Not one’s cup of tea

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The idiom not one’s cup of tea came into common usage during World War II. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the expression not one’s cup of tea, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Not one’s cup of tea is something that one dislikes, or something that one has no interest in. In the early 1900s the idiom cup of tea came into use to describe something that one appreciated,  something that was dear to someone or well liked, such as a best friend. By the 1930s the phrase morphed into my cup of tea, to describe something one liked. By the 1940s the antithesis of the phrase developed, not my cup of tea. Today, the phrase not my cup of tea is used much more often than the phrase my cup of tea.


“I sat down with John [after golf] and I was like, look: ‘I don’t have any intentions of ever owning a golf course — it’s just not my cup of tea.” (The Arkansas Times)

“That side of the business thing is not my cup of tea,” Fister said. (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

“I therefore took up B.Sc mathematics but it was not my cup of tea and I didn’t enjoy it,” says Mahesh. (The New Indian Express)

“We’ve tried it before and it’s not his cup of tea as he just didn’t settle in,” Hayes said. (The Herald Sun)

“Amazon, it’s nice, it’s my cup of tea,” she said. (The Baltimore Sun)