[n. ded-beet; adj. ded-beet]
a person who deliberately avoids paying debts.
a loafer; sponger.
being a parent who neglects parental responsibilities, especially one who does not pay child support: deadbeat dads.
Horology. noting any of various escapements acting without recoil of the locking parts from the shock of contact.
Electricity. (of the indicator of an electric meter and the like) coming to a stop with little or no oscillation.

1760–70; dead + beat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
deadbeat (ˈdɛdˌbiːt)
1.  informal a lazy or socially undesirable person
2.  chiefly (US)
 a.  a person who makes a habit of avoiding or evading his or her responsibilities or debts
 b.  (as modifier): a deadbeat dad
3.  a high grade escapement used in pendulum clocks
4.  (modifier) (of a clock escapement) having a beat without any recoil
5.  (modifier) physics
 a.  (of a system) returning to an equilibrium position with little or no oscillation
 b.  (of an instrument or indicator) indicating a true reading without oscillation

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"worthless sponging idler," 1877, Amer.Eng. slang, from dead + beat; earlier used colloquially to mean "completely beaten" (1821).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Deadbeat dads breathe easy, its only science at work.
For every deadbeat borrower, there is an equal and opposite imprudent and usurious creditor.
Gwen's story starts with a deadbeat dad who walks out on the family, leaving her single mom struggling to get by.
Old boyfriends called her rage prone, co-workers called her snotty, landlords called her a deadbeat.
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