Meaning: avoid the main topic, not speak directly about the issue
Grammar form: verb; to beat around the bush
Verb Forms: beat-beat-beating-beaten
Example 1: She beat around the bush for a while before telling her friends everything about the new guy she was dating.
Son: Mom, I borrowed your car last night to go meet some friends. While I was driving, I got a text and started to read it because I thought it might be urgent. Unfortunately, I was focused on my phone and didn't really pay attention to the road. Because I was multitasking while driving, something bad happened. I am sorry, I know it's my fault.
Mon: Oh, stop beating around the bush and tell me exactly what happened.
Son: I crashed your car into a tree!
The expression to beat around the bush is used when you are feeling nervous or scared to tell someone something right away or directly because you are worried or unsure about how they will react.
In Example 1, the girl is nervous about telling her friends about the new guy in her life. She clearly cares about what they think and she knows that her friends would be very curious about this new piece of information. She is just teasing her friends by not telling them instantly in order to build excitement and suspense.
On the other hand, in Example 2, the son is definitely not in as positive situation as the girl in example 1. Here, the boy has made a big mistake and is hesitating telling his mom about what he did. He knows that once his mom finds out about that happened, she won't be happy. That's why he is stalling giving direct information as much as possible, not out of excitement, but out of fear.