[ beef-ee-ter ]
/ ˈbifˌi tər /


a yeoman of the English royal guard or a warder of the Tower of London.
Informal. an Englishman.
a person who eats beef.

Nearby words

  1. beef wellington,
  2. beef-up,
  3. beefalo,
  4. beefburger,
  5. beefcake,
  6. beefeaters,
  7. beefed-up,
  8. beefmaster,
  9. beefsteak,
  10. beefsteak begonia

Origin of beefeater

First recorded in 1600–10; beef + eater Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beefeater

  • So they would have stood forever, if the Beefeater hadn't come in and commanded them, in the queen's name, to drop their weapons.

    The Librarian at Play|Edmund Lester Pearson
  • The beefeater before the door of the Lady Mary's lodgings spat upon the ground when he had passed.

    The Fifth Queen|Ford Madox Ford

British Dictionary definitions for beefeater


/ (ˈbiːfˌiːtə) /


a nickname often applied to the Yeomen of the Guard and the Yeomen Warders at the Tower of London
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

Word Origin and History for beefeater



"warder of the Tower of London," 1670s, a contemptuous reference to well-fed servants of the royal household; the notion is of "one who eats another's beef" (cf. Old English hlaf-æta "servant," literally "loaf-eater").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper