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Tea and the English Language

A hundred years after its arrival in England in 1658, tea had changed the way people lived. Today in tea drinking countries, how people dine, work, and enjoy their leisure time is still influenced by an ongoing love affair with tea. This is reflected in language. The call of, "Tea break,” for example, announces a short rest period at work.

Drinking tea required specialist apparatus, some of which was originally imported from China. Later the English made adaptations to suit their own style of tea drinking. Take the teaspoon. It started life as a spoon-for-tea, but also became a standard measurement in cooking. Without it almost every cookbook published in the last 300 years would need to be rewritten. In traditional China though, the teaspoon was unknown as tea drinkers did not add anything to their tea leaves except hot water and therefore had no need to stir.

Some common tea words
tea (dinner), high tea, tea time, morning/afternoon tea, tea break, tea shop, tea towel (dish towel), tea set, tea service, tea caddy, tea cup, tea saucer, tea pot, tea kettle, teaspoon, tea cosy, tea table, tea chest.

 
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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