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See also: Tea, TEA, te'a, and te'a'


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An orange tea in a teacup
A cup of tea in Scotland.
Small baskets with different types of tea
Tea leaves that have gone through various stages and varieties of curing for sale on a market.

Etymology 1[edit]

Circa 1650, from Dutch thee, from Min Nan () (Amoy dialect), 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. Doublet of chai and cha, 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.
    Synonyms: tea leaves
    Go to the supermarket and buy some tea.
  2. (uncountable) The drink made by infusing these dried leaves or buds in hot water.
    Synonyms: cha, char
    Would you like some tea?
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 2, in 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. Also, meat stock served hot as a drink, often as a stimulant or restorative.
    Synonyms: herb tea, herbal tea, infusion, tisane
    camomile tea; mint tea; beef tea
  5. (countable, Australia, Britain, 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, Britain) A light meal eaten mid-afternoon, typically with tea; afternoon tea.
  8. (uncountable, Commonwealth of Nations) 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.
    • 2009, Guardian Media Group, in The Guardian, “What do cricketers eat at tea? When is it safe to flush on the train? What's a plujit?”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[2]:
      As recently as the mid-80s the players would be given a bottle of beer at lunchtime at some county grounds, and "tea" still meant a cup of tea into the 90s.
  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 March 1947:
      Here in Texas possession of tea is a felony calling for 2 years.
  11. (slang, especially African American Vernacular) Information, especially sensitive and/or juicy gossip. (Connected to the idea of sipping tea while listening to such information.)
    • 2015, Sonya Shuman, Doors of the Church Are Open: Smoke & Mirrors by Sonya Shuman:
      "What's the tea on you and China? Where she at Alicia? You should know where ya baby at."
    spill the tea on that drama
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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#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 []

Etymology 2[edit]

From Chinese (tea).


tea (plural teas)

  1. A moment, a historical unit of time from China, about the amount of time needed to quickly drink a traditional cup of tea. It is now found in Chinese-language historical fiction.
Usage notes[edit]

This term is found in English translations of Chinese-language historical fiction, where it is used to give the work an ancient Chinese feel.


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




From Latin tēla.


tea f (plural teas)

  1. cloth



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


  • IPA(key): [ˈtɛɒ]
  • Hyphenation: tea


tea (plural teák)

  1. tea


Inflection (stem in long/high vowel, back harmony)
singular plural
nominative tea teák
accusative teát teákat
dative teának teáknak
instrumental teával teákkal
causal-final teáért teákért
translative teává teákká
terminative teáig teákig
essive-formal teaként teákként
inessive teában teákban
superessive teán teákon
adessive teánál teáknál
illative teába teákba
sublative teára teákra
allative teához teákhoz
elative teából teákból
delative teáról teákról
ablative teától teáktól
Possessive forms of tea
possessor single possession multiple possessions
1st person sing. teám teáim
2nd person sing. teád teáid
3rd person sing. teája teái
1st person plural teánk teáink
2nd person plural teátok teáitok
3rd person plural teájuk teáik

Derived terms[edit]

(Compound words):





  1. white

Derived terms[edit]

Rapa Nui[edit]



  1. dawn

Derived terms[edit]




  1. water
  2. body of water: river, lake, etc
  3. liquid
  4. wine




From Latin taeda.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtea/, [ˈt̪ea]


tea f (plural teas)

  1. torch
  2. firelighter
  3. (figurativelyco) binge