What does the idiom "not be one's cup of tea" mean?

The phrase not be one's cup of tea is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of not be one's cup of tea.

Meaning of "not be one's cup of tea"


The idiom ‘not be one’s cup of tea’ is used to indicate that someone does not like something or does not find it agreeable. In other words, it is usually used to express distaste or dislike for something. The phrase is also used to mean that a certain thing is not within one’s preferences.


This phrase seems to have originated in the United Kingdom, sometime around the late 19th century. The earliest known use of the phrase dates back to 1888, when it was published in Notes and Queries, by an anonymous author. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase was derived from the metaphor of tea, which is a popular beverage in Britain. Tea is seen as something calming and comforting, so it is to be expected that it would be one’s cup of tea if they found it agreeable.


This phrase is most common in spoken English, especially in more casual settings. It is also quite versatile in its use and can be used in a variety of situations. It can be used to describe one’s opinion of a person, place, thing, or activity. It can also be used to express one’s opinion of a particular situation, or even a particular decision.

Example Sentences

  • I don’t think this movie is my cup of tea.
  • Going skydiving isn’t really my cup of tea.
  • I’m afraid that particular style of clothing just isn’t my cup of tea.
  • He’s not really my cup of tea.
  • I’m sorry, that decision just isn’t my cup of tea.

The meanings of the words in the "not be one's cup of tea" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


No comment has been written about not be one's cup of tea yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply