Green’s Dictionary of Slang

beef v.1

[cry (hot) beef under hot beef! excl.]

1. to raise a hue and cry.

[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 226: beef: stop thief! to beef a person, is to raise a hue and cry after him, in order to get him stopped.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]Metropolitan Mag. XIV Sept. 334: Beefing, however, they were lustily; when, at the turning of the road, I was brought down by a roller with a stroke of his long chiv over my head.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 5: Beef, to alarm, to discover, to pursue.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 33/1: I thought Jack was going to get ‘pinched,’ and he would have been, too, for she ‘beefed’ terribly.

2. to raise an alarm (other than over a crime).

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 81/2: ‘Si thee, whip thau frightened ’ead out o’ t’ duer an’ thau ’ll ’eer t’ coppers beefin’ an’ running tu t’ fire.’ I did so, and plainly heard the cry of fire! fire! fire!

3. (orig. theatre) to shout.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 18/1: And amid all, poor Ikey Rowe ‘beefing’ for assistance, while Taunton Call was laying into him with a stone wrapped in a handkerchief.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Nov. 44/2: ‘Boys, it’s my shout! All up to the bar.’ / Some of them never turned their heads. ‘I got the stuff,’ I beefed, wavin’ my fifty.
[Aus]Queenslander (Brisbane) 2 July 4/4: Into the courtroom through a heavy gate / I went. And on the Bench old Bleareyes sate. / A ‘Jack’ steps up and says his piece, / And then His Nibs beefs out my fate.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Broken Melody’ in Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] ‘Stow it!’ I beefed at him. ‘I’m Dan Turner, private dick!’.
[UK]R. McGregor-Hastie Compleat Migrant 105: Beef it out: to shout.

4. to complain.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 139/1: With the intention of finding out whether he was likely to ‘beef’ or not, Tom asked his sister Til how much his ‘poke’ was ‘up to’.
[US]N.Y. World 13 May in Farmer Americanisms (1889) 290: He’ll beef an’ kick like a steer an’ let on he won’t never wear ’em.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 9: Everybody [...] beefin’ about the way the hands was runnin’.
[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 207: I don’t like to Beef [...] but I feel like the Farm Hand from Muscatine.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 316: Is he still beefin’?
[US]M. Glass Potash And Perlmutter 209: Always you’re beefing about something happening what ain’t going to happen.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 53: Course I wouldn’t beef about it to the fellows at the Roughnecks’ Table.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Breach of Promise’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 27: My friend [...] is beefing no little about the way his fenders are bent.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 577: Let’s can the beefing and get going!
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 15: The mark beefed, but the fix was secure.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 88: He was always beefing how he couldn’t clear anything, he had to put out so much for hotel rooms.
[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 55: He just come in to gape at the chippies and beef about the cooking.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 65: So quit beefin’, man. You must be gittin’ scared or somethin’.
[US]Billy Conn in Heller In This Corner (1974) 223: I hit Pastor in the balls so he started beefing.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 3 July 10: The Irish are hard to beat and boy, how can they beef! ...
[US]Eminem ‘Kill You’ [lyrics] Bitch I’ma kill you! You ain’t got the balls to beef / We ain’t gon’ never stop beefin I don’t squash the beef.

5. (US) to bully.

[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 119: Boys Village is [...] filled with D.C. niggers who like to beef with Baltimore boys.

6. (US tramp) to give someone away, to betray to the authorities; to own up; thus beefer, an informant, one who complains to the authorities.

[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 388: When a man denounces to the police a beggar who has accosted him in the street, the latter, in relating the experience [...] says that the ‘bloke beefed’ on him (gave him away).
[US]S.F. Call 2 Apr. 25/5: Victims of the rogues are called ‘suckers,’ unless they ‘squeal’ when they are called ‘beefers’.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 238: Wot d’yuh say now Kid? Gonna beef where it’s hid?
[US]Black Mask Aug. III 108: The fellows [...] only found an old house that’s no more like the place you beefed about than this is like a pickle factory.
[US]N. Klein ‘Hobo Lingo’ in AS I:12 650: Beefer—informer (to ‘beef’ is to inform).
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 25: Beef.—To complain or inform; to turn State’s or King’s evidence.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 25/2: Beef, v. [...] 3. To implicate accomplices through a confession of guilt; to inform upon.
[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 114: I don’t rat, amigo. I don’t beef.

7. (US) to argue.

[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 4: beef 1. vi. To make an unsuccessful bluff.
[US]Van Loan ‘Excess Baggage’ in Score by Innings (2004) 399: There was jawing in the clubhouse, crabbing on the bench and beefing on the field.
[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 13: I was going to have to beef with the kid that was on nights.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 490: He’d been beefing with Dinky over some short vials.
[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 86: Sometimes they beef and everything.
[US]G. Pelecanos Drama City 104: He wasn’t about beefing with no one.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 29: When these guys [...] beef with each other or with other crews they settle it fast.

8. (US) to talk loudly (esp. to no real purpose).

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 22: beef, v. To talk without saying anything.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 98: Aw, Crybaby [...] What yer beefin’ about, anyway?
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 32: I relieved him of about six hundred bucks. You might have thought it was a million, the way the sucker was beefing about making his getaway.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 167: We need you with us. And we ain’t beefing.
[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 220: Don’t beef it around.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 142: I am wondering why you keep beefing about the pay-off thing when I do not even dream of connecting you with it.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 25/2: Beef, v. [...] 4. To gossip.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 136: There stand a old broad in the courtroom you maybe done forgot all about, / starts to beefin’ to the judge, ‘I’ll bail him out.’.

9. (US) to waste time.

[US] ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 22: Beef, v. t. and i. To loaf; waste time.

10. (US) to blunder, to make a mistake.

[US] ‘College Words and Phrases’ DN II:i 22: Beef, v. To make a mistake.
[US]R. Bolwell ‘College Sl. Words and Phrases’ in DN IV:iii 231: beef, v. To make an error; to ‘bull.’ ‘He beefed his recitation.’.

11. to say, to declare.

[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Hitched’ in Songs of a Sentimental Bloke 78: An’ once I missed me turn; an’ Ginger Mick, / ’Oo’s my best-man, ’e ups an’ beefs it out.
[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Aug. 11/1: You stache your frame back to the P.A. and beef to the gang that the ‘Dark Eagle’ is in port.
[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 253: beef (v.): to say, to state. Ex., ‘He beefed to me that, etc.’.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 239: He done quite a lot of beefing about being the first man ever to use the chain.

12. (US prison) to charge with a crime.

[US]M. Braly False Starts 186: I was beefed under the section of rules and regs that ordered each inmate to wear a regulation haircut.

13. to make an official complaint against someone.

[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 169: We’ll be lucky if we don’t get beefed over that one.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 185: I was figurin he probably called in to beef me.

14. (orig. US black) to argue, to pick a fight (with someone).

[US]Source May 43: I would always be beefin’ with him.
[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 7/1: beefin’ – looking for trouble, spoiling for a fight; arguing: He’s been beefin’ ever since his cousin got shot.
[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] beef Definition: to have a problem with Example: Ho, get my extra clip, fo’ Im’a beef wit a nigga.
[UK]L. Theroux Call of the Weird (2006) 181: Feuding – ‘beefing’ as it’s called – was back, too. [...] the most prolific beefer of all was [...] 50 Cent. The inside sleeve of his latest album, The Massacre, contained coded death threats on rival artists.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 176: Time was, in his youth, him and his boys at Parkchester would have been beefing with those at the Farms. ‘Roadman Slang 4 Jun. [Internet] Beef - to be rude/hostile to someone.

15. (UK black/gang) to attack; to fight with.

[UK]Guardian 27 Mar. [Internet] When Lil Zac died, because he was related to ABM they joined up with Tulse Hill and that’s when ABM started to beef Brixton as well.
Section Boyz ‘Trapping Ain’t Dead’ [lyrics] Put your hand on my friend / Why you tryna beef me?
F. Stuart ‘Dispatches from the Rap Wars’ in [Internet] Every time they were in the car with me, they would give me different directions based on who they were beefing with that week.

In derivatives

beefer (n.)

1. (US) a whinger, a complainer.

Eve. Jrnl (Wilmington, DE) 1 June 4/3: McVey [...] taunted him for the way in which he kept filling and backing and repeated the charge that he was a ‘beefer’.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 63: Steve has been throwing keys at the wall for some time, and knows how to burn the beefers.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 201: beefer, a fault finder. ‘If I don’t quit such talk you’ll think I am a regular beefer.’.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 199: Beefer – One who whines. Sometimes an informer.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 124: He was no beefer, and when he blew his cush, he just laughed it off.
[US]New Yorker 12 Apr. 138: The Yanks [...] were an irreverent bunch and steady beefers about their lot [W&F].
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 28: They were clearly chronic ‘beefers’.
[US]‘Randy Everhard’ Tattoo of a Naked Lady 116: We use ’em [i.e. free tickets] to chill out beefers.

2. (US) a second-rate boxer.

[US]Pittsburgh Dly Post 7 Jan. 5/2: In nearly every occupation the capable workers has a nickname for the botcher [...] The physician who never cures [is] a quack; the cheap stevedore, a lumper; the looking-glass prize-fighter, a beefer.

3. (US tramp) an informer.

[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 392: BEEFER: one who ‘squeals’ on, or gives away, a tramp or criminal.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 301: Beefer – one who squeals on a fellow-tramp or criminal.
[US]N. Klein ‘Hobo Lingo’ in AS I:12 650: Beefer—informer (to ‘beef’ is to inform).
see sense 1.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 790: beefer —An informant or complainant.

In phrases

beef it (v.)

see separate entry.

beef (it) out (v.)

(Aus.) to call or sing; occas. to play, loudly and enthusiastically.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 23 Mar. 3/1: She [...] ‘beefed’ out to them ‘Who stole my hen?’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 101/1: On hearing this speech Joe muttered something that was rather derogatory to Mrs Dunn’s character, but his ‘moll’ didn’t like it and ‘beefed’ out: ‘What do you know about my old man?’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 July 4/4: The Bathurst Independent cries (or as one would say in the vulgar tongue, ‘beef out’) ‘Bathurst beef against the world’.
[US]‘Frederick Benton Williams’ (H.E. Hamblen) On Many Seas 168: One of the boys had stubbed his bare toe into a link of the chain-cable, and ‘beefed out like a stuck pig’.
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 13: BEEF OUT: to sing out.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Nov. 8/2: [picture caption of three ‘Beefeaters’ singing] The Beefeater chorus. How the term ‘Beefing it out’ originated.
[Aus]Aussie (France) 13 Apr. 8/2: During a concert at an Aussie Y.M.C.A. hut, an alleged piper was beefing out a weird collection of sounds that he somehow imagined to be music.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘A Woman’s Way’ in Chisholm (1951) 89: Then, glad with life, a thrush beefs out a song.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 10 Aug. 17/8: Then they starts beefing out, ‘Yes, we have no bananas’ .
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Coonardoo 246: You should ’ve heard him beef it out. We was singin’ and playing half the night sometimes.