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beat one's head against the wall

Also, bang or run one's head against or into a brick wall. Waste one's time in a hopeless enterprise, as in I have tried many times to convince him to stop smoking, but I'm beating my head against a brick wall. The metaphoric phrase alludes to a physical expression of frustration. [ Late 1500s ]
Also see: beat the air
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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