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  • Writer's pictureOlga Jarrell

Word of the day: чай

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Introduced to Russia in the 17th century, tea has become one of the most popular beverages. Nowadays, it is considered the national beverage and closely associated with traditional Russian culture. Because of the popularity of tea and tea drinking, the word чай (tea) is used in Russian quite often. Also, there are a few words with the same root. For the Russian language learners, it could be interesting (and useful) to know how the words related to TEA are used in everyday Russian.

Enjoy learning new vocabulary with examples and pictures!

  • чай (noun; (masc.) = tea

  • ча́шка ча́я = a cup of tea

  • па́чка ча́я = a pack of tea

  • чёрный \ зелёный \ кита́йский \ инди́йский \ рома́шковый чай = black / green / Chinese / Indian / chamomile tea

  • кре́пкий чай = strong tea

  • чай в паке́тике = tea bag

  • чай с … = tea with (instrumental)

… c варе́ньем, пря́никами, конфе́тами, са́харом, молоко́м, лимо́ном = with jam, gingerbread, candy, sugar, milk, lemon

  • к ча́ю = for tea

пече́нье к ча́ю = cookies for tea

  • чаёк (diminutive from чай)

This is how the noun чай is used with verbs as a direct object.

  • пить /попи́ть чай (ча́ю) = to have tea, drink tea

I have nothing to eat - I drink tea.

It's cold - I drink tea.

I have a sore throat - I drink tea.

I'm bored - I drink tea.

Дава́й попьём ча́ю (чайку́)! = (informal) = Let’s have tea!

Мо́жет, чайку́? = (colloquial; literally: Maybe, little tea?) = Some tea, maybe?

Не хо́чешь ча́ю? = (informal) = Do you want some tea?

  • зава́ривать \ завари́ть чай = to make tea

Ма́ма завари́ла зелёный чай. (Mother has made some green tea.)

Please note that in spoken Russian, when the word чай and its diminutive form чаёк are used with verbs as direct objects, they usually take not the accusative, but the dative case -ча́ю /чайку́.

  • приглаша́ть \ пригласи́ть на чай = to invite for tea

  • чаепи́тие = tea drinking; usually not short

The Russian word чаепи́тие means tea drinking. This is a compound word that consists of two roots of the words ЧАЙ – TEA and ПИТЬ – DRINK. It has two meanings: 1) tea drinking ceremony; 2) tea party

утреннее чаепитие - morning tea drinking пригласить на чаепитие - to invite for tea Бостонское чаепитие - Boston tea party

  • чаёвничать / почаёвничать (-аю, аешь, ают) = drink tea

  • чаёвник (mas.) чаёвница (fem.) = a person who likes tea and drinks it a lot

Она́ така́я чаёвница! = She is suck a tea lover!

  • ча́йный (adj.) = (related to) tea

ча́йный стол = tea table; table served for tea

ча́йный серви́з = tea set

ча́йная ло́жка = tea spoon

ча́йная ча́шка = tea cup

ча́йная церемо́ния = tea ceremony

ча́йная ла́вка = tea store (ла́вка is an archaic word for ‘store’)

  • ча́йник = tea pot; kettle

  • ста́вить /поста́вить ча́йник = to put a kettle on the stove (in order to boil water for making tea)

Поста́вь ча́йник, попьём ча́ю. = Literally: Put a kettle, we’ll drink some tea.

Barely any widely used word in Russian has no idiomatic expressions. The ЧАЙ-words have a few .

Idiomatic expressions

  • В час по ча́йной ло́жке = too slow; barely with any progress

  • гоня́ть чаи́ = Google Translate will interpret this expression as “ to chase teas”; however, this idiom just means “drink tea”.

  • за ча́шкой чая = (во время чаепития) = during tea time

  • чаевы́е = tips (originally, money for tea)

оставлять / оставить чаевые = to leave tips

The word ча́йник also has idiomatic meaning = inexperienced person, newbie

Компью́тер для ча́йников = computers for newbies (dummies)

А вы часто пьёте чай?

Какой чай ваш любимый?

Вы приглашаете друзей на чай?

Вы любите посидеть за чашкой чая с друзьями?

Что у вас сегодня к чаю?

Вы чаёвник (чаёвница)?

С чем вы любите чай?

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