Something that a person finds to be agreeable to their tastes; delightful.
If something is your cup of tea, then that means you like it. If something is not your cup of tea, then that means you do not like it.
Example: We couldn’t decide which movie to watch, so we ended up settling on a comedy. Half-way through the movie, I concluded that its humor was not my cup of tea.
Synonyms / Similar: it’s (not) to my liking, I’m (not) a fan
The Origin of ‘Not My Cup Of Tea’
Most people have a preference when it comes to the kind of beverage they like to drink. For many people, that beverage is tea. In fact, tea is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world, next to water. It has a variety of flavors that people enjoy, including green, apple, and ginger tea. Of course, with so many varieties of tea to choose from, there are also some that people dislike.
So with this phrase, the idea is that things are being likened to a cup of tea. If something is in line with a person’s tastes, then it is ‘their cup of tea’ (it’s a flavor of tea they enjoy). If something is not in line with a person’s tastes, then it is ‘not their cup of tea’ (it’s a kind of flavor they do not enjoy).
Now then, what is the origin of this phrase? From what I’ve found, it doesn’t look to be that old. In fact, the earliest I could find this expression appearing in print is the 1930s. For example, in the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper, February 1935, the phrase is used similarly to how we use it today, to describe things we like or dislike:
“As Margie always says, ‘Saving energy is great, but taking the hassle out of window cleanin’ is my cup of tea.'”
The word ‘not’ is usually added to the front of this phrase (e.g. that brown shirt is not my cup of tea). Expressing dislike for something appears to be the more common form of this term. The earliest example I could find of this saying with the word ‘not’ in front comes again from the 1930s. This time, it is in a literary work by James Agate, published in 1939:
“For assuredly immersion in medieval legend is not my cup of tea.”
- I listened to several songs that my friend suggested, and while his recommendations are normally great, this time they were not my cup of tea. (In other words, I don’t like them.)
- I know everyone’s talking about the latest comedy movie that just released, but I wasn’t a fan of it.
Note: There are a lot of other sayings on here for you to read about. You can find more English phrases by using the menu at the top, or by searching for them. There are hundreds to explore, where you can learn their meaning and possibly where they come from.