from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A beverage made from spiced black tea, honey, and milk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A beverage made with black teas, steamed milk and sweet spices based loosely on Indian recipes

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Gipsy girl or woman.


Ultimately from Chinese (Mandarin) chá, tea.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Hindi चाय / چای (ćāy), from Persian چای, from Turkish çay , from Sinitic  (chá). [2] (Wiktionary)



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  • I've heard chai in the UK to refer specifically to Indian-style tea. And for me it's a cuppa cha, not char. The details are important!

    June 17, 2008

  • As far as I know, it's chai everywhere.

    June 16, 2008

  • At this point I would make a face, but I'm far too polite.

    June 16, 2008

  • Chai must be an American thing. In UK we say char. As in "cuppa char please".

    It's also a Romany word for girl.

    June 15, 2008

  • Was just going to mention uselessness's list--one of my favorites. :-)

    September 26, 2007

  • I had missed that, thanks, trivet!

    September 26, 2007

  • Oh, yeah - this one.

    September 26, 2007

  • Wasn't there a list of these?

    September 26, 2007

  • And the ever popular "ATM machine."

    September 26, 2007

  • Eesh. Doesn't leave much to abbreviate, does it?

    September 26, 2007

  • I have seen "personal PIN number". Yikes.

    September 26, 2007

  • Ditto, colleen. Also "PIN number."

    September 26, 2007

  • "chai tea" makes my head hurt in the same way that "ISBN number" does. GAH.

    September 25, 2007

  • From the Chinese word chá (茶) meaning tea. Saying "chai tea" is redundant.

    September 25, 2007