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See also: Tea and TEA


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A cup of tea.


Circa 1650, from Dutch thee, from Min Nan () (Amoy dialect), from Proto-Min, from Old Chinese, ultimately from Proto-Sino-Tibetan *s-la (leaf, tea).

Introduced to English and other Western European languages by the Dutch East India Company, who sourced their tea in Amoy; compare Malay teh along the same trade route. Ultimately cognate to chai, from same Proto-Sino-Tibetan root; see discussion of cognates.



tea (countable and uncountable, plural teas)

  1. (uncountable) The dried leaves or buds of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.
    Go to the supermarket and buy some tea.
  2. (uncountable) The drink made by infusing these dried leaves or buds in hot water.
    Would you like some tea?
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 2, A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      Mother [] considered that the exclusiveness of Peter's circle was due not to its distinction, but to the fact that it was an inner Babylon of prodigality and whoredom, from which every Kensingtonian held aloof, except on the conventional tip-and-run excursions in pursuit of shopping, tea and theatres.
  3. (countable) A variety of the tea plant.
    Darjeeling is a tea from India.
  4. (uncountable) By extension, any drink made by infusing parts of various other plants.
    camomile tea;  mint tea
  5. (countable, Australia, UK, Canada, New Zealand, northern US) A cup of any one of these drinks, often with a small amount of milk or cream added and sweetened with sugar or honey.
  6. (countable, Southern US) A glass of iced tea, typically served with ice cubes and sometimes with a slice or wedge of lemon.
  7. (uncountable, UK) A light meal eaten mid-afternoon, typically with tea.
    Kids, your tea’s on the table!
  8. (uncountable, New Zealand, UK, Australia) The main evening meal, irrespective of whether tea is drunk with it.
    The family were sitting round the table, having their tea.
  9. (cricket) The break in play between the second and third sessions.
    Australia were 490 for 7 at tea on the second day.
  10. (slang, dated) Marijuana.
    • 1940, Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, Penguin 2010, page 103:
      So they were evidence. Evidence of what? That a man occasionally smoked a stick of tea, a man who looked as if any touch of the exotic would appeal to him. On the other hand lots of tough guys smoked marijuana [] .
    • 1946, Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, Really the Blues, Payback Press 1999, page 74:
      Tea puts a musician in a real masterly sphere, and that's why so many jazzmen have used it.
    • 1947, William Burroughs, letter, 11 Mar 1947:
      Here in Texas possession of tea is a felony calling for 2 years.

Usage notes[edit]

In many places tea is assumed to mean hot tea, while in the southern United States, it is assumed to mean iced tea.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


tea (third-person singular simple present teas, present participle teaing, simple past and past participle teaed)

  1. To drink tea.
  2. To take afternoon tea (the light meal).
    • 1877, The Bicycling Times and Tourist's Gazette (page 38)
      The wind was high and the hills ditto, and both being against us we were late in reaching Hitchin (30 from Cambridge), so giving up the idea of reaching Oxford we toiled on through Luton, on to Dunstable (47), where we teaed moderately []


  1. ^ The World Atlas of Language Structures Online,Chapter 138: Tea”, by Östen Dahl




tea f (plural teas)

  1. cloth



From Dutch thee, from Min Nan (, tea).


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɛjɒ/
  • Hyphenation: tea


tea (plural teák)

  1. tea


Derived terms[edit]

Compound words




  1. white

Derived terms[edit]

Rapa Nui[edit]



  1. dawn

Derived terms[edit]