\ ˈtē How to pronounce tea (audio) \

Definition of tea

1a : a widely cultivated shrub (Camellia sinensis of the family Theaceae, the tea family) native to China, northern India, and southeastern Asia and having glossy green leaves and fragrant white flowers
b : the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the tea plant prepared for use in beverages usually by immediate curing by heat or by such curing following a period of fermentation

Note: Tea may be classified according to its method of manufacture (see black tea, green tea, oolong, white tea) or according to the leaf size of the plant it is produced from (see orange pekoe, pekoe, souchong).

2 : an aromatic beverage prepared from tea leaves by soaking them in boiling water
3a : any of various plants used like tea also : a drink prepared by soaking their parts (such as leaves or roots) and used medicinally or as a beverage mint tea an herbal tea
4a : refreshments usually including tea with sandwiches, crackers, or cookies served in late afternoon
b : a reception, snack, or meal at which tea is served
5 slang : marijuana

Illustration of tea

Illustration of tea

tea 1a

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Other Words from tea

tealike \ ˈtē-​ˌlīk How to pronounce tealike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tea in a Sentence

Let's meet for tea tomorrow. That shop does a great afternoon tea.
Recent Examples on the Web Felicity has her tea and the children have toast, cereal, fruit, the occasional egg, or whatever else their little hearts desire. Stanley Tucci, The Atlantic, "Cooking Your Way Through the Pandemic," 15 May 2020 Flavors include matcha, black sesame, red bean, coconut, Thai tea, raspberry crunch, vanilla chip, salted caramel, passion fruit, mango, strawberry and chocolate. Jean Chen Smith, Cincinnati.com, "Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Stay-at-home edition," 30 Apr. 2020 Alice of @hipfoodiemom1 whips up some egg whites to get her powdered green matcha tea all fluffy. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, "Cloud-Like Whipped Milk Is the Dessert Version of Dalgona Coffee," 23 Apr. 2020 This year’s cast, including bubble tea, gender-inclusive Santa, and woolly mammoth, were selected before the pandemic hit and should become available this fall. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Behind the complete collapse of business at Yelp," 10 Apr. 2020 Upstairs is an ivory jewel box for a nice meal or tea, and downstairs is more casual, like a ski chalet. Shivani Vora, ELLE Decor, "Philippe Starck Takes His Restaurant Design to a Whole New Level," 6 Apr. 2020 Use a squeeze to brighten your teas and cooked vegetables. Kendra Nordin Beato, The Christian Science Monitor, "Eating in: How to transform pantry staples into comfort food," 27 Mar. 2020 Pedialyte and soups that contain salt are helpful, as are plain water, tea, juice, and soda. Michael Hochman, STAT, "A new self-triage tool can help you decide if you need medical care for Covid-19," 20 Mar. 2020 Along with Bakker's business, other companies warned over advertising products including teas, essential oils and colloidal silver as able to treat or prevent coronavirus include: GuruNanda, LLC N-ergetics Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Televangelist Jim Bakker among those warned about phony coronavirus cures," 9 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tea.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tea

circa 1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tea

Chinese (Xiamen)

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Time Traveler for tea

Time Traveler

The first known use of tea was circa 1655

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Statistics for tea

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tea. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for tea


How to pronounce tea (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tea

: a drink that is made by soaking the dried leaves of an Asian plant in hot water
: a similar drink that is made by using the dried leaves of another kind of plant
: the dried leaves that are used in making tea


\ ˈtē How to pronounce tea (audio) \

Kids Definition of tea

1 : the dried leaves and leaf buds of a shrub widely grown in eastern and southern Asia
2 : a drink made by soaking tea in boiling water
3 : refreshments often including tea served in late afternoon
4 : a party at which tea is served
5 : a drink or medicine made by soaking plant parts (as dried roots) ginger tea


\ ˈtē How to pronounce tea (audio) \

Medical Definition of tea

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a shrub (Camellia sinensis of the family Theaceae, the tea family) cultivated especially in China, Japan, and the East Indies
b : the prepared and cured leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the tea plant
2 : a mildly stimulating aromatic beverage prepared from tea leaves by infusion with boiling water
3 : any of various plants resembling tea in properties also : an infusion of their leaves used medicinally or as a beverage

Medical Definition of TEA (Entry 2 of 2)


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More from Merriam-Webster on tea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tea

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tea

Spanish Central: Translation of tea

Nglish: Translation of tea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tea for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tea

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