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What Does “Not My Cup Of Tea” Mean?

When someone says something is “their cup of tea,” they mean that they find it likable and satisfying. Similarly, you can also say something is “not my cup of tea” to show that you don’t find something agreeable. 

In more simple terms, some synonymous phrases would be “not to my liking” or “not in my interests.”

How Did The Phrase Originate?

Lots of people have specific drinks that suit them. For some, it may be soda, and for others, it may be tea. Many people seem to like tea, as it is one of the most popular drinks around the world. Tea comes in many flavors, so some people are bound to dislike certain flavors.

Keeping this in mind, this common phrase links the idea of anything to a cup of tea. Some people are bound to like anything, while others are bound to dislike it. Thus, claiming that something is or isn’t your “cup of tea” is another way of saying you like/dislike something yet acknowledge that others may disagree. 

But where did this phrase originate? In truth, most sources agree that this phrase comes from the early 1900s, specifically the 1930’s. 

As mentioned earlier, “not” is often added to the phrase to create sentences such as “that play was not my cup of tea.” It appears that both the positive and negative forms of the sentence arose simultaneously; however, the negative has become much more popular. 

Examples Of Use:

Consider these common sentence examples using “my cup of tea” and “not my cup of tea.”

  • I went to the opera with my friends last weekend. Although the singers were talented, I didn’t like the experience. I now know opera is just not my cup of tea. 
  • At the folk concert last night, all my friends said they hated it. I enjoyed it. I guess it’s just my cup of tea
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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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