While living in the USA, I have heard many people use the sentence “beats me” to mean “I don’t know”. Checking online, that’s seems a regular meaning:
slang A response when one does not know the answer to a question.
But most of the times I’ve heard the idiom, it seems to be in a negative context. Like with the meaning of “I don’t know, and I don’t care to find out because it’s unimportant or dumb”. In the Urban Dictionary, there’s a definition that implies this bad connotation, but it is mostly downvoted.
Does “beats me” have a bad connotation?