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

Pointing to the state's statute, Minnesota officials said before the election that neither the tea party T-shirts nor those buttons would be permitted at the polls. Jessica Gresko, chicagotribune.com, "Supreme Court strikes down Minnesota's voter clothing law," 14 June 2018 Among those who attended the arguments was Andy Cilek, one of two Minnesota voters who defied elections officials after he was asked to cover up a tea party T-shirt and button. Washington Post, "MAGA hat, #MeToo pin? Court weighs voter clothing law," 28 Feb. 2018 But don’t call them tea party Republicans any more. Lisa Mascaro, BostonGlobe.com, "Much-ballyhooed Tea Party class of House GOP fades," 4 June 2018 But don’t call them tea party Republicans any more. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "Tea party class of House Republicans fades," 3 June 2018 Burton is a former tea party activist and is aligned with the politics of current state leaders such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Powell wins Democratic nomination for Texas Senate seat in Fort Worth | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 6 Mar. 2018 More than 100,000 royal family enthusiasts are expected to pack Windsor's streets and businesses selling royal-wedding themed events, lunches, tea parties, dances, booze, trinkets — even condoms — have gone into overdrive ahead of the big day. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Will & Kate's third baby: Royal well-wishers camp out, count down in London," 20 Apr. 2018 Because Julianna loved tea parties, her parents decided to honor her spirit by throwing a whimsical party at the City Bible Church the following Saturday instead of a traditionally somber funeral. Diana Bruk, Good Housekeeping, "Parents Honor Daughter With Tea Party Instead of Funeral," 21 June 2016 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of tea party

1778, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tea party

Dictionary Entries near tea party

tea oil

tea oil tree

tea olive

tea party




Statistics for tea party

Last Updated

30 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tea party

The first known use of tea party was in 1778

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tea party

tea party


English Language Learners Definition of tea party

: an afternoon social gathering at which tea is served

More from Merriam-Webster on tea party

See words that rhyme with tea party

Comments on tea party

What made you want to look up tea party? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!