\ 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 This caffeine-free herbal tea of Red Raspberry Leaf, Blue Vervain, Spearmint Leaf, and Red Clove can be a sweet addition to your morning, or a nice way to wind down. Tessa Bahoosh, USA TODAY, "16 popular self-care products under $30," 2 July 2020 Plum Market plans to redesign the 12,000 square-foot space, opening a coffee and tea bar inside, the press release states. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Plum Market Kitchen opening in former Uptown Cleveland Constantino’s Market space," 1 July 2020 Mother Clucker serves fried chicken, eight different styles of fries, seven homemade sauces and sweet tea. Dallas News, "Locally owned restaurants to support in Colleyville during the COVID-19 outbreak," 30 June 2020 While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Instead of your glass half-full, try it completely empty," 27 June 2020 For lunch, customers can get one of the best pizza deals in town: two slices of cheese pizza with a 32-ounce iced tea for $5.69. Chuck Blount, ExpressNews.com, "52 Weeks of Pizza: Miss Ellie’s Pizza of New York restaurant brings some New York pie to San Antonio," 26 June 2020 The family road trip just wasn’t the same without stopping at Parker’s in Georgia—get the bucket-sized sweet tea—Weigel’s in Tennessee, or Allsup’s in Texas. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "Why Southerners Will Always Love an Old-Fashioned Roadside Store," 15 June 2020 But sparkling tea is a tiny emerging category, Fortwendel says. Rachel King, Fortune, "The soda market is popping with new contenders. Will they stay or fizzle out?," 5 June 2020 Think, for instance, of the Boston Tea Party dumping tea into the harbor in a protest against an unjust tax. Samira Mehta, The Conversation, "A justification for unrest? Look no further than the Bible and the Founding Fathers," 4 June 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

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tea. Accessed 6 Jul. 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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