[ beef ]
/ bif /

noun, plural beeves [beevz] /bivz/ for 2; beefs for 4.

the flesh of a cow, steer, or bull raised and killed for its meat.
an adult cow, steer, or bull raised for its meat.
  1. brawn; muscular strength.
  2. strength; power.
  3. weight, as of a person.
  4. human flesh.
  1. a complaint.
  2. an argument or dispute.

verb (used without object)

Slang. to complain; grumble.

Verb Phrases

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; 1885–90 for def 5; Middle English < Anglo-French beof, Old French boef < Latin bov- (stem of bōs) ox, cow; akin to cow1


beef·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for beef

British Dictionary definitions for beef

/ (biːf) /


the flesh of various bovine animals, esp the cow, when killed for eating
plural beeves (biːvz) an adult ox, bull, cow, etc, reared for its meat
informal human flesh, esp when muscular
plural beefs a complaint


(intr) slang to complain, esp repeatedlyhe was beefing about his tax
(tr often foll by up) informal to strengthen; reinforce

Word Origin for beef

C13: from Old French boef, from Latin bōs ox; see cow 1
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

Idioms and Phrases with beef


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.