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[kaw-fee, kof-ee] /ˈkɔ fi, ˈkɒf i/
a beverage consisting of a decoction or infusion of the roasted ground or crushed seeds (coffee beans) of the two-seeded fruit (coffee berry) of certain coffee trees.
the seeds or fruit themselves.
any tropical tree or shrub of the genus Coffea, of the madder family, especially C. arabica and C. canephora, cultivated commercially.
a cup of coffee:
We ordered four coffees and three doughnuts.
a social gathering at which coffee and other refreshments are served.
medium to dark brown.
Origin of coffee
1590-1600; < Italian caffè < Turkish kahve < Arabic qahwah Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for coffee
  • For many coffee lovers, their precious beverage comes with an unwanted ingredient: caffeine.
  • It uses proprietary pods instead of fresh-ground beans to produce its coffee.
  • However, he took these coffee-flavored lemons and made coffee-flavored lemonade.
  • Shade-grown coffee was grown under the canopy of trees, which means that rain forests were not cut down to grow the coffee beans.
  • It was the bark of the cinchona tree, a close cousin of coffee.
  • Decaf-coffee lovers, for instance, benefit from its ability to remove caffeine from coffee beans.
  • coffee beans are fresh when they come out of the roaster.
  • The old savings advice about skipping your daily cup of coffee and banking the cash instead has never really resonated with me.
  • Food service has delivered coffee and breakfast rolls.
  • coffee bushes must be grown in shade-neither too much, nor too little.
British Dictionary definitions for coffee


  1. a drink consisting of an infusion of the roasted and ground or crushed seeds of the coffee tree
  2. (as modifier): coffee grounds
Also called coffee beans. the beanlike seeds of the coffee tree, used to make this beverage
short for coffee tree
  1. a medium to dark brown colour
  2. (as adjective): a coffee carpet
wake up and smell the coffee, See wake1 (sense 7)
Word Origin
C16: from Italian caffè, from Turkish kahve, from Arabic qahwah coffee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coffee

c.1600, from Italian caffe, from Turkish kahveh, from Arabic qahwah "coffee," said originally to have meant "wine," but perhaps rather from Kaffa region of Ethiopia, a home of the plant (coffee in Kaffa is called buno, which was borrowed into Arabic as bunn "raw coffee"). Much initial diversity of spelling, including chaoua.

Yemen was the first great coffee exporter and to protect its trade decreed that no living plant could leave the country. In 16c., a Muslim pilgrim brought some coffee beans from Yemen and raised them in India. Appeared in Europe (from Arabia) c.1515-1519. Introduced to England by 1650, and by 1675 the country had more than 3,000 coffee houses. Coffee plantations established in Brazil 1727. Meaning "a light meal at which coffee is served" is from 1774. Coffee break attested from 1952, at first often in glossy magazine advertisements by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau. Coffee pot from 1705.

Did you drink a cup of coffee on company time this morning? Chances are that you did--for the midmorning coffee break is rapidly becoming a standard fixture in American offices and factories. ["The Kiplinger Magazine," March 1952]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for coffee


Related Terms

cup of coffee

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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