idioms: search me, beats me, beats the hell out of me


Today I have three idioms that mean the same thing: “search me”, “beats me” and “beats the hell out of me”. They all mean, “I don’t know”. For example:

A: What is the capital of Finland?

B: Search me. Why don’t you look it up on the Internet?


A: Do you know where the Carlton Bookstore is?

B: Beats me. I’m just a tourist in this city.


A: Where did Trevor go?

B: Beats the hell out of me. He never tells me anything.

All three expressions are used in casual situations. However, the expression “beats me” sounds a little more casual than “search me”, and “beats the hell out of me” is the most casual. It would usually only be used with friends. The word “hell” makes it a bit rude, but it’s not extremely offensive.

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