"to complain," slang, 1888, American English, from noun meaning "complaint" (1880s). The noun meaning "argument" is recorded from 1930s. The origin and signification of these are unclear; perhaps they trace to the common late 19c. complaint of soldiers about the quantity or quality of beef rations.
c. 1300, "an ox, bull, or cow," also the flesh of one when killed, used as food, from Old French buef "ox; beef; ox hide" (11c., Modern French boeuf), from Latin bovem (nominative bos, genitive bovis) "ox, cow," from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow." The original plural in the animal sense was beeves.
"add strength," 1941, from college slang, from beef (n.) in slang sense of "muscle-power" (1851).
original plural of beef (n.) in the animal sense (compare boevz, plural of Old French buef), now only in restricted use.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "ox, bull, cow," perhaps ultimately imitative of lowing; compare Sumerian gu, Chinese ngu, ngo "ox."
It forms all or part of: beef; Boeotian; Bosphorus; boustrophedon; bovine; bugle; Bucephalus; bucolic; buffalo; bugloss; bulimia; butane; butter; butyl; butyric; cow (n.); cowbell; cowboy; cowlick; cowslip; Euboea; Gurkha; hecatomb; kine.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit gaus, Greek bous, Latin bos, Old Irish bo, Latvian guovs, Armenian gaus, Old English cu, German Kuh, Old Norse kyr, Slovak hovado "cow, ox."
In Germanic and Celtic, of females only; in most other languages, of either gender. For "cow" Latin uses bos femina or vacca, a separate word of unknown origin. Other "cow" words sometimes are from roots meaning "horn, horned," such as Lithuanian karvė, Old Church Slavonic krava.
type of fine beef, 1894, named for the region in Japan where it is raised, from Japanese ko "god" + he "house."