\ 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
b : tea rose
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 tea (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 Went out with Crawfie and groomed the foals and came in for tea. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "A Never-Before-Published Diary Reveals What Life Was Like for Queen Elizabeth in WWII," 4 May 2021 Bay Area and the rest of the U.S. may soon have no bubbles for tea. Taylor Kate Brown, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Briefing: One vaccine paused, but California still moving toward opening," 14 Apr. 2021 Cumin, coriander, and fennel are good at aiding digestion (find my recipe for CCF tea here), so work those into your diet regularly. Radhi Devlukia-shetty, Bon Appétit, "6 Ways to Feel Your Best in Spring, According to an Ayurvedic Chef," 23 Mar. 2021 When Father Joe’s 134-bed inclement weather shelter closed at 5 a.m., the mobile warming center would be waiting outside with coffee, hot chocolate and hot water for tea, Saldaña said. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Deadly accident raises questions - again - about city’s homeless," 21 Mar. 2021 For this narrator, housekeeping is not about achieving respectability or impressing guests who drop by for tea, but a vital way to rejuvenate the world around us. Washington Post, "‘Brood,’ a quiet meditation on the small stuff, makes for a perfect pandemic read," 5 Mar. 2021 One of the most stressful scenes in the novel is when, shortly after their reunion, Clare invites Irene over for tea. New York Times, "The Performance of Racial Passing," 23 Feb. 2021 When the professor, who knew this, asked him to go out for tea at eight o’clock at night, by her place, Dad agreed. Souvankham Thammavongsa, The New Yorker, "Good-Looking," 22 Feb. 2021 The colonel asked for the old brigadier, the hero of the Golan Heights, the recipient of the order of Fath, to sit and join him for tea. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, "2034, Part IV: The Spratly Islands Ambush," 16 Feb. 2021

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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Statistics for tea

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tea. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tea



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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