Beat It

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Meaning of Idiom 'Beat It'

To beat it means to leave immedietely; go away [commad] 1,2


Beat it is still a slang term and it usually used as an order to tell someone to go away quickly, as in "Beat it, Kid!" It is similar to expressions such as buzz off, scram, or shoo. 3


"I have to beat it back to work. There's some kind of emergency meeting going on."

"Beat it," said the businessman to the homeless person asking for money.

"Look, kid, I told you I don't want to buy any magazines," said the man. "Why don't you just beat it?"


The title of a hit song off of Michael Jackson's 1982 Thriller album, this isiom has actually been used since at least the first decade of the 1900's.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, this slang expression is based on the idiom beat a retreat.

1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster's New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.

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