Tidbits gathered from BBC News:
Suffolk County Council formally elects Mark Bee leader.
"In April, Mr. Bee beat off competition from... "
Scotty McCreery wins American Idol.
"... beating off competition... "
Aussie woman, 89, beats off bandit with handbag.
"Used a handbag to beat off a knife-carrying... "
Is it possible the term "beating off" means something different in British than in American?
To put it another way, would you REALLY beat off three guys to save your girl?