from The Century Dictionary.

  • Making successive movements with intervals of rest and no recoil; free from oscillatory movement.
  • noun A dead-beat escapement.
  • noun See dead beat , under beat, n.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • Low, U.S. a loafer, sponger, or swindler; especially, one who does not pay his debts. Same as beat, n., 7.
  • adjective (Physics) Making a beat without recoil; giving indications by a single beat or excursion; -- said of galvanometers and other instruments in which the needle or index moves to the extent of its deflection and stops with little or no further oscillation.
  • adjective See under Escapement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a lazy person
  • noun a person who defaults on his debts
  • adjective of an instrument having a damped needle that stops without oscillation
  • adjective defaulting on one's debts
  • adjective defeated or exhausted

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone who fails to meet a financial obligation


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • I've known about the term deadbeat dad for four years; it's nice to know that someone else in the Cayman Islands is reading about the laws in other countries.

    Cayman Net News Daily Headlines 2009

  • From where I sit, a deadbeat is a deadbeat, regardless of color or education.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Looks Like Now We Need a Commercial Financial Protection Agency: 2010

  • And again, we know now in the United States people are really -- governments are really cracking down on what they call deadbeat dad.

    CNN Transcript Jul 25, 2008 2008

  • "First I take offence to the use of the term deadbeat, yes there are those which believe that society owes them a living, but, there are also those who truely are down on their luck right now, while we send billions to foreign countrys to feed, house and educate their children we cant make sure our own have the same privilages.

    unknown title 2009

  • "What frustrates me is that the word deadbeat Dad is so dismissive," he explains, when asked what he wants others to know.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed 2009

  • “Well, Star’s father would be what we call a deadbeat dad and yes, what he’s done is against the law,” she replied.

    Star V. C. Andrews 1999

  • “Well, Star’s father would be what we call a deadbeat dad and yes, what he’s done is against the law,” she replied.

    Star V. C. Andrews 1999

  • It is not wise to allow the "deadbeat" -- the remittance man, the gaunt shepherd with his starving flocks and herds, the free selector on an arid patch, the drink shanty where the rouseabouts and shearers knock down their cheques, the race meeting where high and low, rich and poor, are filled with the gambler's ill luck -- fill the foreground of the picture of Australian life.

    An Autobiography Catherine Helen Spence 1867

  • There's a phenomenon in the US of asshole males that we call deadbeat dads.

    The Human Cost of China Investment Michael Turton 2009

  • This would have continued suspension of disbelief in two ways. 1) the daughter would have recognized him at the train station from old photographs or something 2) It would have made better sense that they had a connection later in the movie, rather than Shia Lebouf just being cool with finding out the man he knew as his father for years and years just wasn't, and now this old deadbeat is calling him "son."

    If I had written...Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wendigomountain 2008


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