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See also: Beefeater


two beefeaters (Buphagus africanus) on a zebra (sense 1)


beef +‎ eater


beefeater (plural beefeaters)

  1. An African bird of the genus Buphagus, which feeds on the larvae of botflies hatched under the skin of oxen, antelopes, etc.
  2. (obsolete) One who eats beef; a large, plump person; a well-fed servant.
    • 1676 (Licensed). William Wycherley, The Plain Dealer (play); reprinted in: 1981. Holland, Peter (ed.), The Plays of William Wycherley, London: Cambridge University Press, Plays by Renaissance and Restoration Dramatiats series. I.i.342-351, p. 366.
      [H]ere you see a bishop bowing low to a gaudy atheist, a judge to a doorkeeper, a great lord to a fishmonger or a scrivener with a jack-chain about his neck, a lawyer to a sergeant-at-arms, a velvet physician to a threadbare chemist and a supple gentleman usher to a surely beefeater, and so tread round in a preposterous huddle of ceremony to each other whilst they can hardly hold their solemn false countenances.
  3. Alternative letter-case form of Beefeater
    • 1981 August 3, Marie Brenner, “The Wedding of the Century”, in New York Magazine, page 30:
      It was assumed that the queen, as was her custom, would take the middle path, where the crowd was densest. No velvet rope was needed to contain it. No beefeaters needed pikes to hold the unruly back. Brixton aside, the rule of civility in England still holds.
  4. (historical) A kind of hat worn by women resembling the headwear of a Beefeater (Yeoman Warder).




beefeater m (plural beefeaters)

  1. Beefeater