from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A beverage made from spiced black tea, milk, and sugar or honey.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A Gipsy girl or woman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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


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

[Hindi cāy and Urdu čā’e, tea, ultimately (probably via Persian čāy) from Mandarin chá, tea, or a kindred Chinese source; see chanoyu.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Hindi चाय / چای (ćāy), from Persian چای, from Turkish çay , from Sinitic  (chá).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word chai.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

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

    September 25, 2007

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

    September 25, 2007

  • Ditto, colleen. Also "PIN number."

    September 26, 2007

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

    September 26, 2007

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

    September 26, 2007

  • And the ever popular "ATM machine."

    September 26, 2007

  • Wasn't there a list of these?

    September 26, 2007

  • Oh, yeah - this one.

    September 26, 2007

  • I had missed that, thanks, trivet!

    September 26, 2007

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

    September 26, 2007

  • 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

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

    June 16, 2008

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

    June 16, 2008

  • 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