One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Yeoman Warder or Yeoman of the Guard in the Tower of London.
- ‘Of course they have their counterpart on the other side of the argument: the florid-faced, overweight beefeater astride his long-suffering mount, pompously blustering his right to do whatever he jolly well pleases.’
- ‘A parade of the Tower's famous beefeaters, members of the Royal British Legion and their support team accompanied Mr Abrutat as he cycled to his starting point cheered by crowds of tourists.’
- ‘The first female Beefeater has made history by officially going on duty at the Tower of London.’
- ‘I think it's safe to say that neither of them is quite ready for lunch at the palace yet, unless the Queen puts plenty of paper down and has a battalion of beefeaters on hand to hose them down afterwards.’
- ‘The cockney beefeaters told the same gory tales of beheading at Tower Hill.’
Early 17th century (originally a derogatory term for a well-fed servant): the current sense dates from the late 17th century.
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