tea, afternoon tea, teatime

(noun) a light midafternoon meal of tea and sandwiches or cakes; “an Englishman would interrupt a war to have his afternoon tea”

tea, tea leaf

(noun) dried leaves of the tea shrub; used to make tea; “the store shelves held many different kinds of tea”; “they threw the tea into Boston harbor”


(noun) a beverage made by steeping tea leaves in water; “iced tea is a cooling drink”


(noun) a reception or party at which tea is served; “we met at the Dean’s tea for newcomers”

tea, Camellia sinensis

(noun) a tropical evergreen shrub or small tree extensively cultivated in e.g. China and Japan and India; source of tea leaves; “tea has fragrant white flowers”

Source: WordNet® 3.1

Etymology 1


tea (countable and uncountable, plural teas)

(uncountable) The tea plant (Camellia sinensis); (countable) a variety of this plant.

(uncountable) The dried leaves or buds of the tea plant; (countable) a variety of such leaves.

(uncountable) The drink made by infusing these dried leaves or buds in hot water.

(uncountable) Any similar drink made by infusing parts of various other plants.

(uncountable) Meat stock served as a hot drink.

(countable, Commonwealth, northern US) A cup or (East Asia, Southern US) glass of any of these drinks, often with milk, sugar, lemon, and/or tapioca pearls.

(uncountable, UK) A light midafternoon meal, typically but not necessarily including tea.

(uncountable, Commonwealth) synonym of supper, the main evening meal, whether or not it includes tea.

(cricket) The break in play between the second and third sessions.

(slang, dated) synonym of marijuana.

(slang, especially, gay slang and African-American Vernacular) Information, especially gossip.

Usage notes

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


• (plant): tea plant, tea tree, tea bush

• (leaves): tea leaves

• (beverage): see tea

• (beverages similar to tea): herb tea, herbal tea, infusion, tisane

• (a light meal): see afternoon tea & meal


• (beverage): see tea


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

To drink tea.

To take afternoon tea (the light meal).

Etymology 2


tea (plural teas)

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

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


• -ate, AET, Até, Atë, ETA, a.e.t., aet, ate, eat, eta, æt.

Proper noun


A city in South Dakota


• -ate, AET, Até, Atë, ETA, a.e.t., aet, ate, eat, eta, æt.


TEA (countable and uncountable, plural TEAs)

(countable, Northern Ireland) Training and employment agency.

(uncountable) Acronym of triethylaluminium.

(uncountable) Abbreviation of triethylamine.

(uncountable) Abbreviation of triethanolamine.


• triethylaluminum / triethyl-aluminum / triethyl aluminum

• triethylaluminium / triethyl-aluminium / triethyl aluminium

• triethylamine / triethyl-amine / triethyl amine


TEA (not comparable)

(US, politics) Taxed enough already.


• -ate, AET, Até, Atë, ETA, a.e.t., aet, ate, eat, eta, æt.

Source: Wiktionary

Tea, n. Etym: [Chin. tsha, Prov. Chin. te: cf. F. thé.]

1. The prepared leaves of a shrub, or small tree (Thea, or Camellia, Chinensis). The shrub is a native of China, but has been introduced to some extent into some other countries.

Note: Teas are classed as green or black, according to their color or appearance, the kinds being distinguished also by various other characteristic differences, as of taste, odor, and the like. The color, flavor, and quality are dependent upon the treatment which the leaves receive after being gathered. The leaves for green tea are heated, or roasted slightly, in shallow pans over a wood fire, almost immediately after being gathered, after which they are rolled with the hands upon a table, to free them from a portion of their moisture, and to twist them, and are then quickly dried. Those intended for black tea are spread out in the air for some time after being gathered, and then tossed about with the hands until they become soft and flaccid, when they are roasted for a few minutes, and rolled, and having then been exposed to the air for a few hours in a soft and moist state, are finally dried slowly over a charcoal fire. The operation of roasting and rolling is sometimes repeated several times, until the leaves have become of the proper color. The principal sorts of green tea are Twankay, the poorest kind; Hyson skin, the refuse of Hyson; Hyson, Imperial, and Gunpowder, fine varieties; and Young Hyson, a choice kind made from young leaves gathered early in the spring. Those of black tea are Bohea, the poorest kind; Congou; Oolong; Souchong, one of the finest varieties; and Pekoe, a fine-flavored kind, made chiefly from young spring buds. See Bohea, Congou, Gunpowder tea, under Gunpowder, Hyson, Oolong, and Souchong. K. Johnson. Tomlinson.

Note: "No knowledge of . . . [tea] appears to have reached Europe till after the establishment of intercourse between Portugal and China in 1517. The Portuguese, however, did little towards the introduction of the herb into Europe, and it was not till the Dutch established themselves at Bantam early in 17th century, that these adventurers learned from the Chinese the habit of tea drinking, and brought it to Europe." Encyc. Brit.

2. A decoction or infusion of tea leaves in boiling water; as, tea is a common beverage.

3. Any infusion or decoction, especially when made of the dried leaves of plants; as, sage tea; chamomile tea; catnip tea.

4. The evening meal, at which tea is usually served; supper. Arabian tea, the leaves of Catha edulis; also (Bot.), the plant itself. See Kat.

– Assam tea, tea grown in Assam, in India, originally brought there from China about the year 1850.

– Australian, or Botany Bay, tea (Bot.), a woody clambing plant (Smilax glycyphylla).

– Brazilian tea. (a) The dried leaves of Lantana pseodothea, used in Brazil as a substitute for tea. (b) The dried leaves of Stachytarpheta mutabilis, used for adulterating tea, and also, in Austria, for preparing a beverage.

– Labrador tea. (Bot.) See under Labrador.

– New Jersey tea (Bot.), an American shrub, the leaves of which were formerly used as a substitute for tea; redroot. See Redroot.

– New Zealand tea. (Bot.) See under New Zealand.

– Oswego tea. (Bot.) See Oswego tea.

– Paraguay tea, mate. See 1st Mate.

– Tea board, a board or tray for holding a tea set.

– Tea bug (Zoöl.), an hemipterous insect which injures the tea plant by sucking the juice of the tender leaves.

– Tea caddy, a small box for holding tea.

– Tea chest, a small, square wooden case, usually lined with sheet lead or tin, in which tea is imported from China.

– Tea clam (Zoöl.), a small quahaug. [Local, U.S.] -- Tea garden, a public garden where tea and other refreshments are served.

– Tea plant (Bot.), any plant, the leaves of which are used in making a beverage by infusion; specifically, Thea Chinensis, from which the tea of commerce is obtained.

– Tea rose (Bot.), a delicate and graceful variety of the rose (Rosa Indica, var. odorata), introduced from China, and so named from its scent. Many varieties are now cultivated.

– Tea service, the appurtenances or utensils required for a tea table, -- when of silver, usually comprising only the teapot, milk pitcher, and sugar dish.

– Tea set, a tea service.

– Tea table, a table on which tea furniture is set, or at which tea is drunk.

– Tea taster, one who tests or ascertains the quality of tea by tasting.

– Tea tree (Bot.), the tea plant of China. See Tea plant, above.

– Tea urn, a vessel generally in the form of an urn or vase, for supplying hot water for steeping, or infusing, tea.

Tea, v. i.

Definition: To take or drink tea. [Colloq.]

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


Word of the Day

5 March 2021


(noun) an iconic mental representation; “her imagination forced images upon her too awful to contemplate”

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Coffee Trivia

The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking as the modern beverage appeared in modern-day Yemen. In the middle of the 15th century in Sufi shrines where coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed for drinking. The Yemenis procured the coffee beans from the Ethiopian Highlands.

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