Tea was first imported into Britain early in the 17th century, becoming very popular by the 1650s; London diarist Samuel Pepys recorded drinking his first cup in 1660.
By the 18th century it had become a symbol of fashionable society and a staple of the coffee house culture; Dr. Johnson was a self-confessed “hardened and shameless tea-drinker.”
The word “tea” derives from the Mandarin Chinese word chá, via the Min dialect form te. The Mandarin word is also the origin of the informal char, as in a nice cup of char. A love of tea is so ingrained in British life that the phrase “cup of tea” has come to stand for anything viewed positively. We express dislike by saying: “it’s not my cup of tea,” we comfort the bereaved with “tea and sympathy,” and gloss over any social faux pas with the phrase “more tea, vicar?”
Friday, March 11, 2016
A history of English...
A history of English ... in just five words. Interesting piece. Here's a sample, with one of the five words: