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beef

[beef] /bif/
noun, plural beeves
[beevz] /bivz/ (Show IPA),
for 2; beefs for 4.
1.
the flesh of a cow, steer, or bull raised and killed for its meat.
2.
an adult cow, steer, or bull raised for its meat.
3.
Informal.
  1. brawn; muscular strength.
  2. strength; power.
  3. weight, as of a person.
  4. human flesh.
4.
Slang.
  1. a complaint.
  2. an argument or dispute.
verb (used without object)
5.
Slang. to complain; grumble.
Verb phrases
6.
beef up,
  1. to add strength, numbers, force, etc., to; strengthen:
    During the riots, the nighttime patrol force was beefed up with volunteers.
  2. to increase or add to:
    to beef up our fringe benefits.
Origin of beef
1250-1300
1250-1300; 1885-90 for def 5; Middle English < Anglo-French beof, Old French boef < Latin bov- (stem of bōs) ox, cow; akin to cow1
Related forms
beefless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beef
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Saxe Gotha responded to the greeting with a puppy gambol, and devoured the beef with gusto.

  • A roast of beef meant a visit, in Dr. Ed's modest-paying clientele.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • What a delightful thing if the English would make other kinds of sausages as well as their beef and pork ones!

  • Falling in with an American in the Bay of Biscay, we got a barrel of beef which lasted us in.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Our mess had laid in a supply early in the morning: six chickens, a beef and a goose was our stock for eight men.

    An Artilleryman's Diary Jenkin Lloyd Jones
British Dictionary definitions for beef

beef

/biːf/
noun
1.
the flesh of various bovine animals, esp the cow, when killed for eating
2.
(pl) beeves (biːvz). an adult ox, bull, cow, etc, reared for its meat
3.
(informal) human flesh, esp when muscular
4.
(pl) beefs. a complaint
verb
5.
(intransitive) (slang) to complain, esp repeatedly: he was beefing about his tax
6.
(informal) (transitive) often foll by up. to strengthen; reinforce
Word Origin
C13: from Old French boef, from Latin bōs ox; see cow1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beef
n.

c.1300, from Old French buef "ox; beef; ox hide" (11c., Modern French boeuf), from Latin bovem (nominative bos, genitive bovis) "ox, cow," from PIE root *gwou- "cow, ox, bull" (see cow (n.)). Original plural was beeves.

v.

"to complain," slang, 1888, American English, from noun meaning "complaint" (1880s). The noun meaning "argument" is recorded from 1930s. The origin and signification are unclear; perhaps it traces to the common late 19c. complaint of U.S. soldiers about the quantity or quality of beef rations.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for beef

beef

noun

  1. A complaint; grievance: Her mother called up to register a beef (1890s+)
  2. A criminal charge or indictment: ''What was your beef, Jim?'' ''Robbery'' (1910+ Underworld)
  3. A quarrel; argument: I've got no beef with you, buddy (1930s+)
  4. A customer's bill or check; bad news, the DAMAGE (1930s+)
  5. Muscle; strength; huskiness (mid-1800s+)
  6. Bulkiness; fleshiness; mass: The old chorus girls had lots of beef, not like now (mid-1800s+)
  7. The penis (1890+)

verb

  1. : The hospital beefed when the city announced plans (1880s+)
  2. To quarrel: We started beefing with each other (1930s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with beef

beef

In addition to the idiom beginning with beef also see: where's the beef
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Word Value for beef

9
10
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