tea party


Definition of tea party 

1 : an afternoon social gathering at which tea is served

2 [ from the Boston Tea Party, name applied to the occasion in 1773 when a shipment of tea was thrown into Boston harbor in protest against the tax on imports ] : an exciting disturbance or proceeding

3 usually Tea Party : a 21st century U.S. political movement in favor of lower taxes, fewer government regulations and programs, strict immigration control, and a strong military "Tea Party" has become something of a catch-all term to describe an impassioned and empowered group of populist conservatives. They are largely antigovernment, a lot of them are self-described libertarians, and many say they are new to political activism. It is easy to think of them as a singular entity and a growing one. —Mark Leibovich Conservative activists started holding "Tea Party" protests in 2009 to vent outrage over federal stimulus spending, the Wall Street bailout and rising national debt. The movement quickly had an electoral impact, culminating in the 2010 midterm elections when the GOP captured the House. —Martha T. Moore

Examples of tea party in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Sandy Liang Served Cotton Candy at Mission Chinese Guests were in for a surreal tea party treat. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "The Biggest Trend at Fashion Week Was Food," 15 Feb. 2018 Crowley’s defeat drew comparisons to the surprise 2014 primary loss of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican targeted by tea party advocates as being part of the GOP establishment. Sarah D. Wire, latimes.com, "Surprise defeat of Rep. Joe Crowley may signal Democratic unease about Pelosi's leadership team," 27 June 2018 Santorum ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, billing himself as a supporter of tea party grass roots efforts to change laws in Washington. -- (c) 2018, The Washington Post. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Doctors assure Rick Santorum: Learning CPR won't save mass-shooting victims," 26 Mar. 2018 But when your parents are the future King and Queen of England, that top layer of cake is big enough to ration out over three children’s christening tea parties. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "William and Kate Followed This Odd English Tradition at Prince Louis’ Christening," 9 July 2018 The Free Press also reported that Schuette used no-bid state contracts to pay more than $130,000 to two influential Republicans — one of whom has been active in the tea party movement that is important in winning a Republican primary. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Snyder: Referral to FBI of complaint about AG Schuette 'a serious matter'," 9 July 2018 ABC News was also criticized when Ross suggested that James Holmes, the gunman who killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., might be a member connected with the tea party movement. Stephen Battaglio, latimes.com, "ABC News parts ways with investigative reporter Brian Ross," 2 July 2018 One of House Republicans' top leaders, Eric Cantor, had just lost a surprise primary in Virginia to a tea party challenger, and no one wanted to be next. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Trump just forced Republicans to take a tiny step toward immigration changes," 21 June 2018 The yearly bills need bipartisan support to advance, which has grated on tea party lawmakers. Andrew Taylor, BostonGlobe.com, "Budget battle brews as Trump threatens another shutdown," 27 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tea party.' 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 party

1778, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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The first known use of tea party was in 1778

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tea party


English Language Learners Definition of tea party

: an afternoon social gathering at which tea is served

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