I. noun 1. [ mass noun] — the flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food. • there was the smell of roast beef.
• [as modifier]
2. ( pl. beeves also beefs) [ count noun] —
[Farming] a cow, bull, or ox fattened for its meat.
• a beef sent to the abattoir.
3. [ mass noun] —
‹informal› flesh with well-developed muscle
• he needs a little more beef on his bones.
4. strength or power • he was brought in to give the team more beef.
5. the substance of a matter • it’s more a sketch than a policy— where’s the beef?
6. ( pl. beefs) —
‹informal› a complaint or grievance
• he has a beef with education: it doesn’t teach the basics of investing.
‹informal› a criminal charge
• getting caught with pot in the sixties was a narco beef.
II. verb [no obj.] —
• he was beefing about how the recession was killing the business.
III. phrasal verbs beef something up give more substance or strength to something • cost-cutting measures are planned to beef up performance.
– origin Middle English: from Old French boef, from Latin bos, bov- ‘ox’.