|Bound for Glory (1969) 178: They quit jumping on me for two reasons: I’d beat the hound out of them, and the others wanted to ride on that motorcycle.|
|Collier’s Mag. 72: It just beat the hound out of me what they did for money. I wished I knew.|
|Night with Hants 24: If you just quit, pulled out, and they found you any time later, well, they’d just take you out and beat the hound out of you.|
|Old-Time Herald 3:8 29: I went out thar behind the house, got the longest pole I had and come back around there, he thought I was going to beat the hound out of him".|
|ihigh.com (TX) [Internet] We beat the hound out of Liberty-Eylau in district play. We had some things happen to us later on in district that really took the rhythm away from us. We then got beat by a good Commerce team.|
|North Carolina State University [Internet] They are good biscuits along the lines of what Biscuitville makes. They beat the hound out of any canned biscuit.|
see lard n. (3)
see under daylights n.
see under piss n.
(US black) to walk the streets.
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|
|(ref. to 1940s) City in Sl. (1995) 40: A variant in 1940s black speech was to beat the rocks, ‘to walk on the sidewalk’.|
see cut the rug v.
to sleep deeply.
|You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Pressing Blankets: Sleep.|
|I Love Lucy [CBS-TV] I can see I ain’t the only one that’s been a-beatin’ the sheets [HDAS].|
|Campus Sl. Fall 5: press the sheets – to sleep.|
see separate entry.
see under stick n.
see kick the tar out of under tar n.3
(Aus.) to walk a long way, usu. over rough country.
|Tramp-Royal 18: ‘And you think the best way to do . . .?’ ‘To beat the tracks,’ I interposed, laughingly.|
see separate entry.