Definition: Beef

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English beef, bef, beof, borrowed from Anglo-Norman beof, Old French buef, boef (“ox”) (modern French bœuf); from Latin bōs (“ox”), from Proto-Italic *gʷōs, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws. Doublet of cow.


beef (countable and uncountable, plural beef or beefs or beeves)

  1. (uncountable) The meat from a cow, bull or other bovine.
    I hate eating beef.
  2. (archaic) A generic term for a cow or bull (plural beeves).
    Do you want to raise beeves?
  3. (slang, countable) a grudge, complaint, or disagreement
    He has a beef with anyone who tells him otherwise.

Derived terms

  • beef jerky
  • beefsteak
  • bully beef
  • corned beef
  • ground beef
  • roast beef
  • smoked beef


beef (third-person singular, simple present "beefs", present participle "beefing," simple past and past participle "beefed")

  1. (intransitive, slang) To complain.
    • I gathered from his manner that he had not come to beef about his sleeping accommodation.
  2. (transitive, slang) To add weight or strength to.
    Synonym: beef up
  3. (intransitive, slang) To feud or hold a grudge against.
    Those two are beefing right now – best you stay out of it for now.

Derived terms

  • beef up
  • beef out


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