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plural beefs ˈbēfs How to pronounce beef (audio) or beeves ˈbēvz How to pronounce beef (audio)
: the flesh of an adult domestic bovine (such as a steer or cow) used as food
: an ox, cow, or bull in a full-grown or nearly full-grown state
especially : a steer or cow fattened for food
quality Texas beeves
a herd of good beef
: a dressed carcass of a beef animal
: muscular flesh : brawn
plural beefs : complaint

Illustration of beef

Illustration of beef
  • A wholesale cuts
  • 1 shank
  • 2 round with rump and shank cut off
  • 3 rump
  • 4 sirloin
  • 5 short loin
  • 6 flank
  • 7 rib
  • 8 chuck
  • 9 plate
  • 10 brisket
  • 11 shank
  • B retail cuts
  • a heel pot roast
  • b round steak
  • c rump roast
  • d sirloin steak
  • e pinbone steak
  • f short ribs
  • g porterhouse
  • h T-bone
  • i club steak
  • j flank steak
  • k rib roast
  • l blade rib roast
  • m plate
  • n brisket
  • o crosscut shank
  • p arm pot roast
  • q boneless neck
  • r blade roast


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beefed; beefing; beefs

transitive verb

: to increase or add substance, strength, or power to
usually used with up
money to beef up its staff of professional economistsJohn Fischer

intransitive verb

: complain
always beefing about something

Examples of beef in a Sentence

Noun I'm not eating as much beef as I used to. My real beef is with the organization's president, not the group itself. Verb She's always beefing about something. he tends to stand around and beef for hours about any slight, real or imagined
Recent Examples on the Web
Last week’s episode had a lot going on: Nicole, Deena and Sammi had a stakeout in which Angelina and Jenni were forced to sit down at a restaurant and have a conversation about their beef. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, 14 Sep. 2023 Football fans who want a bite with Mexican influence can look to the new birria quesadilla ($25) stuffed with beef, pepperjack and Oaxaca cheeses, or the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos elote ($8). Eat Drink D-FW The latest food and drink reviews, recipes and info on the D-FW food scene. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 14 Sep. 2023 In April, the company announced a partnership with Conagra Brands to bring its cans of its hearty chili with beef and beans to grocery stores and online retailers. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 Also, get beef that’s not too lean, such as 80% lean versus 85% or 90%; the higher fat content will translate to a more unctuous ragú. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 13 Sep. 2023 While traditional kielbasa recipes often use only pork, a Maxwell Street Polish sausage usually contains a mix of pork and beef. Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Tribune, 12 Sep. 2023 More delicate proteins, such as fish and seafood, don’t require nearly as much time to marinate as tougher meats, such as beef or lamb. Aaron Hutcherson, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2023 Examples include hot dogs, sausages, corned beef and beef jerky. USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2023 Haggis is made of the liver, lungs, and heart of a sheep, beef or mutton suet, oatmeal, onion, and spices. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 5 Sep. 2023
These formidable chips have a bracing heat that can stand up to beef bulgogi or bibimbap. Men's Health, 8 Aug. 2023 This time around, entering the final year of his rookie deal, Cleveland has continued to add to the room by beefing it up with speed via trading for Elijah Moore and signing Marquise Goodwin. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 28 July 2023 An optional Driver Assistance Package beefs things up with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and more. Andrew Krok, Car and Driver, 5 July 2023 While some performers are getting pelted with objects thrown at them by audience members, country star Miranda Lambert is beefing with her fans for a different reason. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 18 July 2023 Earlier this year, when former NFL player and current free agent talking head Shannon Sharpe was beefing with Ja Morant’s father, LeBron took a second to support Sharpe in the press, letting everyone know that Shannon was his guy. Corbin Smith, Rolling Stone, 13 June 2023 This season’s trailer has hinted at some serious topics, though, from the family continuing to navigate the fallout of the Kimye divorce to Khloé’s ongoing tumultuous relationship with Tristan Thompson, and, yes, Kim and Kourtney beefing once again. James Grebey, Vulture, 26 May 2023 Music Meet Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma, the Mexican regional stars making history on the pop charts April 26, 2023 Álvarez may have continued his career as a brash playboy — dating a rotating cast of models and publicly beefing with other models — if not for the pandemic. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2023 Chipotle sues Sweetgreen for trademark infringement The rival food chains are beefing over similarities between their salad bowls. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 6 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beef.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French beof, bef ox, beef, from Latin bov-, bos head of cattle — more at cow


verbal derivative of beef entry 1

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1860, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of beef was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near beef

Cite this Entry

“Beef.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural beefs ˈbēfs How to pronounce beef (audio) or beeves ˈbēvz How to pronounce beef (audio)
: the flesh of a steer, cow, or bull
: a steer, cow, or bull especially when fattened for food
plural beefs : complaint sense 1


2 of 2 verb
: to add weight, strength, or power to
usually used with up
beef up the staff

Medical Definition


plural beefs ˈbēfs How to pronounce beef (audio) or beeves ˈbēvz How to pronounce beef (audio)
: the flesh of an adult domestic bovine (as a steer or cow) used as food

More from Merriam-Webster on beef

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