why is gossip called tea

why is gossip called tea

The Origins of the Term “Gossip”, aka “Tea”

Gossip is often referred to colloquially as “tea”. This catchy phrase has become a part of the everyday vernacular, and its true meaning is rooted in history.

The Great British Tea Time

Gossip is more often than not associated with the term “tea”, which has been used for centuries. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the English had adopted a tradition of high tea, with ladies getting together for a friendly, yet gossipy, chat with tea and desserts.

This high tea tradition was where the term “tea” was first associated with gossip. During this period, high tea was seen as a social event, where ladies would come together to talk about their lives, exchange stories and partake in rumours.

The Afternoon Tea Gossip

The term “gossip” or “tea” became even more popular during the mid-century when Afternoon Tea was first served. Afternoon Tea was essentially the same concept as high tea, but it was far more formal and included a selection of teas and light snacks.

Once again, the tradition of gossip and rumour went hand-in-hand with afternoon tea. It was seen as a place to bond over conversations and even criticism.

Gossip Lives On

The term “gossip” or “tea” is still used to this day. It has become a part of the English language and is often used in casual conversations to refer to a person’s sharing of information, rumours, talk and revelations.

It is an ironic phrase, considering how tea is typically seen as a calming and peaceful beverage, and gossip is far from that. Nevertheless, it is a phrase that many still use, and its origins are firmly rooted in history.

Key Takeaways

  • Gossip is colloquially referred to as “tea”.
  • The connection between gossip and tea originates from the 18th and 19th centuries, when high tea and afternoon tea were popular.
  • The term “tea” is still used to this day to refer to gossip and the sharing of information.


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