beef-up

[ beef-uhp ]
/ ˈbifˌʌp /

noun

an act or instance of strengthening or reinforcing.

Origin of beef-up

noun use of verb phrase beef up

Definition for beef up (2 of 2)

beef

[ 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.
Informal.
  1. brawn; muscular strength.
  2. strength; power.
  3. weight, as of a person.
  4. human flesh.
Slang.
  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
Related formsbeef·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for beef up

beef

/ (biːf) /

noun

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

verb

(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 up (1 of 2)

beef up


Strengthen, reinforce, as in Mary wants us to beef up her part in the play. This phrase relies on an older slang sense of beef as “muscles” or “power.” [Colloquial; late 1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with beef up (2 of 2)

beef


In addition to the idiom beginning with beef

  • beef up

also see:

  • where's the beef
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.