Definition of tea in English:

tea

noun

mass noun
  • 1A hot drink made by infusing the dried crushed leaves of the tea plant in boiling water.

    ‘Katherine sipped her tea’
    • ‘He was making popcorn on the stove and boiling water for tea.’
    • ‘Gaunt mothers and children sat near their tents, sometimes boiling water for tea, a ritual of normalcy that they still maintained.’
    • ‘Things have changed from drinking plain tea to water to special solutions but one must know the guidelines.’
    • ‘She cut out sugar, white flour and processed foods and drank only water and tea.’
    • ‘Take small sips of water, weak tea, clear soft drinks, noncaffeinated sports drinks or broth.’
    • ‘Sales of beverages such as water, juice, tea, and sports drinks are growing as much as eight times faster than U.S. soda sales.’
    • ‘By boiling water to make tea, the bacteria in polluted water were neutralised.’
    • ‘She went over to her mother, who was boiling water for the tea.’
    • ‘With their daily meals, Kazakhs drink fruit juices, milk, soft drinks, beer, water, and tea.’
    • ‘The result is a drink that tastes more like cabbage water than tea.’
    • ‘I retreated into the kitchen and boiled some water for tea.’
    • ‘Water is an important factor in good tea-making and there used to be three famous springs producing good water for tea.’
    • ‘The doodle shows an almost cartoonish figure of a man being scalded in a teacup by the boiling tea.’
    • ‘Now I'm washing out of a bucket of water, slurping my tea and arguing with rickshaw drivers.’
    • ‘In fact there was a pot of tea and hot water which provided three cups.’
    • ‘I make myself a cup of tea and boil some water in a pan to make pasta as I listen to them.’
    • ‘Manganese miners consumed significantly more water and tea, because of the existence of the hot climate in their workplace.’
    • ‘Aside from water, tea is the most common beverage consumed worldwide.’
    • ‘Please make yourself comfortable, have some water or tea.’
    • ‘In Gujarat, local hospitality demands that guests are offered water and tea almost as soon as they arrive.’
    1. 1.1The dried leaves used to make tea.
      ‘tea from India and Ceylon’
      count noun ‘tea bags containing teas from selected estates’
      • ‘That time Mary McCormack in her little thatched shop kept flour, tea, sugar, salt, lamp oil, and perhaps some liquorice sweets.’
      • ‘Canned meats and fish, as well as flour, tea, and sugar, have become important food items as well.’
      • ‘At one end of the market, a few stands sold a variety of local spices, sauces, tea and jams.’
      • ‘In Europe such goods as chocolate, honey, sugar, bananas, tea, and orange juice are also getting certified.’
      • ‘The lockable drawer usually contained three tinned compartments with tightly fitting lids in which to store tea and sugar.’
      • ‘Over the last year the price of sugar, wheat flour and tea has trebled and the cost of other basic household consumer goods has risen by 30 percent.’
      • ‘A search of the cupboards reveals tea, sugar, and a mug.’
      • ‘Washed by gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, it is well known for its tea, rubber, spices and, of course, coconuts.’
      • ‘It is complicated for them to get important goods like tea, flour, or tobacco.’
      • ‘However, there were no longer any sales of tea, whiskey, pepper, frying pans or thread.’
      • ‘The Empire was created to provide access to cheap tea and sugar in the days before Tesco.’
      • ‘They attacked the settlers because they wanted goods such as sugar, flour, blankets, tea and tobacco.’
      • ‘This was the country known to travellers for centuries for its beauty, its exotic culture, its tea and exotic spices.’
      • ‘Restaurant operators can increase tea sales by offering more choices and upsell with specialty teas containing herbs, fruit peels and flowers.’
      • ‘In general, black teas and oolong teas should steep for 3 to 5 minutes.’
      • ‘Fungi can grow on tea with poor packaging and storing.’
      • ‘From 1680 onwards the European demand for tea grew, and imports began to steadily increase.’
      • ‘He recalled how five years ago he had to get samples of South Indian tea from London.’
      • ‘Among plantations in India, tea is a major foreign exchange earner.’
      • ‘In the second half of the nineteenth century, camphor and tea became major exports.’
    2. 1.2usually with modifier A drink made from the infused leaves, fruits, or flowers of plants other than tea.
      ‘herbal tea’
      count noun ‘fruit teas’
      • ‘Fill a large basket with an assortment of goodies from your health food store, such as organic salsa, fruit teas, and tropical-flavored drinks.’
      • ‘Let's see - from left to right there's passionfruit, black tea and kumquat teas with tapioca pearls.’
      • ‘I served herbal tea to the tea drinkers and fruit juice to the others.’
      • ‘Standard tea bags still make up 63 per cent of the total market while herbal and fruit teas account for 27 per cent of retail sales.’
      • ‘Try fruit teas or herbal teas as an alternative to caffeine.’
      • ‘Try caffeine-free drinks, such as fruit teas, as an alternative.’
      • ‘We ate the free chocolate coated coffee beans and tried all the fruit tea samples.’
      • ‘Don't hesitate to contact us if you need help finding quality vitamin, herbs, lavender flowers, chamomile teas, essential oil, or herbal bath products.’
      • ‘You can fill baskets with all sorts of goodies, from herbal teas to fruits to satchels of sea salts for a relaxing bath.’
      • ‘Drink at least eight glasses of water, herbal teas and unsweetened fruit juice.’
      • ‘Drink nettle or dandelion teas and eat foods rich in vitamin B6, including sunflower seeds, brown rice, buckwheat and avocados.’
      • ‘So take your herbal health teas and give us a break, okay?’
      • ‘Herbal teas are made by placing the prescribed amount of herbs (usually one or two teaspoons) in a cup or a teapot and then pour boiling water over the mixture.’
      • ‘You can avoid caffeine by choosing green teas such as Chinese Gunpowder, and herbal teas with rose hips, chamomile, peppermint and raspberry.’
      • ‘Bottled water, tap water; 100% juice, milk, sports drinks, seltzers and herbal teas are all hydrating beverages.’
      • ‘This is followed by up to two quarts of warm salted water or strong licorice tea which in such high dosage is emetic.’
      • ‘Meanwhile I am going to continue with megadoses of vitamin C, ginger tea, lots of water, and raw garlic.’
      • ‘The dining-room, with vistas of the lake and the mountains, remains open all day for restorative drinks of water, herbal tea and vegetable broth.’
      • ‘Remembering about the way the castle worked, she wished for a cup of steaming peppermint tea, with extra sugar.’
      • ‘I buy peppermint tea, red grape juice in a wine-coloured matt package with six languages on it, pear juice and packets of almonds.’
    3. 1.3West Indian Any hot drink, for example, coffee or cocoa.
      ‘Cocoa tea is a rich, local breakfast drink.’
      drink
  • 2

    (also tea plant)
    The evergreen shrub or small tree which produces tea leaves, native to southern and eastern Asia and grown as a major cash crop.

    Camellia sinensis, family Theaceae

    • ‘The Camellia sinensis tea plant is native to China and commercially produced in tropical and subtropical regions, primarily China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon).’
    • ‘The tea plant, Camellia sinensis, comes in many forms - black, green, oolong.’
    • ‘The filmmaker also found unusual trees: a tea plant, a ban oak, copper beeches, a maidenhair tree in Killarney, and a Kentucky coffee bean tree in Greenside.’
    • ‘The researchers credit L-theanine, an ingredient found in black, green, oolong and pekoe teas - but not in herbal teas, which usually don't contain Camellia sinensis, the one true tea plant.’
    • ‘The most important part of a hybrid tea plant is the bud union (graft knob), from where all new canes originate, and it requires the most protection.’
    • ‘We may have been drinking it for the last 350 years but Camellia sinensis, to call the tea plant by its proper name, became a staple in Asia long before.’
    • ‘A ‘flush’ is the term used to describe when the tea plant produces a new growth leaves - the first of the year comes in March.’
    • ‘Fortune had been charged with the task of learning the art of tea growing and then obtaining samples of the shrubs.’
    • ‘The colony failed in less than two years because the mulberry trees and tea seedlings perished in the dry California soil.’
    • ‘She rose early to watch the farm workers begin their days planting and harvesting maize, tea and other cash crops.’
    • ‘The major crops are rice, jute, wheat, tea, sugarcane, and vegetables.’
    • ‘Unlike tea grown in the Nilgiris and further South, Darjeeling has a very limited harvest period.’
    • ‘This SEWA farm, like many in Gujarat, grows mangoes, tea, spices and other cash crops.’
    • ‘Since the West will never be able to grow tea, coffee and bananas, the South will have its markets for these unique tropical products.’
    • ‘For thicker roots, such as those of maize, sorghum or tea, this procedure could be used for visualizing the exodermis in a longitudinal view.’
    • ‘Outsourcing had worked very well in Zimbabwe and Malawi and it would spread the economy of tea growing to other parts of the region, Crawford said.’
    • ‘On the lower slopes tea is grown; and on the well-rivered plains there are rubber-trees, coconut palms, and paddy fields.’
    • ‘Luku began to grow tea in the 1960s because it had a higher economic value than other crops, such as rice and fruits.’
    • ‘The subtropical conditions of the Tweed Valley are perfect for tea growing.’
    • ‘We could make settlements safer by changing cropping patterns but it's impractical to ask farmers to uproot their sugarcane and tea bushes.’
  • 3British A light afternoon meal consisting typically of tea to drink, sandwiches, and cakes.

    ‘they were about to take afternoon tea’
    count noun ‘picnic teas’
    • ‘The two princesses had to have a cooked tea because they were in bed by dinner time, but they also had afternoon tea, with sandwiches, scones and a large cake.’
    • ‘It was a successful afternoon enjoyed by everyone, which was followed by afternoon tea, consisting of sandwiches and cakes supplied by the choir.’
    • ‘That is always assuming that they can fit it all in after having been served up a full buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and home-made cakes and canapés.’
    • ‘Try the afternoon tea - any cakes you can't eat will be boxed up for you to take home.’
    • ‘I let him watch Hi - 5 while he eats afternoon tea (rice cakes with cheese spread and sultanas).’
    • ‘The English are known for their custom of afternoon tea, accompanied by cakes and sandwiches.’
    • ‘It will however make a tasty dessert with yoghurt, but it meant I had to drop in at DJ's to get a proper cake for afternoon tea.’
    • ‘All ocean cruises are full board and include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and midnight snacks.’
    • ‘We dined in the residency with three square meals and afternoon tea.’
    • ‘You can get lighter meals and snacks, as well as afternoon tea, in either the lounge or bar.’
    • ‘Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are all taken here, while there is also a secluded dining area at the rear for more formal meals and private parties.’
    • ‘That means you should be eating breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.’
    • ‘Morning coffee and afternoon tea with home-made cakes and biscuits can be enjoyed in the beautiful gardens or under cover of the Loggia.’
    • ‘Elevenses, packed lunch and afternoon tea will be provided, as well as a supper of organic trout.’
    • ‘Lunch and afternoon tea will be available at the Memorial Hall.’
    • ‘Afternoon tea and light refreshments will be served for those who wish to relax and chat with friends.’
    • ‘From the Temple we travelled for lunch and afternoon tea at Kenwood House.’
    • ‘Small wonder that this is the place in Madrid for afternoon tea and society weddings.’
    • ‘Ladies don't sweat or perspire, even after an exhausting day of brunch, tennis, afternoon tea, supper and bridge.’
    • ‘Allow to cool completely if serving cold for tea, or until barely warm if serving as pudding.’
    meal, lunch, dinner, supper, repast
    1. 3.1British A cooked evening meal.
      See also high tea
      ‘fish and chips for tea’
      See also high tea
      count noun ‘it reminds me of Sunday teas when I was a very small child’
      • ‘The people were British in their manner, tea was had frequently and the evening meal was called tea, not dinner.’
      • ‘I cooked tea for myself a few days ago and managed to eat a very undercooked steak and kidney pudding (it's a long story), and have been feeling a bit rough ever since.’
      • ‘I sighed and went to the kitchen, to cook tea with the food that she had promised to buy on her way back from the midwife's.’
      • ‘On the plus side was the strong possibility that at least one of them would manage to cook his tea by the time he got home and the long odds are against all of them having headaches simultaneously.’
      • ‘After supplies it was back home where I washed up without being asked (I'm a saint!), then Rosie cooked curry for tea.’
      • ‘Anyhoo, I spent an action-packed Monday in Brighton asleep on Lisa's bed, before meeting her from work and allowing her to cook my tea.’
      • ‘So: get in at nine thirty, play with dog, print out day's work, cook tea, shower, bed, ready for more of the same tomorrow.’
      • ‘If you get bored thinking about eating or of what you should cook for tea, take a look at the ‘Did you know’ section.’
      • ‘His mum was cooking his tea, and she'd kill him if he was late.’
      • ‘Her mother told her she had to go back and cook her husband's tea.’
      • ‘Right, time to splish-splash my way home, shop, do college homework, cook tea and have a bath.’
      • ‘While tea was cooking, we were on the computer armed with a nice cold, strong vodka and coke each.’
      • ‘Coach departs East Square at 9.30 a.m., fare €35 including lunch and evening tea.’
      • ‘The cost is €120 per person sharing, which includes six nights bed and breakfast, lunch and evening tea.’
      • ‘Bro has promised to come home tomorrow and cook tea and bizarrely he has promised to bake a cake.’
      • ‘Today we're apparently cooking tea for four people in the microwave, simultaneously.’
      • ‘I think I'll start cooking tea; it's something to do.’
      • ‘I might start painting, go away to cook tea and come back later and think - ‘that could do with black there,’ he said.’
      • ‘I don't have time to write the individual reviews though; I've gotta go do my farmwork before I cook everyone's tea.’
      • ‘Susan is on the phone to Libby and cooking tea, and is so caught up in this that she forgets to notice a bottle of cooking oil being tipped onto the lit gas burner.’
      evening meal, supper, main meal, repast
    2. 3.2West Indian Breakfast, typically consisting of a hot drink and bread.
      ‘He had eaten a big tea.’

verbteas, teaing, teaed, tea'd

archaic no object, with adverbial
  • Drink tea or take afternoon tea.

    ‘I teaed with Professor Herron’
    • ‘By the time we got back I was starved, so tea'd and toasted, then headed out into town to retrieve my car from the multi-story.’

Phrases

    not for all the tea in China
    informal
    • There is nothing at all that could induce one to do something.

      ‘I wouldn't do that girl's job—not for all the tea in China’
      • ‘Even if you can't write for children, not for all the tea in China or every last drop of coffee in Starbucks.’
      • ‘The way I feel now, I would not for all the tea in China go back to the House of Commons - or the House of Lords.’
      • ‘Not for Mr Bradshaw, not for the Residents' Association, not for all the tea in China.’
      • ‘We can't do it without your help… not for all the tea in China.’
      • ‘And, when you think about it, they're new: that bright white LED is something you just couldn't have a few years ago, not for all the tea in China.’
      • ‘It has been around since the 1940s - perhaps influenced by the expression ‘I wouldn't do that, not for all the tea in China.’’
    tea and sympathy
    informal
    • Kind and attentive behaviour towards someone who is upset or in trouble.

      ‘they need a plan of action rather than tea and sympathy’
      • ‘If we are to be successful in turning our Neets into Yums (young and upwardly mobile) a bit more ‘get on your bike’ and a bit less tea and sympathy might be in order.’
      • ‘In that time, North Yorkshire County Council and ministers have offered them plenty of tea and sympathy - and the occasional promise to make the appalling traffic go away.’
      • ‘If kids don't know the difference between right and wrong by the time they are 15 there's something seriously wrong with them or they need discipline not tea and sympathy.’
      • ‘Players grumbled that Johnson had sneaked offside before netting the equaliser but, if they were looking for tea and sympathy from their manager, they didn't get it.’
      • ‘Its bribes were as irresistible as they were reckless - blind-eyed debt relief, abundant aid, even tea and sympathy over Kashmir.’
      • ‘Sir - May I through your paper thank the kind staff of Baildon Timber on Otley Road who came to help at a road traffic accident and offered tea and sympathy.’
      • ‘They're wasting their time taking offenders to court, knowing they will be given tea and sympathy by some blinkered judge/magistrate.’
      • ‘As well as tea and sympathy, they were lavishly attended on by waiters bearing fine wines and sumptuous snacks in the palace's state apartments.’
      • ‘The problem has to be stamped out - not given tea and sympathy.’
      • ‘We'd invite him to Devon for a therapeutic break, herbal tea and sympathy - and if he fancied mowing my lawn, so much the better.’

Origin

Mid 17th century probably via Malay from Chinese (Min dialect) te; related to Mandarin chá. Compare with char.

Pronunciation

tea

/tiː/