afternoon tea

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afternoon tea ‎(plural afternoon teas)

  1. (Britain) A formal afternoon meal comprising light snacks, accompanied by tea.
    • 2007, Andrea Broomfield, Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History, page 59,
      As with luncheon, afternoon tea was often a women's gathering for reasons that take us back to the reign of Charles II.
    • 2010, Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince, Frommer's England 2011: With Wales, page 165,
      Everyone should indulge in a formal afternoon tea at least once while in London. This relaxing, drawn-out, civilized affair consists of three courses, all elegantly served on fine china: dainty finger sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course); then fresh-baked scones served with jam and deliciously decadent clotted cream (the rich, thick cream is also known as Devonshire cream); and lastly, an array of bite-size sweets. All the while, an indulgent server keeps the pot of your choice fresh at hand.
    • 2010, Rick Steves, Rick Steves′ England 2011, page 179,
      At all the places listed below, it's perfectly acceptable to order one afternoon tea and one cream tea (at about £5) and split the afternoon tea goodies.
    • 2011, Darwin Porter, Frommer's Bahamas 2012, page 67,
      The British tradition of afternoon tea is still observed on the last Friday of each month, from January to August, at the hilltop mansion of the governor-general in Nassau.
  2. (Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong) A small meal or snack eaten between lunch and dinner; a period of time set aside for this purpose, taken as a break from work or from a conference.
    • 1993 December, AUUGN, page 53,
      After afternoon tea we all combine again for a plenary session, followed by the UniForum NZ AGM.
    • 1995, David Marshall, Food Choice and the Consumer, page 270,
      In looking at meal structures, Douglas (1972) made a clear distinction between the afternoon tea which is a snack and the high tea which is classified as a light meal.


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