beat off

Idioms & Phrases

beat off

Repulse, drive away by blows, as in We tried to beat off the flying ants swarming about us. Originating in the mid-1600s in a military context, this term was being used for other activities by the mid-1700s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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