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Let me add a curve ball to this discussion. From an USA perspective, Native Americans (Indians or Aboriginals... I don't know which terms is politically correct) spoke their mother tongue and English but in Nouvelle France (i.e now Québec), Natives learned French. Nouvelle France is older than the former colonies of what is now the United States of America.

Now this is the interesting part:

Boeuf is French for Beef (a male cow). Now Beef comes the French word boeuf. In French, naming the food after the animal is common, in English the animal and food often have different words.

Buffle is a buffalo

Bison is the same in english

Bifteck means beefsteak and is considered an English pronunciation of a food from England as in Beefeaters (the well fed beef eating Royal guard). There are numerous words in French Québec that are English words pronounced in French creating a new French word. (as there is the same in English and every language)

So does steak originally refer to a bison, buffalo or beef is hard to say.

Luc H.
 
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