beat a dead horse

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of beat a dead horse

chiefly US, informal
1 :to keep talking about a subject that has already been discussed or decided
  • I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I still don't understand what happened.
2 :to waste time and effort trying to do something that is impossible
  • Is it just beating a dead horse to ask for another recount of the votes?

Word by Word Definitions

beat play
  1. : to strike repeatedly:

  2. : to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain

  3. : to walk on : tread

  1. : a single stroke or blow especially in a series

  2. : a sound produced by or as if by beating (see 1beat)

  3. : a driving impact or force

  1. : being in a state of exhaustion : exhausted

  2. : sapped of resolution or morale

  3. : of, relating to, or being beatniks

  1. : beatnik

dead play
  1. : deprived of life : no longer alive

  2. : having the appearance of death : deathly

  3. : lacking power to move, feel, or respond : numb

  1. : someone who is no longer alive : one that is dead (see 1dead 1)

  2. : the state of being dead

  3. : the time of greatest quiet

  1. : absolutely, utterly

  2. : suddenly and completely

  3. : directly

horse play
  1. : a large solid-hoofed herbivorous ungulate mammal (Equus caballus, family Equidae, the horse family) domesticated since prehistoric times and used as a beast of burden, a draft animal, or for riding

  2. : racehorse

  3. : a male horse

  1. : to provide with a horse (see horse 1a(1))

  2. : to move by brute force

  3. : to be in heat or estrus

  1. : of or relating to a horse (see horse 1a(1))

  2. : hauled or powered by a horse

  3. : large or coarse of its kind


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