[kaw-fee, kof-ee] /ˈkɔ fi, ˈkɒf i/

a beverage consisting of a decoction or infusion of the roasted ground or crushed seeds (coffee beans) of the two-seeded fruit (coffee berry) of certain coffee trees.
the seeds or fruit themselves.
any tropical tree or shrub of the genus Coffea, of the madder family, especially C. arabica and C. canephora, cultivated commercially.
Compare , .
a cup of coffee:
We ordered four coffees and three doughnuts.
a social gathering at which coffee and other refreshments are served.
medium to dark brown.

Also called coffee beans. the beanlike seeds of the coffee tree, used to make this beverage
short for coffee tree

wake up and smell the coffee, See wake1 (sense 7)

c.1600, from Italian caffe, from Turkish kahveh, from Arabic qahwah “coffee,” said originally to have meant “wine,” but perhaps rather from Kaffa region of Ethiopia, a home of the plant (coffee in Kaffa is called buno, which was borrowed into Arabic as bunn “raw coffee”). Much initial diversity of spelling, including chaoua.

Yemen was the first great coffee exporter and to protect its trade decreed that no living plant could leave the country. In 16c., a Muslim pilgrim brought some coffee beans from Yemen and raised them in India. Appeared in Europe (from Arabia) c.1515-1519. Introduced to England by 1650, and by 1675 the country had more than 3,000 coffee houses. Coffee plantations established in Brazil 1727. Meaning “a light meal at which coffee is served” is from 1774. Coffee break attested from 1952, at first often in glossy magazine advertisements by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau. Coffee pot from 1705.

Did you drink a cup of coffee on company time this morning? Chances are that you did–for the midmorning coffee break is rapidly becoming a standard fixture in American offices and factories. [“The Kiplinger Magazine,” March 1952]

Related Terms

cup of coffee


Read Also:

  • Coffee-and

    [kaw-fee-and, kof-ee-] /ˈkɔ fiˈænd, ˈkɒf i-/ noun, Informal. 1. coffee and a snack.

  • Coffee and cakes

    noun phrase Small wages; a pittance; peanuts: playing for coffee and cakes in an obscure Washington nightspot (1920s+)

  • Coffee bag

    noun 1. a small bag containing ground coffee beans, infused to make coffee

  • Coffeeberry

    [kaw-fee-ber-ee, kof-ee-] /ˈkɔ fiˌbɛr i, ˈkɒf i-/ noun, plural coffeeberries. 1. an evergreen shrub, Rhamnus californica, of the buckthorn family, common in the western U.S., having small, greenish flowers and red fruit that turns black, grown as a bee plant.

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