Four beef steaks on a cutting board.
- The definition of beef is the flesh of a cow, bull or steer.
Hamburgers and steaks are each an example of beef.
nounpl. beeves, beefs
- a full-grown ox, cow, bull, or steer, esp. one bred and fattened for meat
- meat from such an animal; specif., a whole dressed carcass
- such animals collectively
- ☆ Informal
- human flesh or muscle
- strength; brawn
- ☆ Slang a complaint
Origin of beefMiddle English ; from Old French boef ; from Classical Latin bos (gen. bovis), ox (apparently an Oscan-Umbrian cognate form, replacing Classical Latin an unverified form vos) ; from Indo-European an unverified form gwōus ; from base an unverified form gwou-: see cow
nounpl. beeves beeves or beef
- a. A full-grown steer, bull, ox, or cow, especially one intended for use as meat.b. The flesh of a slaughtered full-grown steer, bull, ox, or cow.
- Informal Human muscle; brawn.
- pl. beefs beefs Slang A complaint.
intransitive verbbeefed, beef·ing, beefs beefs Slang
Origin of beefMiddle English, from Old French buef, from Latin bōs, bov-; see gwou- in Indo-European roots. Word History: As has often been remarked, the great social disparities of medieval European society are revealed by the Modern English words for different sorts of meat. In medieval England, meats like beef, pork, veal, and mutton were presumably more often eaten by the educated and wealthy classes—most of whom could speak French or at least admired French culture—and the Modern English terms for these meats are uniformly of French origin. (The French sources of the English words are now spelled bœuf, porc, veau, and mouton, and the French words can refer both to the animal and to the meat it provides.) The English-speaking peasants who actually raised the animals—and who presumably subsisted on mostly vegetarian fare—continued to use the original Germanic words ox, swine, calf, and sheep when talking in the barnyard, and so the animals themselves have kept their native names to this day. One such Germanic word is actually related etymologically to its French counterpart. Cow comes from Old English cū, which is descended from the Indo-European root *gwou–, “cow.” This root has descendants in most of the branches of the Indo-European language family. Among those descendants is the Latin word bōs, “cow,” whose stem form, bov-, eventually became the Old French word buef, the source of English beef.
(plural beef or beefs or beeves)
- (uncountable) The meat from a cow, bull or other bovines.
- I love eating beef.
- (in the meat industry, on product packaging) The edible portions of a cow (including those which are not meat).
- lean finely textured beef
- boneless lean beef trimmings
- (uncountable) Bovine animals.
- (archaic, countable, plural: beef or beeves) A single bovine (cow or bull) being raised for its meat.
- Do you want to raise beeves?
- (slang, countable or uncountable, plural: beefs) a grudge (+ with)
- He has a beef with anyone who tells him otherwise.
- He has beef with anyone who tells him otherwise.
- (slang, uncountable) muscle, size, strength
- Put some beef into it! We've got to get the car over the bump.
- We've got to get some beef into the enforcement provisions of that law.
- (slang, uncountable) essence, content
- The beef of his paper was a long rant about government.
(third-person singular simple present beefs, present participle beefing, simple past and past participle beefed)
- (intransitive) To complain.
- To add weight or strength to, usually as beef up.
- Since you stopped running, you are really beefing out.
- (intransitive, slang) To fart.
- Ugh, who just beefed in here?
- (intransitive, slang) To feud.
- Those two are beefing right now - best you stay out of it for now.
- (intransitive, chiefly Yorkshire) To cry
- David was beefing last night after Ruth told him off