Definition of beef in US English:

beef

noun

  • 1The flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food.

    • ‘Lodge staff served the meal, which consisted of roast chicken, roast beef, potato croquettes, yellow rice, mixed vegetables and mieliepap.’
    • ‘Guests may enjoy a special meal of roast sirloin beef served with mashed potatoes and green vegetable.’
    • ‘I would bake muffins on the bus in the early morning and roast beef in the afternoon.’
    • ‘Start the potatoes first, then make the green peppercorn sauce; keep it warm over low heat while you cook the beef.’
    • ‘My favourite food is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.’
    • ‘I have to say that the roast rib eye of beef in wholemeal bread was superb.’
    • ‘In a saucepan over medium heat, combine bacon, sausage and beef.’
    • ‘Although beef is still the meat most often consumed by adults in Quebec, consumption of red meat has decreased since 1971.’
    • ‘Jay had ordered roast beef sandwhiches in panini bread and iced chocolate for her and iced coffee for himself.’
    • ‘He warmed and ate some of the beef but didn't sleep.’
    • ‘Visitors can barbecue food ranging from beef, pork to potato and fish.’
    • ‘She wraps her finger in a clean paper towel, checks her steak and turns off the flame beneath the beef and vegetable flavored soup she's preparing for Sarah.’
    • ‘Tuck into steak, roast beef, venison and other red meat at least three times a week’
    • ‘Using a sharp knife, carve the beef into broad thin slices, holding the knife blade at a 45-degree angle to the top of the meat.’
    • ‘He dropped his stack of papers and envelopes onto the table, and took my plate to cut up the beef, cheese, and slice the bread thinner without a word.’
    • ‘Main courses included roast beef, lamb and pork from the carvery, steak and kidney pie, poached chicken with mushroom and asparagus sauce and vegetable lasagne.’
    • ‘Although beef is the store's primary product, fresh vegetables are also available.’
    • ‘Make meat the last thing you put in your shopping cart to ensure that the beef stays cold until you get home.’
    • ‘Cut small slits in your pork or beef roast before cooking and insert half cloves to season.’
    • ‘Explain that it is your mission, as a host and a cook, to take their experience of roast beef to a new level.’
    1. 1.1Farming A cow, bull, or ox fattened for its meat.
      • ‘We have a neighbor who raises grass fed beef and pastured poultry.’
      • ‘‘Get in those saddles and let's get these beeves movin’!’’
      • ‘Driving across expanses of the West today, one might ask, ‘Where's the beef?’’
      • ‘Forage beef thus encompasses at least half of the potential market.’
      • ‘Finishing beef on grass presents a unique challenge to this re-emerging enterprise.’
      cow, heifer, bull, bullock, calf, ox
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  • 2informal Flesh or muscle, typically when well developed.

    ‘he needs a little more beef on his bones’
    • ‘Geez, how about a Superman with some beef on his bones?’
    • ‘He's got a bit more beef on his bones now, but he's lost none of his cheerful, boyish looks.’
    • ‘Although this is typically a powerlifter's split, it is the quickest way to get some serious beef on your bones.’
    muscle, muscularity, brawn, bulk, heftiness, burliness, huskiness, physique
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    1. 2.1 Strength or power.
      ‘he's been brought in to give the team more beef’
      • ‘The tank size is OK, but you need more beef.’
      • ‘We definitely need more beef up front.’
      • ‘Yes, I know their defense looked good most of the season and Simon was good addition, I just feel they still need more beef up the middle and Wright is, I think, an active playmaker who can stuff the run.’
      power, brawn, brawniness, muscle, muscularity, burliness, sturdiness, robustness, toughness, hardiness, lustiness
      power, influence, dominance, ascendancy, supremacy
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  • 3informal A complaint or grievance.

    ‘he has a beef with American education: it doesn't teach the basics of investing’
    • ‘Here's another one of my beefs with judges - and this is the complaint that lawyers oftentimes get - that we file frivolous lawsuits.’
    • ‘They began taking their beefs to the media.’
    • ‘I didn't think she had a beef against anyone else in our crowd - most of Dana's friends stayed away from the group - so that meant she was coming to bug me some more.’
    • ‘As I write in the book, most people who write books or who are in television generally have some beef or some complaint they want to make.’
    • ‘When they concluded that the truth lied somewhere in between what they were both told, the decision was to bring the two crews together to squash the beef.’
    • ‘One of my biggest beefs with the station is how little students get back from it in return for how much of the station's funding is received from the students.’
    • ‘Address beefs and concerns directly, not behind peoples’ backs.’
    • ‘We would need to see the context of these memos to know what beefs Roberts might have had with the offending words.’
    • ‘Michael Hyman told the Chicago Sun Times, ‘We still have a beef… We will review our options.’’
    • ‘I was using my pension to illustrate that pension inequity was not across the board either and so maybe the beef should be with the NHS and other organisations for their shortcomings.’
    • ‘But, for what it's worth, I have no beefs with the current executives.’
    • ‘And one of their major beefs with us is having a closed meeting!’
    • ‘Warrington, essentially, your beefs with these films are length and boredom.’
    • ‘My beef is the lack of communication that often fosters false expectations in patients, who then blame the local doctors when things turn out worse than they hoped.’
    • ‘Or are they just using these tragic AIDS deaths to further their own cynical, and often juvenile, beefs with the Church?’
    • ‘I do not want beefs and gripes - I need genuine areas of difficulty which are causing work life imbalance.’
    • ‘My only beef is with the tone of the way it's been implemented - if you can call it a beef, I don't feel strongly enough about it to start an argument.’
    • ‘So several of the UK intellectuals' beefs with the US have been addressed in the days since the President's visit.’
    complaint, criticism, objection, protestation, cavil, quibble, grievance, grumble, moan, grumbling, carping
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  • 4US informal A criminal charge.

    ‘a drunk-driving beef’
    • ‘After checking police reports and court documents, the website said that if anything, he may have spent a day or so in jail for a drunk driving beef.’
    • ‘He was framed for political reasons during the last election and was sent up for a 21 years on a homicide beef.’
    • ‘He had busted him on a robbery beef involving a cellular phone.’
    charge, accusation, arraignment, citation, summons
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verb

[no object]informal
  • Complain.

    ‘he was beefing about how the recession was killing the business’
    • ‘As I tell my students when they beef about my tests: Life isn't multiple choice, True-False or an Essay question; more often than not it's short answer--and your grade is based on your understanding of the context of the question.’
    • ‘You were totally oblivious of the curious expressions of others as you beefed about this to the manager directly and loudly.’
    • ‘I can't remember what I was beefing about with regard to the internet. I did used to get wound up about stuff but I've got it off my chest already.’
    • ‘They beef about record-level deficits.’
    • ‘Because of that he still felt like beefing about something’
    protest, grumble, moan, whine, bleat, carp, cavil, lodge a complaint, make a complaint, make a fuss
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Phrasal Verbs

  • beef something up

    • Give more substance or strength to something.

      ‘cost-cutting measures are planned to beef up performance’
      • ‘The security, I think it is important that we recognize it and beef it up.’
      • ‘Mechanics have reinforced the car's chassis with extra steelwork and have beefed up the suspension to take extra load.’
      • ‘A circle of preschoolers listening to a story are beefing up their language abilities.’
      • ‘So far protests from campaigners have been muted, but security around the base has been beefed up with additional police patrols.’
      • ‘Hence the search for other PhDs and in the meantime, beefing up my training skills to that of a performance consultant.’
      • ‘Safety is on the forefront of everyone's minds, and the government is beefing up security everywhere.’
      • ‘Several malls have beefed up security in light of the present crime climate.’
      • ‘Besides having the public police drivers, Hall said he's aiming to improve public safety by beefing up on vehicle inspections and driver monitoring.’
      • ‘The cover is respectful but distinctive, retaining the mood of the original but beefing up the arrangement with a full, cinematic, sound.’
      • ‘We were writing regulations, we were beefing up legislation.’
      • ‘If your foreign policy results in swelling the ranks of your existing enemies, and creating whole new enemies, you had better start beefing up your defence.’
      • ‘These checkpoints were beefed up following a number of casualties, wounds and death to U.S. forces.’
      • ‘So those penalties will be beefed up substantially.’
      • ‘Additionally, doors, boots and hatches have been beefed up to provide solid operation.’
      • ‘We've got to have beefed up intelligence, including much stronger human intelligence.’
      • ‘We heard that they were beefing up security in anticipation of serious protests.’
      • ‘So they said, OK, if we're going to do it, we have to beef it up or something because it was a much milder version when we…’
      • ‘It is beefing up its capabilities in electronic investigation and cross-border operations.’
      • ‘We have tried to get players on loan, but there's no point in bringing them in just to beef the bench up.’
      • ‘He's tried to be tough on national defense, talking about beefing up our defenses at home, in terms of homeland security and abroad.’
      toughen up, strengthen, build up, reinforce, substantiate, consolidate, invigorate, improve, flesh out
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French boef, from Latin bos, bov- ‘ox’.

Pronunciation

beef

/bēf//bif/