the dried and prepared leaves of a shrub, Camellia sinensis, from which a somewhat bitter, aromatic beverage is prepared by infusion in hot water.
the shrub itself, extensively cultivated in China, Japan, India, etc., and having fragrant white flowers. Compare tea family.
the beverage so prepared, served hot or iced.
any kind of leaves, flowers, etc., so used, or any plant yielding them.
any of various infusions prepared from the leaves, flowers, etc., of other plants, and used as beverages or medicines.
British. any meal, whether a light snack or one consisting of several courses, eaten in the late afternoon or in the evening; any meal other than dinner, eaten after the middle of the afternoon.
an afternoon reception at which tea is served.
Slang. marijuana.
one's cup of tea, something suitable, appropriate, or attractive to one: Horror movies and westerns are just not my cup of tea.

1590–1600; 1940–45 for def 9; < dialectal Chinese (Xiamen) t'e, akin to Chinese chá

tealess, adjective

tea, tee.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tea (tiː)
1.  an evergreen shrub or small tree, Camellia sinensis, of tropical and subtropical Asia, having toothed leathery leaves and white fragrant flowers: family Theaceae
2.  a.  the dried shredded leaves of this shrub, used to make a beverage by infusion in boiling water
 b.  such a beverage, served hot or iced
 c.  (as modifier): tea caddy; tea urn
3.  a.  any of various plants that are similar to Camellia sinensis or are used to make a tealike beverage
 b.  any such beverage
4.  chiefly (Brit)
 a.  Also called: afternoon tea a light meal eaten in mid-afternoon, usually consisting of tea and cakes, biscuits, or sandwiches
 b.  (as modifier): a tea party
 c.  Also called: high tea afternoon tea that also includes a light cooked dish
5.  (Brit), (Austral), (NZ) the main evening meal
6.  old-fashioned, slang (US), (Canadian) marijuana
7.  informal tea and sympathy a caring attitude, esp to someone in trouble
[C17: from Chinese (Amoy) t'e, from Ancient Chinese d`a]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1655, earlier chaa (1598, from Port. cha), from Malay teh and directly from Chinese (Amoy dialect) t'e, in Mandarin ch'a. The distribution of the different forms of the word reflects the spread of use of the beverage. The modern Eng. form, along with Fr. thé, Sp. te, Ger. Tee, etc., derive via
Du. thee from the Amoy form, reflecting the role of the Dutch as the chief importers of the leaves (through the Dutch East India Company, from 1610). First known in Paris 1635, the practice of drinking tea was first introduced to England 1644. The Port. word (attested from 1559) came via Macao; and Rus. chai, Pers. cha, Gk. tsai, Arabic shay, and Turk. çay all came overland from the Mandarin form. Meaning "afternoon meal at which tea is served" is from 1738. Slang meaning "marijuana" (which sometimes was brewed in hot water) is attested from 1935, felt as obsolete by late 1960s. Tea bag first recorded 1940; tea ball is from 1895.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
torque equilibrium attitude
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences for Tea
He enjoys drinking tea and has a special fondness for confectionery.
Along with tea, curry is one of the few dishes or drinks that is truly panasian.
During the tang dynasty, tea was synonymous with everything sophisticated in
Western examples of these are afternoon tea and the tea party.
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