The idiom, beat around the bush, or as is more commonly said in the UK, beat about the bush, figuratively means to avoid saying what you really want to or should be saying. Somebody who is beating around the bush is not being clear or direct in what they are saying and they are making it difficult to understand what they actually mean.
The expression evolved from the earlier literal meaning used during a bird hunt when participants would rouse the hiding or sleeping birds by beating the bushes with sticks, thus enabling the huntsmen to capture or shoot them.
- I couldn’t bring myself to tell my girlfriend I didn’t love her any more. I started beating about the bush and talking about being far too busy for a relationship and needing more time to concentrate on my career.
- Oh for goodness sake, get to the point and stop beating around the bush!
Another expression which basically means the same thing is: cut to the chase.
Example: Come on, cut to the chase, have I passed my driving test or not?
Beating Around The Bush – You Tube Video