Words for Tea Around the World

How to Say Tea in Over 60 Different Languages

Close up of jasmine tea in teacup
Karin Dreyer/Getty Images

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.)
  • Slovakian: 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; 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: 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.