Ocelot Eyes (ocelot_eyes) wrote in linguaphiles,
Ocelot Eyes

"tea" = "dinner" in Australian English?

This is something that's been driving me nuts, since I moved to Australia. (My native language is Russian, English is my second language, which I actually learned in Canada. Long story!)

Here, my Aussie family constantly refers to a whole meal such as dinner, as "tea". As in, "have you had tea yet?", "(Name of relative) is coming for tea", "Tea's on the table" etc. And when I come out to the dining room, I don't see a cup of tea, I see dinner. With no tea involved at all!!!

How did "tea" come to be synonymous with "dinner" especially when there is no actual tea served at the meal? Is this just Australian English, does it come from British English, or is it just my Aussie family being odd and no one else says it?

I was under the impression that in England, where Australian English derived from, tea-time was a separate thing and not even considered a meal in itself, more like people getting together to drink tea with crumpets in the afternoon...

Growing up speaking Russian, where we say pretty much exactly what we mean, and having never heard this in Canadian English, this usage confuses me very much. :)

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded