Where's the beef?


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Where's the beef?

1. What is the problem? This meaning uses "beef" in the sense of a conflict, complaint, grudge, feud, etc. So, he borrowed your sweater and then he returned it. Where's the beef?
2. Where is the substance or the important part (of something)? This usage originated with a popular catchphrase introduced in a 1984 commercial for the Wendy's fast food chain in which a woman humorously questioned the purported lack of meat in competitors' hamburgers. The phrase was further popularized that year when US presidential candidate Walter Mondale used it to question the substance of the policy proposals of his primary opponent, Gary Hart. The writing is good, but where's the beef? You need evidence to back up your claims. The program looks good on paper, but how do we know it will really work? Has any research been done? Where's the beef?

Where's the beef?

Inf. Where is the substance?; Where is the important content? That's really clever and appealing, but where's the beef? Where's the beef? There's no substance in this proposal.

where's the beef?

1. Also, what's the beef? What is the source of a complaint, as in Where's the beef? No one was hurt in the accident. This usage employs beef in the sense of a "complaint" or "grudge," also appearing in the phrase have no beef with, meaning "have no quarrel with." [Slang; late 1800s]
2. Where is the content or substance, as in That was a very articulate speech, but where's the beef? This usage was originally the slogan for a television commercial for a hamburger chain attacking the poor quality of rival chains. (1984) The phrase was almost immediately transferred to other kinds of substance, especially in politics.

where's the beef?

used to complain that something is too insubstantial. informal
References in periodicals archive ?
I understand parks are closed, some employees are not getting paid, congressmen and women are fussing and stewing and, yes, it is a dark time in American history, but where's the beef?
But Mr Cameron still faces a critical question - where's the beef?
As a former American presidential candidate once asked: Where's the beef?
In the words of the American political killer-question: Where's the beef?