beef /biːf/


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]
beef cattle.
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.]
‹informal› complain

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’.

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