\ ˈbēf How to pronounce beef (audio) \
plural beefs\ ˈbēfs How to pronounce beef (audio) \ or beeves\ ˈbēvz How to pronounce beef (audio) \

Definition of beef

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the flesh of an adult domestic bovine (such as a steer or cow) used as food
2a : 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
b : a dressed carcass of a beef animal
3 : muscular flesh : brawn
4 plural beefs : complaint


beefed; beefing; beefs

Definition of beef (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: complain always beefing about something

Illustration of beef

Illustration of beef


beef 2b: 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

In the meaning defined above

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: Noun Portillo’s, the iconic Chicago restaurant known for its hot dogs, Polish sausages and Italian beef, has released a vegan Garden Dog at all locations across the country. Kayla Samoy, Chicago Tribune, 18 May 2022 Green’s own spice blend is a secret, flavoring the juice that comes from mixing roast chuck beef with hot sauce and soy sauce and wet noodles. Nathaniel Adams, Chron, 18 May 2022 Birria tacos are packed with beef braised with chiles and not a little cinnamon. Washington Post, 18 May 2022 That caramelized sear makes the tofu taste a little bit like a piece of prime beef, especially when bolstered by the miso butter. Leslie Kelly, Forbes, 17 May 2022 Instead of tutoring English, Yu’s employees had been reassigned to new jobs assisting him in peddling rice, apples, and beef. Yi-ling Liu, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 Replace the 6 eggs and ½-pound of sausage with 1 pound of lean ground beef. Robin Miller, USA TODAY, 16 May 2022 Imagine a Philly cheesesteak but with ground beef instead of steak, and swap the peppers for lettuce and tomato. Jenn Harriscolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2022 West and Drake’s beef even sizzled in the lead-up to their respective albums Donda and Certified Lover Boy. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 13 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Malyar, the deputy defense minister, said the Russians have continued to hit Mariupol with airstrikes and could be getting ready for an amphibious landing to beef up their ground forces. Adam Schreck And Mstyslav Chernov,, 17 Apr. 2022 The House committee added a few new items aimed at specific initiatives, including the following: $15 million for the Alabama Numeracy Act, which would beef up math instruction in early grades. al, 7 Mar. 2022 Biden officials have pointed to the emergence of the virus’s omicron variant as another reason to beef up requirements that people get vaccinated. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 The Irish also decided to beef up their support staff with more recruiting help. Tyler James, The Indianapolis Star, 17 Apr. 2021 That's because many employers are trying to beef up their benefits in a bid to attract and retain employees. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 17 Feb. 2022 The state is trying to beef up efforts to get people vaccinated after a slower-than-hoped initial rollout. Chronicle Staff,, 21 Jan. 2021 Food companies in particular blamed pandemic disruptions, inflation and strong consumer demand for higher prices, with pork and beef up 14% and 20%, respectively, versus a year ago. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 31 Mar. 2022 In the event of large migration numbers along the border, Customs and Border Protection is prepared to more than double their air and bus transportation capabilities and beef up CBP agents at surge points. Luke Barr, ABC News, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beef.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of beef


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1860, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for beef


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

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Time Traveler for beef

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near beef



beef's blood

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Statistics for beef

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Beef.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for beef


\ ˈbēf How to pronounce beef (audio) \
plural beefs\ ˈbēfs \ or beeves\ ˈbēvz \

Kids Definition of beef

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the meat of a steer, cow, or bull
2 : a steer, cow, or bull especially when fattened for food
3 plural beefs : complaint sense 2


beefed; beefing

Kids Definition of beef (Entry 2 of 2)

: complain He's always beefing about something.
beef up
: to add weight, strength, or power to The coach beefed up the team's defense.


\ ˈbēf How to pronounce beef (audio) \
plural beefs\ ˈbēfs How to pronounce beef (audio) \ or beeves\ ˈbēvz How to pronounce beef (audio) \

Medical Definition of beef

: the flesh of an adult domestic bovine (as a steer or cow) used as food

More from Merriam-Webster on beef

Nglish: Translation of beef for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beef for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about beef


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