Another word for 'tea'.

Popular in Asia, introduced to the Western world by the British as "tea". Different countries have different names for this caffeinated beverage. China: cha (for both Mandarin and Cantonese). Vietnam: cha. Thai: cha. Indonesia: cha. Japan: cha/ocha. India: cha (for Gujarati). Russia: chai. UK: tea!

I recommend jen ju nai cha, a milk tea gaining popularity in Asia.  The way to eat / drink it is to suck up the tapioca pearls with a thick straw.
Find it at your local chinatown.
Other languages which use variants on 'cha' to mean tea include Portuguese (chá, pronounced 'sha'), Bengali, Gujarati and Korean. In Korean, as in Chinese, the word is sometimes spelt ch'a to indicate that the 'ch' is aspirated. Barley tea - poli or bori cha, literally satiation tea - is extremely popular in Korea: It is drunk at times when westerners would drink water. Green tea (nok cha) and Oolong are also consumed, but not on anything like the same scale as in China and Japan. The word 'cha' also means 'car'.

The Korean word 'cha' or 'ja' (spelt differently from the word for tea) can mean 'ruler,' as in a thing you measure things with, or 'here,' and one or two other things; it is also the standard Koreanisation of the Chinese 'tzu' (tsu, tse, zi), which means 'child' or 'master' and is used in the titles of many classical Chinese writers - for instance Chuang-Tzu is Jang-Ja or Chang-Cha, Lao-Tzu is No-Ja, Confucius (Kung-Fu-Tzu) is Kong-Ja and so on.

For those whose browsers can deal with it, the Chinese character 'cha' (tea) looks like this in Unicode:

Cha (chä), n. [Chin. ch‘a.] [Also chaa, chais, tsia, etc.]

Tea; -- the Chinese (Mandarin) name, used generally in early works of travel, and now for a kind of rolled tea used in Central Asia.

A pot with hot water . . . made with the powder of a certain herb called chaa, which is much esteemed. Tr. J. Van Linschoten's Voyages (1598).


© Webster 1913.

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