ДепартаментЧужди езици и култури



Concept Investigation

by Victoria Petkova

dictionary definitions



a light afternoon meal consisting typically of tea to drink, sandwiches, and cakes.

"they were about to take afternoon tea"


a cooked evening meal.

"fish and chips for tea"


breakfast, typically consisting of a hot drink and bread.


Oxford Dictionaries

A light afternoon meal consisting typically of tea to drink, sandwiches, and cakes.

‘they were about to take afternoon tea’

count noun ‘picnic teas’

More example sentences

‘You can get lighter meals and snacks, as well as afternoon tea, in either the lounge or bar.’

‘Elevenses, packed lunch and afternoon tea will be provided, as well as a supper of organic trout.’

‘I let him watch Hi - 5 while he eats afternoon tea (rice cakes with cheese spread and sultanas).’

‘That means you should be eating breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.’

‘The two princesses had to have a cooked tea because they were in bed by dinner time, but they also had afternoon tea, with sandwiches, scones and a large cake.’


Tea is not only the drink, but is used as a word for a light meal since the 1840s thanks to Anna Russell, who was the Duchess of Bedford at that time. The word was used as the name of a meal because the lunch and dinner were too far apart and she had to ward off her hunger. The tradition continues still in the tea rooms in the United Kingdom. After World War II their number decreased some can still be found in the countryside.

   Afternoon tea is a light meal typically eaten between 4 and 6 pm. By the end of the 19th century was consumed by middle and upper classes. The more well off people had their tea served with cucumber or egg and cress sandwiches, bread and butter, sometimes scones, and usually cakes and pastries. The sandwiches usually have their crusts removed and are in different shapes, which often are triangles. Biscuits are not usually served with the tea. Nowadays afternoon tea is taken as a treat in hotels. The food is served on a tiered stand. Sandwiches are not served with the tea but it is accompanied by scones, bread and butter, sometimes jam, toast or muffins. A tea party is a social gathering around this meal.    

   Cream tea also knows as Devonshire tea is a form of an afternoon meal which consists of tea and an assortment of scones, clothed cream and jam. It is a specialty of Devon and Cornwall. It can also be found in the tea rooms there as well as other parts of England. The first time cream tea was used to describe the meal was in 1931. The tea in Cornwell is served with a “Cornish split” which is a slightly sweet white bread roll. Nowadays it is very hard to find it selling in stores but can be found in the homes of many Cornish families. And if clotted cream can be substituted with whipped cream in areas that it is not available. Another version of cream tea is called “Thunder and Lightning”. It is tea served with a round of bread topped with clotted cream, golden syrup, honey or treacle.

   High tea or meat tea is the name of the evening meal which is served between 5pm and 7pm and is associated with the working class. It usually consists of a hot dish, followed by cakes, bread, bread and jam. Sometimes cold cuts of meat are served. The term high tea was first used in 1825, where high signifies that it was taken later in the day than afternoon tea.

   British workers have the right to have a 20 - minute break. In the government guidelines it is described as a tea or lunch break. In everyday English it is known as elevenses, in other words a couple of hours before the mid-day meal traditionally served at 1pm.

   When the British have a “cuppa” there’s usually a biscuit nearby. Dunking biscuits in tea is a custom that is spread around the globe.