dead·​beat | \ ˈded-ˌbēt How to pronounce deadbeat (audio) \

Definition of deadbeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : loafer
2 : one who persistently fails to pay personal debts or expenses



Definition of deadbeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: having a pointer that gives a reading with little or no oscillation

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Examples of deadbeat in a Sentence

Noun His friends are just a bunch of deadbeats. He was accused of being a deadbeat.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Difficult runs the gamut from someone who disturbs the neighbors by playing loud music to a deadbeat renter to a tenant who physically damages your property. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 26 Aug. 2021 Half the customers were panicked deadbeat dads buying drum sets at full price because the store was gonna close in two hours. Tom Scharpling, Vulture, 12 July 2021 The song, a hymnal fantasy about murdering her close friend's deadbeat dad, is pretty much factual. Ilana Kaplan,, 16 June 2021 When two city buses in a row pulled up right as singer Marc Anthony, who plays the deadbeat dad of a main character, arrived and blocked their view of him, everyone screamed with dismay in unison. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 Unlike our politicians, none of the inhabitants of Easttown seem preoccupied with being likable, which makes for a great slew of suspects—including an out-of-town writer, a creepy Catholic priest, and the missing girl’s deadbeat dad. Raven Smith, Vogue, 19 May 2021 The differences in the amount of food weren’t massive, and an oddly colored clutch probably wouldn’t turn a doting father into a deadbeat dad. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 4 May 2021 My poor mother has spent too many years putting up with feeble hugs from the arms of her deadbeat son. Jason Gay, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2021 The smart money has little appetite to wager against either expensive or deadbeat companies -- especially after being lashed by the day-trader army earlier this year. Fortune, 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Adding to the complexity was his eagerness to avoid the archetype of a deadbeat Black father. Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2021 The pace and tone varies over the show’s short run, but the seemingly deadbeat characters are always charming and three-dimensional. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2020 Now, however, after a trip with Duke to their deadbeat dad’s, Frankie’s back, hugging Sam like a little kid. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 13 Apr. 2020 Flowers gave Brucie, a deadbeat dad, levels of humanity beyond his ne’er-do-well appearance. Matthew J. Palm,, 10 Dec. 2019 If the pressure to come up with liquidity forces Chandra to cede control of his TV empire, then the new owner will have the deadbeat infrastructure financier IL&FS to thank. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2019 What’s the biggest misconception about Black fathers The biggest misconception about Black fathers is that most of us are inactive and uninterested in raising our children, or just straight up deadbeat dads. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, 13 June 2019 Lawrence stars as a teenage girl eking out a hardscrabble existence in the Ozarks while searching for her missing deadbeat father. Emma Dibdin And Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, 21 May 2019 According to a 2016 BuzzFeed article, Dee Dee told doctors and friends that Rod was a deadbeat drug addict who abandoned his daughter, which wasn't true. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, 21 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deadbeat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deadbeat


1863, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for deadbeat

Time Traveler

The first known use of deadbeat was in 1863

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Dictionary Entries Near deadbeat

dead battery


deadbeat dad

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Statistics for deadbeat

Last Updated

5 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deadbeat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for deadbeat



English Language Learners Definition of deadbeat

: a lazy person : a person who does not work
: a person who does not pay money that is owed

More from Merriam-Webster on deadbeat

Nglish: Translation of deadbeat for Spanish Speakers


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