Definition of rosbif in English:



humorous, informal
  • (originally among French-speakers) an English person.

    ‘as far as Paris is concerned, the rosbifs of England are slovenly, drunken, and inordinately fond of pets’
    • ‘Like many other clichés, that of the rosbif, the beef-fed Englishman with a fleshy face and high colour, contains more than a grain of truth.’
    • ‘It would signal the triumph of French civilisation over the despised rosbifs.’
    • ‘Les rosbifs know nothing about food.’
    • ‘How can they face themselves if the red-faced "rosbifs" win?’
    • ‘We were an international bunch: French, Belgians, Italians, Americans and me - the lone 'rosbif', as the French would say!’
    • ‘The French have long delighted in calling the English "rosbifs", due to our penchant for Sunday roasts.’
    • ‘We don't just defrost it out of ze packet for you steak-an'-chips Rosbifs, don't you know.’
    • ‘He then shrugged his shoulders, muttered something about 'les rosbifs', adjusted his beret and rode off on his bicyclette, slinging his string of onions over his stripey shirt as he disappeared up the Champs Elysee.’
    • ‘One man's drizzled is another man's bathed; a jus here is a sauce there; a Frenchman's entrecôte chasseur is a Rosbif's steak and mushrooms.’
    • ‘After months of poison pen letters, being called everything from a 'mad cow' to a 'rosbif', and having a barricade put up in front of my shop, the temptation is to run away like an overripe cheese.’
    • ‘She told me that we are called Rosbif in France.’
    • ‘Among the strategic priorities of French foreign policy, getting one up on the rosbifs is certainly prominent.’
    • ‘It is a side of Napoleon little recognised in the land of le rosbif.’
    • ‘If he is really annoyed with me, he calls me a "bloody rosbif", the worst insult he can come up with.’
    • ‘Heat up a hoary national stereotype, leaven with wit, sit back and watch "les rosbifs" simmer.’
    • ‘No doubt they will continue calling us les rosbifs because of our love of a Sunday roast.’
    • ‘He was a rosbif pink with embarrassment.’
    • ‘This is to coincide with the decision to publish her book on how to boil eggs in French, presumably in the forlorn hope that the good people of that country won't realise she's a "rosbif".’
    • ‘Tired of criticising les rosbifs as backward and bellicose, they are marvelling at Britain's economic robustness.’
    • ‘At one point les rosbifs taught their hosts cricket, a bit later it was ping pong, by the end I had got my guitar out.’


Early 19th century: French, literally ‘roast beef’.