One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The action of idly tapping or drumming with the fingers, etc., upon a table or other object, in an irritating manner, or as a sign of vexation, impatience, or the like; frequently with the verb beat.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in John Kidgell (bap. 1722, d. c1780), Church of England clergyman and political writer.
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