Recently my sister got caught between our cousin and his ex. This led to my cousin’s ex saying “Now my beef is with her!”
My cousin’s ex said this to me because my sister had blocked her on Facebook. My reply was “I feel sorry for you; the world must be a very dark place where you are.”
Anyway this led to a more constructive debate between me and my sister on the virtues of slang.
She thinks slang is silly; I think slang is how a language grows and becomes richer.
For instance take the word “Beef”.
Originally beef had only one definition; as I like to call it function.
That was to signify a piece of meat from a cow. I think – though I’m not sure – it is only from a bull.
Have you ever seen one of those prize bulls? How muscular they are?
From the similarity in appearance between prize bulls and body-builders we got the terms “Beefy” and “Beef-cake” the function of which is to signify men with a very muscular physique.
Now wrestlers – you know the WWE kind – are all beef-cakes; at least the heavy-weights are.
Because wrestling is a combat sport beef came to have a 3rd and 4th function.
That is to signify the desire for a fight with someone or to signify that your relational status towards someone is one of enmity.
So a word that initially had one function now has four!
Don’t you see how this has enriched the English language? How it has given us possibilities for word-play such as puns.
Oh a very beautiful woman also pointed out another route via which beef could have come to have the 3rd and 4th meaning I mentioned.
“ “I’ve got beef with you” derives from the idea that you tenderize beef by hammering it repeatedly”