Laura's ex-husband is a dead beat dad...

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #752 [color=blue]“Death and Dying (1)”, question 10

Laura’s ex-husband is a dead dad. He refuses to pay child support. He’s lazy and doesn’t care about his kids at all.

(a) bolt
(b) head
© beat
(d) lock

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #752 [color=blue]“Death and Dying (1)”, answer 10

Laura’s ex-husband is a dead beat dad. He refuses to pay child support. He’s lazy and doesn’t care about his kids at all.

Correct answer: © beat
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My Collins Cobuild Dictionary has such definition of dead beat: “If you are dead-beat, you are very tired and have no energy left.”
I understand the meaning of this word in this question is: “lazy person who doesn’t care.
Is my assumption wright? If so, could you please give a few more example of usage this word.
Thank you in advance!

Usually it applies to a person who reneges on his/her (finantial) obligations, does not do what is expected of him.
A dead beat dad, or just a dead-beat is a dad who fails to pay child support. It’s a very common way to refer to a no-good dad.
.
Example: his dad is a dead-beat. :slight_smile:
.
Also, if you’re beat, then you’re tired.

The two definitions mentioned are two separate uses of the word.

In the UK, the most common use for ‘dead-beat’ is tired.
“I’m not coming out tonight. I’ve had a hard day in work and I’m dead-beat.”

It is more common for ‘dead-beat’ to be applied someone who does not live up to their obligations in the US.

Just a note:
In American English, deadbeat is correctly written as a single word, both as a noun and as an adjective, if you mean something similar to “a person who makes a habit of avoiding or evading his or her responsibilities or debts”, which is the intended meaning in the test question. You generally would never spell it as two words unless there were some very special reason for doing so, such as trying to achieve some kind of play on words perhaps.

onelook.com/?w=deadbeat&ls=a
Even the Urban Dictionary gets the spelling right. :wink:
urbandictionary.com/define.p … beat%20dad!

If you separate the words (i.e. dead beat), that changes the meaning to something similar to “extremely tired”, just as Beeesneees mentioned. People often also say things such as “I’m dead tired.”
onelook.com/?w=dead+beat&ls=a

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[size=75]“If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.” ~ George Carlin[/size]

Most of us here would write ‘dead beat’ as two words without a hyphen as also dead easy dead hungry dead stupid and so on and so on. I have a feeling that ‘deadbeat’ as a wastrel is also one word. Also ‘deadbeat’ as an adjective in a similar vein.