where's the beef?

Idioms & Phrases

where's the beef?

  1. Also, ? What is the source of a complaint, as in Where's the beef? No one was hurt in the accident. This usage employs beef in the sense of a "complaint" or "grudge," also appearing in the phrase have no beef with, meaning "have no quarrel with." [Slang; late 1800s]

  2. Where is the content or substance, as in That was a very articulate speech, but where's the beef? This usage was originally the slogan for a television commercial for a hamburger chain attacking the poor quality of rival chains. (1984) The phrase was almost immediately transferred to other kinds of substance, especially in politics.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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