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beef

Line breaks: beef
Pronunciation: /biːf
 
/

Definition of beef in English:

noun

1 [mass noun] The flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food: there was the smell of roast beef [as modifier]: beef cattle
More example sentences
  • Tuck into steak, roast beef, venison and other red meat at least three times a week
  • I have to say that the roast rib eye of beef in wholemeal bread was superb.
  • Visitors can barbecue food ranging from beef, pork to potato and fish.
1.1 [count noun] (plural beeves /biːvz/ or US also beefs) Farming A cow, bull, or ox fattened for its meat: a beef sent to the abattoir
More example sentences
  • ‘Get in those saddles and let's get these beeves movin’!’
  • Forage beef thus encompasses at least half of the potential market.
  • We have a neighbor who raises grass fed beef and pastured poultry.
2 [mass noun] informal Flesh with well-developed muscle: he needs a little more beef on his bones
More example sentences
  • Although this is typically a powerlifter's split, it is the quickest way to get some serious beef on your bones.
  • He's got a bit more beef on his bones now, but he's lost none of his cheerful, boyish looks.
  • Geez, how about a Superman with some beef on his bones?
Synonyms
2.1Strength or power: he was brought in to give the team more beef
More example sentences
  • We definitely need more beef up front.
  • The tank size is OK, but you need more beef.
  • Yes, I know their defense looked good most of the season and Simon was good addition, I just feel they still need more beef up the middle and Wright is, I think, an active playmaker who can stuff the run.
2.2The substance of a matter: it’s more a sketch than a policywhere’s the beef?
More example sentences
  • It may well be the sound of the suburbs, drawing on a cacophony of influences born out of a misspent youth, but to paraphrase that great 80s catchphrase, where's the beef?
  • Elgin Dairy Foods, Chicago, beefs up its Research and Development team to support the company's line of 140 formulations and to support the imminent introduction of seven new products in the next year.
  • But the service territories would not overlap, and since they're mainly looking toward bundled services where's the beef.
3 (plural beefs) informal A complaint or grievance: he has a beef with education: it doesn’t teach the basics of investing
More example sentences
  • Here's another one of my beefs with judges - and this is the complaint that lawyers oftentimes get - that we file frivolous lawsuits.
  • I do not want beefs and gripes - I need genuine areas of difficulty which are causing work life imbalance.
  • They began taking their beefs to the media.
Synonyms
4US informal A criminal charge: getting caught with pot in the sixties was a narco beef
More example sentences
  • After checking police reports and court documents, the website said that if anything, he may have spent a day or so in jail for a drunk driving beef.
  • He was framed for political reasons during the last election and was sent up for a 21 years on a homicide beef.
  • He had busted him on a robbery beef involving a cellular phone.

verb

informal Back to top  
[no object] Complain: he was beefing about how the recession was killing the business
More example sentences
  • Because of that he still felt like beefing about something
  • As I tell my students when they beef about my tests: Life isn't multiple choice, True-False or an Essay question; more often than not it's short answer--and your grade is based on your understanding of the context of the question.
  • They beef about record-level deficits.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French boef, from Latin bos, bov- 'ox'.

More
  • We often find that after the Norman Conquest people used French words for an animal's meat and the English word for the animal itself. Beef is from French, and cow and ox are native English words, whereas bull was adopted from Scandinavian. Beef, meaning ‘a complaint’ or ‘to complain’, was originally American, from the mid 19th century. The first person to write of the kind of beef possessed by a muscular man was American writer Herman Melville ( 1819–91), author of Moby-Dick. The British are so well known for eating beef that a French insult for an Englishman is un rosbif (‘a roast beef’). In English too, beefeater (early 17th century) was originally a term of contempt for a well-fed domestic servant. Now a Beefeater is a Yeoman Warder or Yeoman of the Guard at the Tower of London, a nickname first used in 1671.

Phrasal verbs

beef something up

1
Give more substance or strength to something: cost-cutting measures are planned to beef up performance
More example sentences
  • So those penalties will be beefed up substantially.
  • These checkpoints were beefed up following a number of casualties, wounds and death to U.S. forces.
  • So far protests from campaigners have been muted, but security around the base has been beefed up with additional police patrols.
Synonyms
toughen up, strengthen, build up, reinforce, substantiate, consolidate, invigorate, improve, flesh out

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