See also: Corned Beef and Cabbage
The term 'corned' dates back to the 17th century:
"Beef...corned, young, of an Ox,"
Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy (1621).
The term 'corned' as in 'corned beef' refers to the very coarse salt originally used in the salt curing process. In British English 'corn' referred to any small grain or particle, especially those of cereal grains such as wheat.
Today, corned meat is cured in a brine solution.
In Britain, corned beef is beef that has been brined, chopped and pressed and sold in tins. In the U.S., this would be called canned pressed (or chopped) beef. Corned beef in the U.S. is a whole piece of beef, usually brisket, that has been cured in brine.