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Words for Tea Around the World

How to Say Tea in Over 60 Different Languages

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A map of the tea-producing regions of India.

In India, there are many languages used. Words used for tea include cha (Hindi), chai (Urdu) and tea (English).

Marko Goodwin
Have you ever wondered how to say "tea" in different languages, or found yourself traveling abroad and in need of a cup of tea? This listing includes the words for "tea" in over 60 different languages from around the world. It also features a guide to which languages use the same or similar words for tea.

(Note: Many of these words have been Romanized.)

How to Say Tea in Different Languages

Afrikaans: tee

Albanian: caj (pronounced chai)

Arabic: chai or shai

Armenian: te

Azerbaijani: caj (pronounced chai)

Basque: tea

Belarusian: harbatu

Bengali/Bangla: cha

Bulgarian: chai

Catalan: té

Chinese (Cantonese): cha

Chinese (Mandarin): cha (second tone / pronounced with the "a" in a rising tone)

Croatian: caj (pronounced chai)

Czech: caj (pronounced cha-i)

Danish: te

Dutch: thee

English: tea

Esperanto: teo

Filipino/Tagalog: tsaa

Finnish: tee

French: le thé (masculine)

Galician: té

Georgian: chai

German: der Tee (masculine; the “T” is capitalized because all German nouns are capitalized)

Greek: tsai

Haitian Creole: té

Hebrew: teh

Hindi: chai

Hungarian: tea (plural: teak)

Irish: tae

Italian: te (pronounced teh)

Icelandic: te

Indonesian: teh

Japanese: o-cha (o- is used as a prefix meaning "honorable" and -cha is used to mean "tea" in various tea names, such as matcha, sencha and hojicha)

Korean: cha

Latvian: teja (pronounced tay-ya)

Lithuanian: arbata

Luxembourgish: Téi (like in German, all nouns are capitalized in Luxembourish)

Macedonian: chaj (pronounced chai)

Malay: teh

Maltese: te

Norwegian: te

Persian: chay (pronounced chai in most areas)

Polish: herbata

Portuguese: cha (pronounced shah with a Brazilian accent)

Romanian: ceai

Russian: chai

Serbian: caj (pronounced chai)

Sinhalese (Sri Lanka): thé (The word for teapot is actually a Dutch loanword. It is theepot.)

Slovak: caj (pronounced chai)

Slovenian: caj (pronounced chai)

Somali: shaah

Spanish: el té (masculine; pronounced tay)

Swahili: chai (pronounced cha-i)

Swedish: te

Taiwanese: de (boba naicha refers to Taiwan’s popular “tapioca pearl tea”)

Tamil (Sri Lanka): tea

Thai: chah (chah yen refers to Thai iced tea)

Tibetan: cha or ja

Turkish: cay (pronounced chai)

Ukrainian: chaj (pronounced chay)

Urdu: chai

(North) Vietnamese: che

(South) Vietnamese: tra (sometimes pronounced cha or ja)

Wolof: achai (pronounced uh-chuy)

Welsh: te

Yiddish: tey

Zulu: itiye

Pronunciations of "Tea" Around the World

The root words for "tea" can be traced back to China, where it was called “cha” or “tay.” Today, most words for tea sound something like cha/chai or tea/té/te.

Cha

The word "cha" is used for tea in the following languages: Bengali/Bangla, Cantonese, Korean, Sinhalese and Tibetan.

Variations on "cha" include Mandarin (in which cha is pronounced with the a in a rising tone), Somali (shaah), Thai (chah), Tibetan (in which cha is sometimes pronounced ja), North Vietnamese (che) and South Vietnamese (in which tra is sometimes pronounced cha or ja).

Chai

Languages that pronounce tea as "chai": Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Hindi, Macedonian, Persian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish and Urdu.

Languages with variations on "chai" include similar pronunciations Arabic (shai), Croatian (chai), Czech (cha-i), Georgian (châi), Greek (tsai), Romanian (ceai), Serbian (chai), Swahili (cha-i), Thai (chah), Ukrainian (chay) and Wolof (achai).

Tea

The word tea is used in Basque, English, Hungarian (in which the plural of tea is teak) and Tamil. Variations of the word tea include tee (Afrikaans and Finnish), thee (Dutch), teo (Esperanto) and der Tee (German).



Té is the word for tea in Catalan, Galician and Haitian Creole. Variation of this word for tea include le thé (French), tae (Irish), teja (pronounced tay-ya; Latvian), Téi (Luxembourgish), la té (pronounced tay; Spanish) and tey (Yiddish).

Te

Te (pronounced teh) is the word for tea in Armenian, Danish, Italian, Icelandic, Maltese, Norwegian, Swedish and Welsh. The word for tea is teh in Hebrew, Indonesian and Malay.

For more information on tea around the world, check out this listing of international tea drinks. It's especially useful if you plan to drink tea while traveling abroad.

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