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Beeve Fri, Apr 23, 2010
Beef is defined not only as "the flesh of a slaughtered full-grown steer, bull, ox, or cow," but also as "a full-grown steer, bull, ox, or cow, especially one intended for use as meat."  In other words, it can refer to the meat as well as to the animal itself.  The plural of beef seems like it should be "beefs," but it's actually "beeves" because of that whole "plural of words that end with f" thing.  For whatever reason, you can also de-pluralize the plural, i.e. use the term "beeve" in reference to a single beef animal, which is what Michael Pollan did in The Omnivore's Dilemma, which struck me as odd.  But I guess since the term "beeve" can only really refer to the animal itself, it's a little more clear than referring to an animal as "a beef," which just sounds funny. #language