Talk:Tea (meal)

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Other Uses[edit]

In the 'Other Uses' under the 'United Kingdom' catagory, surely saying 'In many parts of England, particularly the north, and in Scotland, many parts of Wales and Ireland, tea is used to mean the main evening meal', just sounds a bit ridiculous as this is a list of places in the Brisith Isles, I think this needs to be edited although I'm not sure to what -- Ogirdham (talk) 12:49, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Fixing it now. Barnabypage (talk) 15:19, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Times of tea for the day[edit]

the popular times for tea needed, example, morning tea, dinner,supper, evening tea icetea8 (talk) 11:55, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

This information is in the article. Logical Cowboy (talk) 01:34, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Popular times for tea in order: morning tea, tea break, elevenses, low tea/afternoon tea, high tea, evening tea. icetea8 (talk) 03:08, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Removing "cuisine" cat[edit]

Forgot HotCat doesn't allow edit summaries. I removed thecuisine cat simply because Food and drink and meals are subcats thereof. Mutt Lunker (talk) 22:16, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Dubious international context[edit]

Quoting the article: "However, in those countries where the term's use is common, the influences are generally those of the former British Empire (now the Commonwealth of Nations)." This statement is patently false; I propose to change it to something like:

In many countries where the term's use is common, the influences are generally those of the former British Empire (now the Commonwealth of Nations); only these ritual are covered here.

This avoids description of "original" tea ceremonies, and tea ceremonies on the other side of te vs che divide (South China route vs North China route of tea trades). -- (talk) 02:39, 8 May 2012 (UTC)iz

Use of "Low Tea", "High Tea" and "Afternoon Tea" in the US[edit]

An editor has recently added a rather academic statement that the term "low tea" is used in the US, and that it's somehow derived from an American belief that the high/low distinction are based on misperceptions of class. The statement is unsourced, and is utter nonsense. The term "low tea" isn't used in the US. Americans commonly refer to afternoon tea as high tea, probably based on the perception that the use of the word high implies a more elaborate or formal tea presentation (there being no American equivalent to the British high table from which the term actually derives). But low tea statement is rubbish, and if sourced, comes from an unreliable source. I have reverted the addition twice, and now requested the editor adding it discuss, and present his/her source for the statement, rather than continuing to add an erroneous statement to the article. Drmargi (talk) 18:35, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

We now have a new round of edits by an editor insisting on the precise (but I'd argue still erroneous) etymology of high tea, but then inserting the word "erroneous" into the discussion of the use of high v. afternoon tea in the US. We haven't been a British colony in nigh on 230 years now, and we speak a different language than the British do. In British English, there is a distinction between high tea, the meal, and afternoon tea, the tea ritual. In the US, there isn't, and the two terms are used interchangeably; high tea generally by more informal tea shops (which also favor tea rituals suggestive of girlhood tea parties) and tea houses, and afternoon tea generally by hotels. Languages evolves and give we don't have a meal labeled tea, the term has come to mean something different here, but it's not wrong. Moreover, sourcing the use of the label erroneous with an article from BBW, a general interest magazine for large-sized women, hardly lends veracity to the claim; I strongly question the reliability of the source given the complete lack of sourcing for the article cited. --Drmargi (talk) 18:51, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
You can talk about your personal perceptions of how the term "high tea" is used in the U.S. but without a source it is OR. I have provided the original source from which BBW was quoting. Njsustain (talk) 19:01, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
At this point, your source has been challenged and there's a discussion open, and that means no further edits or reverts. I can add any explanatory text I wish in discussion without citation, just not in the article. What I've done is remove your content on the basis of the questionable reliability of the source. At this point, the onus is on you to gain consensus for your edit. --Drmargi (talk) 19:05, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
What is the basis for your claim that the original source (Judith Martin's well respected text on etiquette in the U.S.) is not a reliable source? And what is your reliable source that high tea means something different in the US and that it is used interchangable with afternoon tea? Njsustain (talk) 19:08, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Looks like another case of an administrator bullying another editor just because she was wrong. Fine, have your "high tea" dearie. Just remember, you broke the rules by deleting a valid source, and you have no basis for your text. Njsustain (talk) 19:09, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
I challenged BBW and opened the discussion, per WP:BRD, but my reservations about Manners hold as well. She is an expert on manners and etiquette, not on tea rituals. There are copious books out there by experts on the subject at hand; Manners' expertise is tangental at best. Claims of bullying to get your own way, rather than using consensus-seeking processes, won't get you anywhere. Oh, and thanks for the promotion, but I'm not an admin and have no desire to be. --Drmargi (talk) 19:12, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Whatever you are, you have no source for your erroneous claim, and will not find one as it is false. And your claims of Martin (her last name is Martin, not Manners... you clearly know nothing about her, her writings, nor her expertise) not being an expert at the ritual of tea and its history in both the UK and the US are ludicrous. Njsustain (talk) 19:13, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Well first of all, User:Drmargi is not an administrator, so calling her an administrator does not strengthen the argument. As much as I like BBW magazine, the citation does not literally say that the use of "high tea" in the US is erroneous. To claim that it does is WP:OR. It would be fine to say that US usage differs from traditional British usage, but traditional British usage is not normative for the US. So when US usage differs, that does not mean it is "erroneous." Americans like to drink iced tea, but that is abhorrent to many Brits. But the US custom of drinking iced tea is not "erroneous." BTW I am not an administrator either. Logical Cowboy (talk) 20:27, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Not totally relevant, but iced tea isn't 'abhorrent to many Brits'. We just don't drink it often, so it seems a little weird / unfamiliar. Not "abhorrent"! War crimes are abhorrent. Not iced tea (talk) 11:43, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
If my statements about Drmargi are irrelevent, why are you taking them into consideration? And did you bother to read the reference from Judith Martin? It states:"While some unscrupulous restaurants try to make afternoon tea sound more 'high society' by calling it high tea, the word 'high' is actually related to 'It's high time we had something to eat.' " And what is your claim to support the ludicrous idea that Martin is not a reliable source, other than that Drmargi's claim supports YOUR opinion. It is her and your statements which are OR, and if you don't find a reliable secondary source to support your (erroneous) claim, that text will be deleted as well. It's simply ridiculous: I have a reliable source for my statement and it has been deleted because it doesn't jive with your personal opinion, but you believe that your incorrect statement should be kept because it is your personal opinion. This is totally the opposite of how the WP process is supposed to work.
She also states what high tea is (in the US). When you cannot have people who work for afternoon tea around 4 pm, "you could give them yet another variation, high tea, so as to replace, rather than interfere with, their supper. High tea is a more substantial in all matters of food and drink than afteroon tea." So, you see, it is not considered interchangable with afternoon tea, but it indeed has the same meaning as it does in the UK. Njsustain (talk) 21:06, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
I've never had so many words put in my mouth at one time :0 I didn't say your statement about Drmargi was irrelevant, I said it was false. She is not an administrator. I did not say anything about whether Martin is a reliable source. I said that the citation does not literally say that the use of "high tea" in the US is erroneous. It doesn't. The words are not there. Quote her words if you want, but it is OR to draw your own conclusion from what she said. Please read WP:OR carefully. And finally, I never said that I want to have an unsourced statement there. Have a nice day. Logical Cowboy (talk) 21:18, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As the source does clearly state... the words are there... that afternoon tea and high tea are different things, I trust you will have no objection to the false statement being removed from the article? I would also add that it would not be incorrect to put in the article that "In the US, the terms high tea and afternoon tea have the same meaning as they do in the UK" as that is in Judith Martin's source, but I see no need to put it specifically in the article. I was simply trying to put in verifiable information about a common misconception peopel have. In any case, at this point I think the entire US section should be removed as there is no verifiable information which is unique to what has already been stated in the article.

I also strongly disagree that the words are not there. Martin distinguishes high tea from afternoon tea and states that anyone calling the later the former are "unscrupulous." She doesn't use the word "erroneous" but that doesn't mean it's not appropriate to use the word in the article. It's not OR for me to do so. Perhaps you should read the definition of "unscrupulous" carefully. Njsustain (talk) 21:32, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Your suggestion that "unscrupulous" and "erroneous" are interchangeable synonyms is highly unscrupulous erroneous. Logical Cowboy (talk) 18:06, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
More absurd is the notion that we should accept Martin/Manners' contentions on their face, simply because they're published. Assuming they're transcribed accurately, what a bunch of nonsense. I continue to assert that an expert on manners is not, by default, an expert on tea, afternoon, high, low, iced or whatever kind you might care to trot out. Moreover, I'm making no claims to be found false (we'll leave the whole "can't prove a negative" quandry aside), simply reverting edits sourced by an unreliable source expressing a personal opinion held by the source and the editor using it. Where is Martin's scholarship in the field of tea? Or in linguistics? She has none; she's a self-appointed expert on manners, nothing more. The editor's wholly inappropriate assumption that Martin's insinuation that calling afternoon tea "high tea" is somehow a misrepresentation for fraudulent reasons (and thereby unscrupulous) should somehow means it's erroneous utterly falls apart. --Drmargi (talk) 18:53, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Whether Martin's source is valid or not is besides the fact that no one has provided a source backing up the claim that afternoon tea is called "high tea" in the U.S. Drmargi's comments about Martin's background do not disprove her authority, and further, being an expert on linguistics does not make a person an authority on whatever subject they wish to talk about. I think that an etiquette expert is indeed the most authoritative expert on tea services. Tea is not an academic subject, so I'm not sure what exactly would make someone an "authority" to Margi's satisfaction. Whether certain text should be included or removed from an article needs to be decided based on verifiable sources, not on philosophical discussions on the evolution of language, whether an author's writings are in disagreement with your beliefs, whether you feel another user is angry or uncivil, or a person's ability to transcribe printed text (which are free to look up before questioning its validity). Njsustain (talk) 20:08, 27 March 2012 (UTC)


A book by Judith Martin was used as a reference to use of the term "high tea" in the United States, i.e. that it is often used erroneously to refer to afternoon tea. The text and reference were both deleted by an editor who has placed a conflicting, unsourced, claim in the article, and believes Martin's expertise on the subject is questionable. Njsustain (talk) 19:25, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

I think you will wish to move this to a "Threaded Discussion" section at the bottom of the page.
In the US idiom to which I am accustomed, "High Tea" is often used to mean "formal" as in the term "high Church" referring to a more formalized liturgy than the "low" (minimalist) form. American Anglophiles and persons who are traveled tend to make the distinction that High-Tea is late (primarily because it seems to very important to our European cousins that we make that distinction!), but not use the term because of the confusion it generates. Otherwise, inviting one to "tea" may well imply a Tea Party in American usage. The confusion is not great, simply because the time of the invitation is the clarifying factor no matter what it is called. --cregil (talk) 07:13, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

So... Please explain the nature of the RfC.

  • Is the question whether Judith Martin is a source?

Judith Martin is a source, in and of herself, in the States-- a cultural icon of sorts known as "Miss Manners" in her newspaper column (like a modern Emily Post).

  • What sort of source would be expected for idiomatic uses of any term beyond a recognized familiarity with social customs, and confusion? If she wrote that a substantial number of Americans wrongly believe that afternoon tea is equivocal to High Tea-- she is correct. And she did write of it.
  • I did a quick search: "Judith Martin" OR "Miss Manner" "High Tea"
  • Another one: "Emily Post" "High Tea"
  • Both searches resulted in hits regarding the common confusion in the States with High Tea and Afternoon Tea.
  • From and American perspective, those two would be the principle sources of etiquette (and faux pas) in the US.--cregil (talk) 15:01, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Regardless, Judith Martin (Miss Manners), Emily Post, and Leticia Baldrige (let's throw her in for good measure, since she's published on the subject) are experts on manners and etiquette. That does not make them experts on tea rituals or on the evolving use os the terms "afternoon tea" and "high tea" in the United States, just on which spoon to use, who to serve first and when to say please and thank you. That makes their reliability as sources of the contention that the terms high tea and afternoon tea are "erroneously" used interchangeably questionable at best. Language evolves, American English is a different language that British English, and what is incorrect in the United Kingdom is not necessarily incorrect here. Martin and Post are expressing their opinions based on a desire to cling to British social custom, nothing more. On that basis, the contention that afternoon tea is erroneously referred to as high tea, or that Americans confuse the two falls apart. There's simply no need for the distinction here, so the two terms are used interchangeably; HT by most (who probably never give a second thought to the origins of the use of the word high in this context, but probably equate it with some level for formality) and AT by some who are more conversant with British tea time practices. --Drmargi (talk) 17:43, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I would question whether this is a legitimate RfC because I don't see the initial statement as "neutral" (see WP:RFC). With that said, the key point for me is that the source did not actually say that US usage is "erroneous." That was WP:OR on the part of Njsustain. I don't care if this source is used--just quote it accurately. Logical Cowboy (talk) 18:00, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
We have two associated issues here: the accuracy of the quote and the reliability of the source. Both are now under question, which makes the edit doubly unsuitable unless consensus can be reached that it should be included. --Drmargi (talk) 19:00, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The source looks perfectly acceptable to me. I think the quest for a suitable expert on tea rituals in the United States and the terms used for them might be a bit of a long search, and in the absence of one, an etiquette expert seems fine. Her opinion doesn't need to come into it, though - she's definitely not saying it's 'erroneous', she says it's 'unscrupulous', but we can simply use her as a source to state that 'high tea' is sometimes used to imply high society. ~ Kimelea (talk) 21:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
And meanwhile there is still no authoritative source that says high and afternoon tea are interchangeable in the US. So why is it stated as such in the article? Njsustain (talk) 14:32, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
In response to Kimelea, there are plenty of notable American experts on tea rituals, including James Norwood Pratt, Michael Harney, Jane Pettigrew and Mary Lou Heiss (just to name four), as well as Dorothea Johnston and Bruce Richardson, who publish specifically on tea etiquette, customs and history. Each of them has specific scholarship and/or professional experience with one or more aspects of tea rituals in America. Any of them is far more reliable a source than an octagenarian expert on general manners with no tea scholarship. Meanwhile, Njsustain, your argument is an evasion. The point is the source you cite is both unreliable (i.e. lacking any specific expertise in tea customs, history and rituals) and misquoted. The reliability and accurate citation of source can be challenged without a source to counter what you wish to add to the article. --Drmargi (talk) 14:45, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
OK Drmargi, maybe you could find a source from one of those tea experts that comments on this issue of high vs afternoon tea in the US? Ideally we would find a quote that acknowledges both your perspectives, or two quotes, ie. Source X says that the terms are interchangeable but Source Y says that the British definitions should be maintained. ~ Kimelea (talk) 14:55, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Once this issue is resolved, I may. Pratt is particularly notable for his comments about how American tea drinkers have taken the rituals of a number of other cultures and, rather than adhere to them slavishly, made them their own. Right now, however, the issue at hand is the reliability and quotation accuracy of a specific source, and all addition of a new source will do is further serve to muddy the waters. --Drmargi (talk) 14:59, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, you think so? Njsustain is objecting because your counter-claim is unsourced. I think your position would be much stronger if you referenced it, and if you managed to find an alternative claim that makes the same point Martin is making but in a source you consider reliable, we might have a situation you're both happy with. Clearly this article needs to state both your positions if they are both supportable. As it stands, Martin is the best source we have on the issue.
By the way, you said Pratt made comments about American tea drinkers - we need to be careful in that case as this article is about meals called 'tea', which do not necessarily involve any consumption of the drink. ~ Kimelea (talk) 15:43, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I do. Njsustain is attempting to place the burden on me to disprove his/her claim by asserting (inaccurately) that I am making a counter-claim rather than addressing what I've actually done, which is simply to revert his/her edit. "Prove it shouldn't be there" is not how establishing reliability of a source works; it's the argument of someone in an indefensible position. The burden is on Njsustain to demonstrate his/her source is reliable, which thus far he/she has failed to do, and the issue at hand is the reliability of Njustain's source as well as how accurately it's quoted. That's why I decline to assume any responsibility for providing sources at this point in the discussion. As for my comment about Pratt, bear in mind that I'm paraphrasing informally and from memory to make a point about the availability of American experts, not citing to support a position. Parsing that comment as though it were an edit to the article is inappropriate in this context. --Drmargi (talk) 16:03, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Njsustain is trying to demonstrate that Martin is a reliable source by consensus. So far, three people who responded to the RfC (self included) have indicated implicit or explicit acceptance of the source itself, so long as it's accurately quoted (which it wasn't, but easily could be). If you can provide a better source that makes the same point, then Njsustain might be willing to replace Martin's quote with it, and we won't need to argue further about Martin. How about we focus less on who wins and more on the end goal - a satisfactory compromise, which there is ample scope for. Otherwise I can draft an alternate wording with what we've got and ask for consensus for it, but it would be much better if we only do that when we've got a nice balanced selection of sources on the table.
As for Pratt, I was only mentioning the distinction to make sure we're talking about the same thing, and to pre-empt you taking the trouble of digging out an otherwise perfect source that we can't use. I'm not fighting you, everyone here is trying to improve the article, so let's try to relax a notch. :) ~ Kimelea (talk) 16:20, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
If I may apply wit in what seems to be increasingly awkward?
I live in the States and grew up in the States: Tea, as a meal, is not of the American idiom-- no matter what it is called. There simply is no question as to the confusion. "High Tea" is in the common vernacular, here, but for many (I suspect, for most) it is not used regarding a meal-- ever; and for the same sizable portion who might use the term, most likely implying a four o'clock or late afternoon event, and even then a "tea party" will ensue.
By the way, so little use of the term "tea" other than regarding a beverage is made in the States, that we only expect to hear it, or to receive an invitation with the word, the next time a Royal weds. America is a big place and with many blended heritages. This RfC is like asking whether or not a New Yorker knows to remove the corn husk from a tamale when dinning in Texas. You had better warn them, just to be sure-- because we know, from experience, many will try to eat the husk. Does that require a source? Okay: The Great Tamale Incident
There is either a great conspiracy to fool the world into believing that a sizable percentage of Americans misuse the term (conspirators creating web pages, writing in newspaper columns and contributing to Wikipedia) OR, it might just possibly be that those of us who participate in the American culture and its idioms, have learned that there really is significant confusion. It simply is what it is. Outside of providing a source for the existence of the G.H.T.C.A. (Great High Tea Conspiracy in America) Theory, I think there is no issue remaining.
Sheesh, this is why I prefer coffee.--cregil (talk) 19:38, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
As I see this, Drmargi wants it both ways. She wants to say that afternoon is called high tea in the US without a source, but doesn't want it said that they are different meals, even though there is a source. She wants the source I provided to be considered unreliable because it conflicts with her beliefs, i.e. because she says so, and uses the catch all excuse that language "evolves".* Sorry, but that is not adequate reason to put this alleged information in an encyclopedia. I'm not insisting that the wording I had used (and I don't believe it is inaccurate... something isn't inaccurate simply because you say it is) be kept in the article, only that the unsourced misconception that high and afternoon tea are interchangable be removed.
*I remember a Ph.D. candidate of the English language using the word "literally" for a figurative statement. When I called her on it, she insisted that the meaning had "evolved" as language does, using her Ph.D. candidacy and the field in which it was being pursued as her reason why her pronouncement was unanswerable. Sorry, but it was a ridiculous statement and I figuratively laughed in her face. The word has a specific meaning, and it was literally being used for the exact opposite meaning. If a term has evolved to mean something else, so be it, I am not one to argue with it if that has actually happened. However, in this case, it has not. Flammable means inflammable, but literally does not mean figuratively, and high tea does not mean afternoon tea. That you have been using the term your whole life does not mean you haven't been doing so mistakenly. Njsustain (talk)
So let's summarize: Judith Martin is allegedly not reliable regarding tea services because she is A) old, B) an etiquette expert, and C) saying things that contradict DrMargi and LogicalCowboy's longstanding incorrect usage of certain terms. See, this is why I stopped actively editing articles (see my home page). I am reading an article and see an error, so make an edit based on reliable things I've read. Someone's feathers are ruffled, so I dutifully provide a source. But that is not good enough... Cue the wikilawyering, pseudointellectual doubletalk, and endless debates that promote things that fly in the face of WP's standards. If you don't like me, fine. If you believe that afternoon tea is called high tea in the US, fine... you are entitled to your opinion in both cases... but neither opinion is reason for including unverifiable text or removing verifiable text from an article. For all the rantings about how Judith Martin supposedly knows nothing about tea (despite being an expert in American etiquette, present and historically dating back hundreds of years, British etiquette, European etiquette, Victorian etiquette, and international protocol) and that so and so and so supposedly know lots more about tea, I have yet to see a single quote from another even allegedly reliable source refuting any of my original statements. Njsustain (talk) 22:21, 26 March 2012 (UTC) The russian tea room high tea seems like a special event. The Russian Tea Room is a very well respected tea room With a long history of serving people in New York City. When I went there I was told that Johnny Depp had been there the day before. Is the menu for high tea helpful To deacribe an American definition of high tea? Thepoodlechef (talk) 21:09, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Returning to topic[edit]

This discussion has wandered far afield of the original issue at hand: the reliability of an expert on general etiquette to determine whether Americans erroneously call afternoon tea "high tea." The source was challenged to two bases: a) the mis-interpretation of a direct quote and; b) the suitability of an expert on manners and behavior to determine what is semantic/linguistic issue: whether there is a meaningful distinction between high tea (a meal not eaten in the US) and British-style afternoon tea (a custom practiced in the US, and often termed "high tea") in the United States. In Great Britain, there is the need for such a distinction as the British consume a meal they term "high tea" or just tea; in the US, there is not as we have no such usage. The question then arose: is at least some Americans' practice of using the term "high tea" to refer to "afternoon tea" erroneous or just a natural evolution of language where no meaningful semantic distinction exists.

One editor cited Judith Martin, the aforementioned etiquette expert, who believes the use of "high tea" to be erroneous. And perhaps, from her perspective monitoring behavior at the tea table, it is. But that doesn't give her the credentials to reliably comment on an issue of semantics, nor does she have sufficient scholarship on tea to represent herself as an expert in tea history and customs in the US. As such, I challenged the reliability of the source, and continue to do so. Regrettably, since then, the editor citing Martin has engaged in a campaign of repeated personal insults, uncivil discourse and diversionary argument based on his/her assumptions about our beliefs without addressing the issue of Martin's expertise head-on and thereby working toward consensus. The result is we have gotten nowhere. I am now requesting Njsustain please engage in constructive and civil discussion, and remain on the original topic. Hopefully, then, we can reach an outcome favorable to all concerned without what is looming as the next step, use of ANI. --Drmargi (talk) 00:43, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree that NJstain has violated WP:CIVIL. The terms ad hominem and projection come to mind. For my own part, I never said a word about "usage of terms" and NJstain is not in a position to comment on my "longstanding" usage. Let's get back to the point that we are trying to write an encyclopedia here. Long, belligerent ad hominem rants on Talk pages do not get that done. Logical Cowboy (talk) 00:53, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I find it a bit ironic that in response to a request to get back on topic, the immediately precediing response was off topic and in itself an ad hominem argument. I will however assume that "NJstain" was an inadvertent misspelling, both times, rather than uncivil namecalling.Njsustain (talk) 20:23, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
It does not appear to be a linguistics issue. I think it is ignorance of the etymology and (most of all) of the European custom which has some (probably, most) Americans refer to afternoon tea or even a tea party as "high tea." That is to say, I do not think the meaning is changing, I think it is simply misused.
Intrigued with the notion of it being considered a linguistic matter, I added that word to a Google search and came up with a Cognitive Linguistics Conference schedule with the words: "High Tea: 3:30 pm to 4 pm." Don't you just love irony?
Google search will favor results based upon your location. When I search for "High Tea" from a computer in Austin, the majority of items are about the American confusion of the term. I suspect when someone in Ipswich searches, that person would see none of those items-- and thus blissfully unaware of the lack of precision of our muddled usage in this regard. (I got to use "muddled" in a sentence!"). The point is, virtually all the pages mentioning "high tea" in the States are about the misuse of the term.
As for the American standard usage, The American Heritage Dictionary (our standard), reads... high tea: British A substantial meal that typically includes tea, a hot course, and bread and butter, served in the late afternoon or early evening.
Therefore, it seems to me that inclusion of that confusion in the US is worth placing in the article, and a source of that (from where I sit) is unnecessary as it is falls into the category of common knowledge. --cregil (talk) 02:07, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
So you are claiming that if a statement is unsourced, and another source says the opposite is true, the original statement can still be left in the article if enough people in the discussion decide that they don't agree with the conflicting source, and the statement is simply "common knowledge." I thought WP content had to be verifiable via secondary sources, not a matter of what passes a popular vote. Am I wrong? Again, I am only interested in seeing the false staement removed. Even if Judith Martin's statement is not accepted (though I find no sensible reason not to) as reliable, this would all just go away if someone could show a source that supports the statement for which I requested a source... and sorry, "common knowledge" is not a verifiable source. I see no reason not to remove the statement at this point in time. If I did so, would I be considered "uncivil?" Considering the time and vigor people have put into this argument, one would think that if a source stating that high tea and afternoon tea could be use interchangably would have surfaced by now. Even if Ms. Martin as a source is in dispute, I think it is safe to say that no source at all is indiputably an unrealiable source. Njsustain (talk) 17:28, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

No. I am saying that misuse of the terms in the States is common knowledge. What would you like as evidence? Google search using: America "high tea" "afternoon tea"

It is clear from those, alone, that afternoon tea is mistakenly called "high tea" in the US by many-- in that those seeking to assist in avoiding the common faux pas begin their web sites and blogs with such advise.

I think the RfC has been answered. The term "interchangeable," was not of the RfC. That word is not precise, and "unscrupulous" is an odd word choice, but the core issue was about American misuse of the term "high tea" and Miss Manners as a viable source for such (correct) information.

More people in the States know who Miss Manners is than have ever held a tea of any kind. The Internet search provides ample support, Miss manners agrees, and so would most Americans if they had ever been invited to a "high tea" and went away unexpectedly hungry-- but at least early enough to fix dinner.

To be quite blunt, if an American invites someone to tea, it is probably out of pretension... "pinkies out" is quite definitely a joke, here, no matter what social class; yet the sight of a porcelain tea pot, a plate of scones, and a china dish filled with jam at 3:30 in the afternoon in the den of a friend will be accepted readily enough for what it is-- a means to make a guest feel spoiled, special, and welcomed-- and very likely, it will be called "high tea." --cregil (talk) 06:00, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

OK, thanks for clearing that up. Well, I agree that including that information in the article would be okay, if it is clear that the use is a misuse. This would be similar, for example, to including (aks) as a common pronunciation of "ask", as long as it is clear that it is a mispronunciation, and not simply a valid and accepted result of "evolution of pronunciation." Njsustain (talk) 20:23, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposed Change[edit]

I suggest the United States Section be changed to the following (I'm avoiding using the radioactive word "erroneous", though I still think it is the most appropriate word):

Teahouses provide luncheons, cream tea, and afternoon tea. These venues are often used for special occassions, sometimes referred to as "tea parties." Afternoon tea is also available at some high-end hotels. The practice of referring to afternoon tea as "high tea" is considered incorrect, or even "unscruplous" by many. "High tea" in the traditional sense of an early evening meal, is rarely served in the United States.
Njsustain (talk) 12:27, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

This is unacceptable for several reasons: a) it operates on the assumption that the average American knows and recognizes a difference between afternoon tea and high tea when no such difference exists in the U.S.; b) that anyone shares your view that it's incorrect (which is synonymous with erroneous) much less the laughable notion that it's considered unscrupulous by anyone other than you to mix the two terms, particularly in a place that doesn't make the distinction that underpins your assumption; c) it's contradictory, given the British-style high tea is not a meal served in the U.S. and; d) it is unsourced.

We are no longer a British colony nor do we share meal-time vocabulary or customs with the British, and yet this comes at the subject from the assumption that we should and do share the a British point of view and vocabulary, a fallacious assumption that is again, unsourced. The average American has much wider concerns than finessing the difference between high and afternoon tea as taken by the British, and many, if not most, are blissfully unaware of their customs and language; go take a peek at the articles for Doctor Who or Top Gear to see how often British English spelling/dates/vocabulary are changed to American equivalents by perfectly well-meaning Americans who simply do not realize there is another way things are done in the English-speaking world much less another standardized version of English. How can we expect this coffee-drinking citizenry to make a distinction between two terms that simply lack any every-day meaning to them? The only people I'd expect to be tut-tutting about calling what the British consider to be afternoon tea "high tea" are tourists from the Commonwealth and a small number of anglophile Americans, most of whom probably do so knowing there simply is no meaningful distinction between the two in the U.S. This proposed revision has a British, not an American point of view, and makes assumptions about average Americans I argue are not widely held and cannot be supported by reliable sources. --Drmargi (talk) 14:10, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

The proposed change is fine. Sources and examples of the misuse of the term are easy to locate-- I provided the first four from a Google search, above.
In those same sources is the evidence that the term is not changing, but misused-- this is easily established and has already been done.
"Reliable source" for documenting the misuse of a term is a red herring and ignores the evidence already presented-- the misuse is easy to locate in abundant examples, as has already been done, and can easily be verified by any questioning reader. If one is waiting for a PhD to publish a paper for peer review on the use of tea-related terms in the US, then one is off the trail of the discussion.
The criticism above my comments suggests a shift in meaning rather than a misuse. Until the American Heritage Dictionary or another standard of English usage in the States says so, there is no support for that claim.
I recommend that you go with the accurately stated proposed change and move on from this discussion. --cregil (talk) 15:44, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
It's not considered '"unscruplous" by many.' It's considered "unscrupulous" by one source, Miss Manners, as quoted in BBW magazine, a periodical for large women. Let's stick to the original source and not make sweeping, unsupported statements. See also WP:WEASEL. Logical Cowboy (talk) 16:13, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Logical Cowboy, I quoted from the original source, not from BBW magazine. Drmargi, the term "high tea" is established earlier in the article, and is made clear in my proposed change as well. Lastly, I didn't say that the use was considered "unscrupulous by many". I said it was considered "incorrect... by many" and that the use was even considered "unscrupulous", even if it was only one source... which by the way is the only source we have seen so far.
Let's make this about the article, not about making this a British vs. US English battle, or "let's tear apart everything proposed by the person I have had a disagreement with." There is incorrect information in the article. I have proposed a change to correct it. No one else has come up with any sources to support the text I have requested be supported, because it is a false statement. Does anyone who disagrees with my proposed change have a better suggestion, or should we simply excise the unsourced, contentious statement from the article and be done with it?
Also: "no such difference exists in the U.S". Really? There has been no source forthcoming supporting this statement. Can we please stick to facts rather than the unfounded statements you keep repeating? See also ad nauseum. How do we expect people unaware of terms to understand their meaning? By having valid information here... which I proposed be added. Ignorance is the reason information should be presented... not a reason to block it. Njsustain (talk) 16:41, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Your proposed change above literally says "unscrupulous" "by many." There are no other words between "unscrupulous" and "by many." Your claim that you did not say "unscrupulous by many" is easily contradicted by reading what you wrote about four hours ago. Logical Cowboy (talk) 16:53, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
If you feel the wording was unclear, you could have proposed a change to iron it out, rather than call my statements erroneous or accusing me of using "weasel" words unethically. For example, "The practice of referring to afternoon tea as "high tea" is considered incorrect by many, and has even been called "unscruplous" (insert non-BBW reference here)." I will be happy to continue this discussion if the intention is actually to improve the article rather than simply to shoot down everything I say.Njsustain (talk) 16:58, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
I did not accuse you of being unethical, and you are not in a position to talk about my intentions. You are the only one here who is dragging this down to a personal level. WP is an encylopedia. It's about the text. Logical Cowboy (talk) 17:07, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── None of the discussion above addresses one of my key points and what's been the krux of the matter all along: the proposed revision is unsourced. Cregil, you may want to review the criteria for reliable sources; none of the three websites/four articles cited meets the criteria; they're minor sites with no evidence of fact checking or other key safeguards that makes their content reliable. In fact, had you read the third one on your list carefully, you would see the bulk of the discussion is about British afternoon tea, not what's done in America. Another is wholly about behavior at teatime, not about the use of the term itself, other than the author's opinion, based on British custom, that the term is used incorrectly. All four are clear that they are talking about British practices, and thereby come from an anglophile point-of-view about tea. They add no weight to the argument that "high tea" is an incorrect v. an alternate term for "afternoon tea" in the U.S. Njustain, you offer no sources at all.

As for the dictionary, if you attempt to look up multi-word terms in the dictionary, you'll often meet with no success. Dictionaries define individual words. However, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the established authority on American English, has the following: high tea noun chiefly Brit :

a fairly substantial late afternoon or early evening meal at which tea is served.

The definition just as adequately describes afternoon tea as it does high tea. Moreover, their English learner's dictionary elaborates by noting service of "...cold meat and sandwiches" Cold meat being a component of British high tea, and sandwiches of British afternoon tea. Then, if you check afternoon tea, there is no entry. In other words, it makes no clear-cut distinction between high tea and afternoon tea, and defines what it sees as the prevailing, correct American term: high tea.

Logical Cowboy, I agree about the use of the weasel words. They're just another problem with an already problematic, unsourced, revision. --Drmargi (talk) 17:36, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

In any case, whither we wander, there is no source stating that high tea and afternoon tea are interchangeable in the US, no matter how often one restates ones opinion on the matter. The actual sources which have been brought forth have been refused. There is simply no consensus on how "high tea" should be referenced in the section on the U.S.. There are sources which make the distinction between high and afternoon, and which say that the use for one to mean the other is incorrect, there are nowt which can be agree upon. As there is no consensus, and no sources, I see no reason not to replace the text with what I proposed, but without the last sentence which refers to "high tea." Unless a source can be found which clarifies what high tea refers to in the US and can agreed upon by everyone, I simply don't see how the term can be used in the article--this encyclopedic article.
I agree that this is an encyclopedia and that the Googled sources and "common knowledge" are not necessarily adequate, but I don't agree that someone who has written a dissertation on tea at Harvard's department of Tea studies is the only acceptable authority on the subject. I also strongly disagree that I offer no sources at all... I have offered a source, but it has been inexplicably refused by some for no reason which I accept as valid, even though no opposing sources have been offered by anyone else. I also disagree that I am the person dragging this to a personal level, though I believe that is being done in this discussion. I will be editing the article now, leaving out the contentious "high tea" matter. If anyone disagrees with the text, please improve rather than revert. We have discussed this long enough and need to agree to disagree based on the sources (or actually, the lack of "acceptable" ones thereof) on the matter. Njsustain (talk) 18:40, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Drmargi, I believe you are running in a circle. Your counterpoints have been addressed. Bringing them back up again and again is asking the rest of us to follow you in the circular path you have chosen. It is time for you to run alone or join the rest.
There is no "reliable source" of misused words and you must know that. By your logic, no words, therefore, are misused. That an unacceptable proposition and common sense prevents me (or anyone else) from joining you in defending it.
All of you can do the research on your own-- I am not doing it for you-- I merely showed you how. I am uninvolved editor here because of the RfC. Over the week or two, I have seen invitations and hotel billings using the term High Tea and offering no meal-- at mid-afternoon. Go look, I stumbled upon them and am not going to be tasked. Go do the work, and accept the results. From a US based server, Google will fill you with examples beyond your wildest imagination. The misuse is everywhere you look-- either in examples or in correction.
That the web pages speak of many things does not change the fact that they, each, write of the confusion and misuse of the term "High Tea" in the U.S.. Concede the point-- because that is the point. Not conceding that point by writing about what else is in the articles is obfuscating.
That your Webster dictionary and my American Heritage dictionary both indicate one single meaning shipwrecks your point that the terms' meaning has changed. Please stop insisting otherwise.
Words mean what they mean; and while meaning does, sometimes, change, there is no evidence that this is so regarding the term "high tea." Your own evidence, in fact, contradicts that claim.
"They add no weight to the argument that 'high tea' is an incorrect v. an alternate term for 'afternoon tea' in the U.S."
To the contrary, they do, indeed, make the point that the term is misused, not changed in meaning.
Finally, "unscrupulous" is an odd idiom and imprecise, and (like everything else I just wrote) saying so is repeating myself. One more time around that circular path? I don't think that term should be used
Demanding a "reliable source" is asking for a how many footnotes of how many pages? I imagine well over one hundred examples could be found, none of which are going to be accepted by your criteria as "reliable" yet all speak to the US idiom. Enough evidence, however-- if you do the search yourself-- exists to convince any reasonable person that the High Tea article on Wikipedia is not making up a fantasy about the American misuse of the term. And THAT is the point of the RfC and THAT point has made made over and over.
We are in an endless loop: "GOTO Top" --cregil (talk) 23:56, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Kimelea, cgiles, and I have all tried to work towards a compromise for the sake of consensus. I just hear the same circular reasoning and, ironically, ad hominem arguments repeatedly. Obstructing the process and filibustering on one person's part may have worked for the people supporting the "interchangable" statement in the article in that consensus has failed to have come about, but that does NOT mean that you may leave an unsourced statement in the article indefinitely simply because consensus is still pending. DrMargi, you have been asked repeatedly for a source to backup your statement in the article. The circular reasoning that "the term is correct because it is a valid term" does not justify its inclusion; claiming that my source, which states the opposite, is not a good source still does not justify the inclusion of the opposite statement; failing to reach consensus does not justify the further inclusion of the statement either. Further, may I remind you that WP:BRD is not a policy, and can't be used as an excuse for leaving in unsourced information. I agree that consensus has still not been reached, which is why I did not put my recently proposed text in its entirety in the article, but that does not mean you can keep leaving your unsourced information in the article, especially when the only sources that have been produced, whether you agree with them or not, say exactly the opposite of what you claim.
We have not agreed to what "high tea" means in the US, but that doesn't mean that you can keep your statement in the article. It is unsourced and you have failed to come up with a source despite repeated requests to do so. I recognize that there is not consensus, and am not trying to include my proposed text about high tea in the article at this point. But your statement needs to go, regardless of how much you disagree with me or how uncivil you think I am. If you want to threaten an ANI again, I welcome it so that other parties can see exactly what is going on here. Disagreeing with you is not uncivil, but failing to come up with any sources is a reason to remove your unsourced text, whether or not this endless circular discussion is still going on. Njsustain (talk) 01:00, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I will respond once I can process all the new verbiage, a fair bit of which makes little sense aside from telling me to do as I'm told. In the meantime, this is not a excuse to edit disruptively or to make a WP:POINT. Let's not add an edit war to the mix. --Drmargi (talk) 04:03, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

With all due respect, I did not start an edit war. You added text which was contrary to a source. You claim the source is invalid, but that doesn't give you the right to include unsourced information, nor to use BRD as an excuse to do so. You have failed to find anyone who has agreed with your claim that Judith Martin is not a valid source, other than LogicalCowboy, who was already vehemently on the "high tea" side, and has failed to give any arguments other than harping on me being "uncivil." Your claim to reverting my text is that I need to convince people that my source is valid. I disagree. Just because one person, you, believes it is invalid, does not make it so. Others disagree with you. Well, why does the onus to convince others fall only on me? Why do you have no responsibility to claim why your unsourced text should not be deleted?
I have done everything which needs to be done. I provided a source. I discussed. I requested a citation. I asked for additional comments. What are the results? You have failed to convince me or any additional people that my source is invalid. You have failed to provide a source to backup your claim. But you are claiming that *I* am telling you to do what you are told. No... it is the other way around. You are telling others to do what we are told. Sorry, but you have utterly failed to convince me that my arguments are unsound, nor that I am breaking any rules in reverting your unsourced claim. Without further input, I have no reason not to remove the unsourced text. It is not to "make a point." It is to improve the article by removing false information. You have failed to convince me or anyone else that it is false. It is now your responsibility to build a consensus that your unsourced (false) text should remain. Replacing your unsourced text repeatedly, and without a source, is edit warring. Njsustain (talk) 06:55, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
First of all, no one said you started an edit war. Please don't put words in my mouth. Second of all, please don't ascribe to me what is not mine -- you continually refer to "my text." There is no "my text" just the text that was in place before this discussion began, which you attempted to edit by adding a series of WP:OR and WP:POV statements backed up by an unreliable source and I reverted, citing WP:BRD, followed by the initiation of this discussion, which should have been halted all editing and been confined to the reliability of your source. Instead, it has slowly but surely become a panoply of diversionary discussions, repeatedly taken off topic in an effort to avoid what could, and should have been a very simple problem to resolve. That said, your recent edit to the article is both disruptive and tendentious; your comments here make it clear this is about winning, not about resolution-- if you can't have yours, I can't have mine or what you seem to think is mine. I've tried to take an AGF approach to this, aside from my (well deserved) warning about your confrontational rhetoric, and to confine my comments to the topic not the editor, something you and cregil have made all but impossible to do. Let's be very clear: WP:RS places the burden on the editor adding content to provide a reliable source to support their edit. I have yet to see a simple, reasonable rationale for why the source you wish to use is reliable. The rest is smoke and mirrors, and I refuse to be sucked into the diversionary discussion any longer. --Drmargi (talk) 07:38, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
You are taking this way to personally, claiming I put words in your mouth. I was simply referring to your own comment about edit warring. It's amazing that you don't see that all of your negative comments apply to yourself. What have you done to try to reach a compromise or to resolve the issue other than drag out a littany of WP guideline pages to refer to every time there is a point that you can't make a rationale rebuttal to, and claim I am being uncooperative (and by the way, again BRD is a guideline to attempt to resolve a disagreement -- clearly a failed one in this case -- not a policy you can claim to stop reverts or edits indefinitely). Other editors have come into the discussion, none of whom support YOUR diversionary tactics: to be clear, I am not insisting that my edit or source be put back in the article, so your claims that I am doing that are utterly without merit. I am simply saying that the unsourced statement that high and afternoon tea are interchangeable can no longer be kept in the article. Further, the discussion on this talk page for this article is NOT limited to the RfC about Judith Martin as a source. I accept that you are simply refusing to allow the source, even though no one agrees with your reasons. But I don't accept that you can keep that unsourced sentence in the article simply because there is a discussion on the talk page which you will never allow to end. To use your own words:
* Let's be very clear: WP:RS places the burden on the editor adding content to provide a reliable source to support their edit.
And I have yet to see a simple, reasonable rationale for why the unsourced statement you keep reverting to should remain. Your smoke and mirrors are no more acceptable than those you think I am using. Njsustain (talk) 10:25, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
And, by the way, DrMargi, you DID put in the text in this [edit] for which you are saying "There is no 'my text' just the text that was in place before this discussion began"... yes, the text you put in there, that is unsourced. And, frankly, your (meta-) ad hominem attacks against me are also not adding to the discussion either. You asked to return to the topic but every time I turn around there is another "NJsustain was disruptive so therefore he is wrong". If your discussion had merit you and LogicalCowboy wouldn't have to keep repeating this again and again to try to bolster it. If you feel I am still being disruptive (oh, and now you think cregil is also... what a coincidence that everyone who disagrees with you is impossible to work with) then please report me to the necessary authorities rather than endlessly claiming that my behavior is a reason to halt edits, simply because you say so. Now I will ask you again... please find reliable sources for any text you wish to include or revert to. Please work with other editors to build concensus... and please confine your remarks to the topic at hand and stop making ad hominem attacks (or meta-ad hominem attacks, if you will) to claim that the opinions of those who disagree with you are without merit. Also see WP:AOBF. Njsustain (talk) 10:46, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Njstain, stop putting words in my mouth.
  • I am not "vehemently on the 'high tea' side." I do not even know what the 'high tea' side is.
  • I did not say your edits are "disruptive," and obviously I did not say this repeatedly.
Earlier, you claimed that I said you were "unethical" but I never said that. Also you denied having written "'unscrupulous' by many" even though those were your exact words.
See also this list of other false claims you made on this talk page. [1]
We all try to WP:AGF, but when your comments are repeatedly filled with demonstrably false statements about what you and others have written, it does pose a challenge for other editors. Logical Cowboy (talk) 15:52, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not going to get into a he/said she said about your putting words in my mouth and taking my words out of context, etc. as it does not add to this discussion, and as Drmargi put it "I refuse to be sucked into the diversionary discussion any longer." I'll simply ask you as well to stop the meta-ad hominem attacks against my character and get back to the subject at hand, if there is one other than pointing out my alleged deficiencies. As far as I'm concerned, this can all be completely over here and now so long as the unsourced claim that high and afternoon tea are interchangeable in the U.S. is not restored to the article, especially claiming that this discussion is the reason to keep the unsourced and false passage in place in the article. As it says in BRD: don't get stuck on the discussion. It isn't BRDDDDDD either. Try to move the discussion towards making a new Bold edit as quickly as possible, preferably within 24 hours or, better yet, considerably less time than that. You want to have an iterative cycle going on the page itself where people "try this" or "try that" and just try to see what sticks best. (end quote) This has been going on for weeks and there is no reason to halt reasonable edits... such as removing unsourced information which no one has been able to justify for weeks. This isn't about "winning"... this is about false information in an encyclopedic article whose removal should be left in place. Njsustain (talk) 18:32, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break[edit]

I just caught up with the entire debate and.... learned nothing new at all. :( Surprised to see there are still no sources from the tea experts. So I'm going to ignore the personalities here and get straight to the facts as I see them. I would suggest everyone does the same and avoids "you" statements altogether.

  • Fact: In historical British usage, "afternoon tea" and "high tea" were distinct events.
  • Fact: Some Americans use the terms "afternoon tea" and "high tea" interchangably.
  • Not disputed: Those people use "high tea" because they think it implies "high society" in Britain. (Judith Martin)
  • Disputed position 1: The interchangable usage is based on a misunderstanding of the British term, and is therefore wrong. (supported by Judith Martin, though she didn't use these words)
  • Additional claim: The confusion is due to unscrupulous restaurants. (Judith Martin)
  • Disputed position 2: The interchangable usage is an evolution of language. There is no distinction between the terms in the US because there are no such meals for them to distinguish. If people use "high tea" to mean afternoon tea, or use the terms interchangably, there's nothing wrong with that and it has nothing to do with British usage. (unsourced)

Any corrections or disagreements with that? If not, I'll draft some neutral wording, and I suggest we leave out Judith Martin's "unscrupulous" claim and just use her as a source for position 1. But it would be much better if we had something from those tea experts to cite position 2. I take no side on the content whatsoever, we should be taking NPOV and reporting what the sources say. What do the sources say? It would be great to have the full Judith Martin citation we're quoting, for those of us who don't have the book or BBW mag ;) ~ Kimelea (talk) 19:51, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for the sensible statements. I also had suggested that the various points of view on the subject all be presented in the article, but that was not met favorably. I still support doing so if it is agreed that a sensible, neutral discussion showing all points of view is acceptable. Since the idea was met coldly previously, I saw no alternative other than to simply not say anything about "high" tea in the U.S., as there were no sources at all on the "interchangeable" position, and an "unacceptable" source (Martin) on the other side. I'm not sure how much is considered proper to quote from a copyrighted work here in WP discussions, but will be happy to take the time to type out the whole section from the book if I am advised that it is alright to do so. Thanks again for your analysis. Njsustain (talk) 20:08, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
It would be great if the personal comments and defensiveness in replies and edit summaries could stop on both sides. If we can't work together on this, we'll never get anywhere. Please make peace, dudes, so we can get the content right and move on.
I'm a long way from an expert on copyright, but unless Martin talks about afternoon vs high tea for pages and pages, I can't see it being a problem. There's a guideline here and a more detailed essay section here. It will, I'm sure, be properly attributed and is very pertinent to this discussion. ~ Kimelea (talk) 21:13, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Two problems: a) The high tea means high society statement is under dispute because b) Martin is under question as a reliable source. That issue, which is where we started, has never been resolved. The rest is tangental and add-ons, and until it IS resolved, NO additional or modified language will be acceptable. In addition, I question the appropriateness of Kimlea proposing any such language, as she was asked to return to the discussion and has a vested interest in the outcome. --Drmargi (talk) 20:51, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Many people have commented implicitly accepting Martin, Drmargi, and nobody has presented any evidence for why an etiquette expert is not a reliable factual source on tea-related semantics in the absence of a tea-related semantics expert. However, her facts are disputed so her statement is POV. Judith Martin is a reliable source for Judith Martin's POV, which we could easily present it as (see WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV). But we can only do that if there is a POV on the other side to counterbalance it. Can you help?
Being asked to return to the discussion does not mean I have any bias (I couldn't care less what Americans call their tea parties and why). If I have a vested interest in the outcome, it is for there to be one. ;) I firmly believe we can create a solution that satisfies both sides, and leave personalities out of it. Which WP editor proposes or phrases something, and their qualification to do so, is not an issue. Which secondary source says something, is an issue. ~ Kimelea (talk) 21:13, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Consensus is not a vote, nor is three "many", and the burden is on the person using the source to gain explicit consensus that it is reliable once it is challenged. I have no obligation to provide alternative sources, or any other "evidence", whatever that may be, although I have provided a list of experts who could be sourced. Martin is an expert on general etiquette, which includes tea time manners in its wide scope, not on how tea terminology is used, as I've said repeatedly. I have yet to see anyone establish how that makes her a reliable source on tea language, customs or history. All I see is the same couple people insisting she's reliable without ever addressing how or why, then letting loose with waves of irrelevant, diversionary verbiage. --Drmargi (talk) 23:22, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
What is an "explicit consensus"?
Surely you can't be saying that Judith Martin is not a reliable source on her own opinion? Or is it that you feel Judith Martin's opinion gives WP:UNDUE weight to a fringe perspective? I'm trying to reach a compromise that involves treating Judith Martin's quote as POV, and balances it with the other POV - your own opinion, as I understand it. Help me out. ~ Kimelea (talk) 23:48, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Kimelea, Yes. I think you have it correctly.
As for the quote from the Martin book, I found this:
While some unscrupulous restaurants try to make afternoon tea sound more "high society" by calling it high tea the word "high" is actually related to "It’s high time we had something to eat. – Martin, Judith, Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, p. 522
From what I have read, none of us likes the term "unscrupulous."
For etiquette, we (in the US) have sources which are considered reliable, Judith Martin (as Miss Manners) being the most well known at present I think; but I was taught in such things using Emily Post as the principle text as my upbringing predates Judith Martins publications. To whom else would one go for the distinction between afternoon tea or high tea; or between black tie, formal or semi-formal?
A quote from Wikipedia's article on Etiquette in North America: "Among the most prominent writers on North American etiquette are Letitia Baldrige, Judith Martin, Emily Post, Elizabeth Post, Peggy Post, Gertrude Pringle, and Amy Vanderbilt." Of those, I find Judith Martin by far the most mentioned in our present time.
Five quotes:
1 “Now, Afternoon tea is often confused with High tea, but there are some rather important differences.” here
2 “High Tea: Oddly enough, this isn't what most people think it is.” here
3 “Many in America still think that High Tea is the elegant tea and confuse it with the afternoon tea.” here
4 “Afternoon tea should not be confused with High Tea. High tea is ...” (cannot link this one)
5 “High tea is one of my favorite indulgences, and hosting one at home is in my (very) long-term plans. Since high tea is all about ritual, decadent treats and, of course, the best tea, a beautiful setting is a must. Here are my picks for creating a table worthy of the high tea tradition.” and here
No doubt The American Heritage Dictionary together with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary speak with the utmost authority regarding the North American idiom and both are in agreement that the term "high tea" regards a meal in the British sense.
  • Whereas, Judith Martin is a prominent authority on social functions and normative behavior in North America (a professional in that she is published and earns her living on it-- I do not think "professional" exists beyond that meaning in this context); and
  • Whereas, the term "unscrupulous" was used by her to refer to the hotels and not the American idiom itself; and
  • Whereas the American idiom is authoritatively stated to be the same as the British usage in the two competing standards of American usage of the term "High Tea;" and
  • Whereas countless local (U.S.) examples of "High Tea" references to afternoon events without a meal beyond scones can be found in an Internet search, and many searches can produce substantial results of teaching which presumes an American confusion of the terms,
Be it resolved that
* Judith Martin is a reliable source, who is adequately supported by substantial and relevant anecdotal evidence in her portrayal of many occasions of the term "High Tea" to be erroneously associated with a formalized afternoon tea contrary to the proper and authoritative meaning of the term as set forth in the standards of American English usage; and,
* Be it further resolved that we will endeavor to include this information in the article for the benefit of the non-British English speaking reader; and
* Be it further resolved that neither the inclusion of Judith Martin as the source, or the use of the quoted term "unscrupulous" need be used to relay this information to our readers.
I offer the above Resolution in good faith, finding it reasonable; but for integrity's sake, I should admit that I made my afternoon tea today, in a mug, with a tea bag (but I did pour boiling water from a kettle directly over the bag). --cregil (talk) 00:31, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

For what it's worth, here is the passage, starting on p. 520 of of "Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior: Freshly Updated" by Judith Martin, ISBN 0-393-05874-3, 2005. She discusses high tea in the last paragraph, and a tea reception elsewhere in the passage.

Afternoon Tea and High Tea

Dear Miss Manners: I should like to begin having tea on a daily schedule with friends stopping in, with or without invitations. At what time is “teatime,” and should coffee be offered or placed on the table?

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners commends you for attempting to revive another venerable tradition, that of being “at home” to friends in the afternoon. There are few more charming ways to spend an afternoon than to sit, surrounded by fine china and friends, wolfing down scones and bringing up epigrams. But she must caution you that even the most accomplished hostesses of Miss Manners’ day did not attempt it more than once a week. If you wish to test the water before jumping in even on a weekly basis-and water for tea should always be boiling—invite people for a specific day writing:

[centered:] Tea

Tuesday the seventeenth

four to six o’clock

in the lower left corner of your visiting cards. Later it may be “Tuesdays, four to six o’clock."

Tea is made by the hostess, in full view of the guests, symbolizing her hands-on care for her guests, even if everything else she offers them comes from the cook or the carryout. The proper method is this:

Place on a tray a large silver or copper kettle over an alcohol burner, and a tea caddy with the teapot, cups (which have been warmed with boiling water), teaspoons, a slops bowl (for the dregs when giving a second cup), a tea strainer, a milk pitcher (cream would be horrifying), a bowl of lump sugar, little plates, and napkins.

Rinse the teapot with boiling water. Give your teaspoons a chance to do the job for which they were trained (instead of sneaking out for dessert) by putting in one teaspoon of loose tea (tea is claustrophobic and hates being stuffed into little bags) for each tea drinker, plus one. Now pour on the rapidly boiling water from the kettle (with more always ready in the kitchen). When the tea has steeped for about four minutes, ask your guest of honor how she takes it. Using the strainer, pour straight from the pot for strong tea, and dilute it from the kettle for weak. Then add sugar (the reason for using lump sugar is so you may ask the traditional “One lump or two?") and milk, according to her taste. (According to dear Evelyn Waugh, “All nannies and many governesses… put the milk in first,” which gave rise to the disparaging remark, “She’s rather milk-in-first, darling.")

When this ritual is performed, the guest takes her tea from the hostess, or if there is a gentleman present he takes it to her. She then takes a plate, napkin and a modest selection from your platters of hot breads, tiny sandwiches, cookies and cake. If you become addicted to this form of entertaining, you may need to move on to stronger doses, such as the reception, which is tea served in the dining room. The tea service is placed at one end of the table, and the teacups, napkins, plates, forks if needed and a larger supply of tea food (at least two of each kind mentioned above) go in the middle. At the other end stands an urn of chocolate, bouillon or, more often lately to Miss Manners’ dismay coffee. You may ask friends “to pour,” that is, to serve the tea and chocolate for you, as you move among your guests. Being asked to pour is an honor just short of knighthood.

However much this may sound to the contrary a tea is an informal party and your guests may wear whatever they normally wear when out in the afternoon. To Miss Manners “informal” means the flowered dress, pearls, gloves and picture hat one wears between lunch and dinner; others may be in the habit of wearing street clothes. The hostess unfortunately may not wear a hat, another advantage to being a guest now and then.

The traditional time for tea is four o’clock, which is perfect if you have your afternoons free. However, coffee is only one of the sad things that has happened to tea over the years. Some people have the idea that there is something more important to do in the afternoon than sip tea and eat buttered bread—such as earning a living.

If you have friends who work, Miss Manners suggests that you schedule your tea on a weekend or at a time convenient to them on their way home, when you could give them yet another variation, high tea, so as to replace, rather than interfere with, their supper. High tea is more substantial in all matters of food and drink than afternoon tea. It could include a whiskey and soda tray Along with the dainty foods traditional to afternoon tea, there are soft-boiled eggs, sausages, sardines on toast, kippers, chicken livers and such. While some unscrupulous restaurants try to make afternoon tea sound more “high society" by calling it high tea, the word “high” is actually related to “It’s high time we had something to eat." As social events go, high tea is lower on the scale than afternoon tea, because the chances of being fed dinner are small on a day you are given high tea. In that respect, it is like the “cocktail buffet ” than which there are few lower social events.

[end quoted text]

Njsustain (talk) 00:40, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Full disclosure: My afternoon tea was also from a bag, was drunk at a high table, and I was wearing nowt shoes nor socks at the time. But I did have a proper supper, with water, after six. Njsustain (talk) 00:54, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
All becomes clear. :D I started reading and thought "good grief! Do Americans take this woman seriously??" and within a few paragraphs I answered myself "nope, nope they don't." That means her "unscrupulous" statement makes much more sense. She doesn't really feel the restaurants are unscrupulous any more than she really feels it's wrong to put the milk in first. (Which is, of course, absurd. Everyone knows the milk goes in first. Next she'll be saying the jam goes on before the clotted cream in a cream tea.)
In light of this, and thanks for typing it up NJsustain, I feel more strongly that we should not use her to make a factual claim about the wrongness of getting the terms mixed up, and especially not that it is unscrupulous to do so. Taking her statements out of their tongue-in-cheek context would be a mistake. At the same time, I feel more comfortably confident in using her as a reputable example of the POV on that side of the debate.

Afternoon tea is available in some high-end American hotels and teahouses. This service is sometimes referred to as high tea, causing confusion. Etiquette authority Judith Martin ("Miss Manners") maintains that high tea and afternoon tea should be distinct from each other, and rejects the implication that high refers to high society. [JM citation] However, XYZ says that the term high tea in the United States has evolved a different meaning from its British definition, and means a formal tea party or afternoon tea. [XYZ citation]

How does that look to everyone? Feel free to make other suggestions in our pursuit of balance...
Full disclosure: I had chicken for my tea, with corn on the cob, about six. And then I had some rice pudding. Tea was not involved. ~ Kimelea (talk) 02:43, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Unacceptable. Judith Martin remains an unreliable source, and until such time as a reliable source can be found to support the new language, it cannot be included. --Drmargi (talk) 02:53, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Having read the original text from Judith Martin, it's clear to me that Judith Martin is no expert. She's a parody of an expert. It's worth getting back to the original article, Tea (meal). This is an enyclopedia article that describes tea the meal in general, and to some extent, international variants. It is an article about what happens in reality, not what ought to happen. That is, WP is not an etiquette guide. (See WP:NOTGUIDE.) I'm not sure we need a section at all in tea, the meal, about the US. Tea is not really a meal in the US, any more than "coffee" is a meal. (Sometimes food is served with coffee, but that does not make coffee a meal.) I see even less need for a discussion of what ought to happen at tea, the meal, in the US. Logical Cowboy (talk) 03:27, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Kimelea, I typed that up mainly because I thought people would find it interesting. You did, so mission accomplished. I, honestly, didn't think think that it would help to move things forward, and I see I was correct. I know when one is talking to a wall. In any case, as "XYZ reference" has not come about in these many weeks, despite the unfounded claim that there are allegedly experts who would suit certain people. Until it does, I don't see how "high tea" can be mentioned in the U.S. section as there is nothing by any source we have seen on the matter, other than Martin's. Therefore, any further other discussion on the matter is moot. Thank you, Kimelea, and cregil, for your sincere attempts to improve Wikipedia. Njsustain (talk) 12:02, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I didn't think much of it at the time, but in my searches for examples, I was surprised to see several Australian uses of "high tea" for afternoon, teas rather than meals. I also ran across one in the Netherlands (albeit, a site apparently intended for American tourists). Soon after, the perspective shift out of my North American universe was forced when I saw a statement to the effect of "outside of Britain, high tea is is often mistaken... ." It seems, then, that the confusion exists throughout the English speaking world.
I also ran across a site on tea etiquette which I found, when attempting to link as an example in an above comment, had been "blocked" by Wikipedia. Forbidden etiquette websites-- Really? And it seemed so innocuous. Little did I suspect the passion behind such matters. It amuses me that I recently witnessed similar passion on Wikipedia concerning the article on Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. Then again, we had a President whose political career was significantly marred by attempting to eat a tamale without first removing the husk while visiting Texas.
As for the above proposal, the xyz citation is not going to be forthcoming. Again, the standard for English usage is the dictionary-- not popular misconceptions. Popular misconceptions and misuse of terms can lead to changes of meaning, but until the standards of language say so, the misuse is not so wide-spread as to be an accepted usage. Meanwhile, I have a proposal which has not yet received comment. Perhaps you may honor my involvement with comment?
By the way, I believe the reference to "milk in first" originated with Emily Post (or someone else), and merely used by Martin as something of a bons mots.--cregil (talk) 14:55, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
To honor your involvement and sincere attempts to work towards consensus, I will comment. I agree with your proposal 100%. Njsustain (talk) 18:11, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Firstly, I agree that the US sections should reflect US English usage not usage from any other country. This is not a US/UK dispute.

It does seem though that there is some disagreement between reliable US sources and current practice in some restaurants concerning high tea in the US. I think the article should reflect that, giving precedence to US reliable sources. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:22, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Going back to the original RfC-- the matter was about a reverted statement being unsourced; and the forthcoming source, apparently, had been Judith Martin. Using Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources Judith Martin is published with over a dozen books (e.g., W. W. Norton) and countless syndicated column articles (through the Washington Post), is a recognized authority on social etiquette in North America (which includes tea), and she is referenced as a source by others. I believe we are done. --cregil (talk) 06:33, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
The RfC was simply the first of a long, long line of verbiage and misdirection designed to avoid addressing the fundamental problem of reliability of sources. The original issue predates the RfC, and that was Martin's reliability as source to establish appropriate usage of the terms afternoon tea and high tea, tea terminology and the evolution of tea vocabulary not being an element of etiquette. On those, she has no expertise, and thus is not a reliable source. --Drmargi (talk) 07:05, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
But, as Crews Giles says, you have a reliable source. What reason is there to discredit it? Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:09, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I have no such thing. Please read the discussion from the beginning. The source is tangentally and peripherally related to the subject matter at best. --Drmargi (talk) 13:06, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

No. Drmargi, it IS the subject matter-- and it is so in your own words: "the fundamental problem of reliability of sources."

Judith Martins expertise and reliability have been established to Wikipedia's standards. That reliability has been established for Judith Martin does not allow a "fundamental" issue to become a "tangential and peripheral" issue.

In fact, Judith Martin is, arguably, the most notable source presently used in the article (most of the sources used in this article are travel guides and etiquette books).

She uses the term High Tea in accordance with the standards of English usage (dictionaries) which makes null and void the arguments about her establishing "appropriate usage." or that the term has "evolved" at all.--cregil (talk) 13:58, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Nonsense. Martin is one of several "experts" who write on a very wide range of social behavior which captures, among many, many other things, manners and social behavior at tea time (along with other meals). I have yet to see one word written that establishes how that makes her an expert on the correct usage of American English-language terms derived from British English, or how that usage evolves. That is the province of a linguist. The dictionary business is just smoke and mirrors, with no meaningful connection to what she writes about. Moreover, your so-called standard of English usage don't even agree on the use of high tea v. afternoon tea, so there's no support for your dictionary-as-final-word argument, which again, is a secondary issue. You can stand on a skyscraper shouting that Martin is a reliable source until you're blue in the face, but until you provide a convincing argument how she can be viewed as such, and to date, I have yet to see any argument at all, I will continue to challenge her and her writings. --Drmargi (talk) 14:19, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
1st: Not "nonsense." What I wrote was perfectly clear. You are bordering on a violation. Engage what I wrote and not me.
2nd: Martin is an expert-- as good as any; and quoting the word experts is weaseling. It does not matter why you do not wish to concede Martin as an expert-- but she remains so with or without your consent.
3rd: That you have yet to see a word establishing Judith Martin as an expert on correct usage... is a red herring. She is an expert on etiquette, including the social aspects of meals, of social teas, and any related faux pas-- such as your own implicit claim that in North America, High tea has come to mean a formalized afternoon tea. If one calls an afternoon tea which is not a meal a high tea in the United States, one has made a small social error-- a faux pas. A primary source for such knowledge is, in the US and Canada, Judith Martin.
4th: The dictionary may be "smoke and mirrors" to you-- but to rest of the planet, it is the standard for usage. It is not a matter of your opinion-- not mine-- not even the opinion of single linguist. The dictionary is the accept standard.
5th The American Heritage Dictionary has been considered the standard of American usage for decades. Some prefer the Merriam-Webster. Those two are in agreement (you write, "don't even agree")-- and neither states that high tea is the same as afternoon tea. Judith Martin uses the term high tea just as the dictionary states it ought be-- and in fact is. By the way, those dictionaries are not "my" standards of English usage, rather, they are "the" standards. Judith Martin using the term as the standard (compiled and edited by expert linguists) cripples the claim that Miss Manners must be an expert linguist to use the term in accordance with the standard or to correct one who uses the term contrary to the standard. And in that, I believe, is where you will find the circular motion of your argument becomes blissfully flattened.
6th You wrote, "but until you provide a convincing argument..." I have done so. She is well published by notable publishers; she is referenced by other sources; she is an expert-- that is the trifecta of a reliable source according to Wikipedia's policy and THAT leaves you in a position of needing to prove the negative-- you must prove that she is not.
NOTHING of what I have just written is new to this discussion. Your claim, therefore, that you have "yet to see any argument at all" is spurious. You have seen the arguments and chosen not to acknowledge them; but and instead, merely repeating that you want Judith Martin to be a linguist, denying the dictionary as authoritative, and then, without any support of your own, demanding that the article acknowledge your belief that the term high tea has changed in meaning despite what experts and authorities state.--cregil (talk) 19:02, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I really can see no argument here. Martin clearly is a reliable source on this subject and, in the absence of a reliable source to the contrary, her opinion should be in the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:20, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
How is Martin reliable, given her expertise is tangentally related at best? Can you tell me? No one else has, just insists over and over that she is with no foundation for their position. All I hear is that she is well-published, but on etiquette, not tea. She has no expertise in that area aside from the matter of manners when consuming the meal. Use of correct teatime vocabulary is unrelated to etiquette, and is a topic on which she has no expertise, and thus, is not a reliable source. --Drmargi (talk) 21:24, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Other editors have explained this quite clearly above. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:32, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Where? All I see is a lot of verbiage about how often she's published on an unrelated subject (etiquette) and a lot of insisting she's reliable because her books mention tea. That falls wide of the reliable sourcing mark. --Drmargi (talk) 21:35, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

High Tea for Anglophiles[edit]

As you say, Drmargi, (on my talk page) America has few tea rituals and little knowledge of the finer distinctions in the language of tea except among Anglophiles. The point of that picture (removed) was to show how the Anglophiles are drinking their own High tea... It was a picture from a Shri Lanka High tea, one of the countries of the former British Empire, and that is why it was not a duplicate, just showing how former British Empire people drink their tea (or eat their tea..) and go for it. Hafspajen (talk) 17:32, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

You lost me. How is it that a table set for afternoon tea, which is putatively in Sri Lanka, demonstrates how Anglophiles (a term applied to Americans who enjoy British traditions, television and travel) take "their own [afternoon] tea" whatever that may be? Based on the label you originally gave it, that picture was taken in a hotel, and the tea custom is probably a left-over from the era of Empire designed to serve tourists. How that demonstrates what you claim is very difficult to understand. Moreover, "Empire people" covers a huge range of territory, and most tea customs may have evolved or disappeared in the years since Imperial occupation ended. One picture of one table that could just as easily be in a London hotel demonstrates nothing, and is very similar to the picture that has been in the article for some time. (BTW, the photo in place was taken at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia) --Drmargi (talk) 17:50, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Well than, sorry to lose you. Hafspajen (talk) 17:58, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Do you have anything to contribute that's germane to the discussion, or are you leaving with a (not very) witty epigram? --Drmargi (talk) 18:03, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Just try to be nice. Polite. Hafspajen (talk) 18:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree, but only ironically. HashtagGloat Njsustain (talk) 16:26, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Um, let's WP:FOC. Logical Cowboy (talk) 18:14, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Um. The only comment I will add (for Logical Cowboy) is that Afternoon tea, is the meal done in the English tradition, NOT American. That is why the article should deal with the British traditions, and not the American way of drinking tea. American tea culture will deal with those issues. And what place a photo is taken is not really germane, since it is a good illustration of (in this case) the meal of the Afternoon tea. There is no better or clearer picture on this subject, I did checked the whole Commons. Hafspajen (talk) 19:17, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
This article is not about British tea practices but about the tea as a meal, which is taken in many countries; France for example has a whole tea ritual very different from that of the British. Afternoon tea is served in the U.S. and therefore should be discussed in this article. There is bound to be a certain amount of overlap with the article on American tea customs, just as their is with article on British practices and on tea itself. --Drmargi (talk) 19:42, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Afternoon tea v. Low tea[edit]

There's a bit of an edit war developing over the use of the term low tea. A couple of editors are insisting the term low tea is used only in the U.S., adding WP:OR comments, and generally disrupting the article. I am an American and a very regular practitioner of tea rituals in the U.S. and UK, and I assure all and sundry that Americans do not use the term low tea at any time. Rather, they tend to mis-use the term high tea as a generic term for either British-style afternoon tea as well as a teatime custom observed in small tearooms that more or less reproduces the tea parties we had as little girls (fussy table settings, food much like afternoon tea, silly hats, etc.) The Oxford English dictionary (a dictionary of British English) may (erroneously) attribute the term to America, but it does not appear at all in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definitive dictionary of American English. And in the battle of sources, the American dictionary wins.

Meanwhile, the most reasonable solution to the problem seems to be to remove the reference to low tea entirely, and simply leave the term afternoon tea. I suspect the term has popped up among people mistakenly assuming the opposite of high tea must be low (rather than afternoon) tea, rather than it being something that is actually used on either side of the pond. --Drmargi (talk) 21:27, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Drmargi. I don't have ready access to the OED, but I doubt that it says that low tea is American usage and not British usage. I would like to see the direct quote from the OED. Logical Cowboy (talk) 21:33, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
It's in the online version, but bases the attribution to the U.S. on an 1883 (yes!) cite from one of those ladies home manuals. Not exactly up-to-date. I'm for removing it, which stops the problem, then getting some good American sources and developing the section discussing American afternoon tea customs. --Drmargi (talk) 21:46, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

I don't know how to respond so I'm adding in here. I am the one who brought in the usage in OED because I was told I had to cite a source (most other pages ask for a source, they don't delete and THEN ask for a source). In the OED, the date given for a word or phrase is the first known use; the fact that it does not then say "obs" (obsolete) means that the dictionary compilers have found regular usage since then in American written sources. It is already 20 volumes; adding more recent examples would be impractical. They have not found any usage in British written sources. I did not say that Americans use the term for American customs, but I have repeatedly found American websites, American newspapers and publications, and tours round homes, are telling people that the British use the term low tea. Despite having cooked in stately homes and castles in Britain since 1973 - including some very upmarket events involving European nobility and British aristocracy and royalty* - I have never heard the term in UK. Personally, I wouldn't use the term at all; as said above, it seems like a creation to oppose high tea, not understanding the use of the word high in that context. I am very sad that when a discussion is being held under the general heading of "United Kingdom and Ireland", Webster's dictionary is thought to be more important than OED. I had not realized that Wikipedia was American, I thought it was international. "And in the battle of sources, the American dictionary wins." This also saddens me, but there isn't really any point in me adding anything when that is the opinion on this site.

  • Please don't have a go at me for boasting, I'm only trying to show I actually have some knowledge on the subject. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:10, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Afternoon tea, unfortunatelly for all Americans who edit this article is still the meal done in the British-English tradition, NOT the American way. It is just the way it is. That is why the article should deal with it in the lead with the British traditions, because the whole thing about Afternoon tea is an offspring from the British traditions, as introduced by Anna, Duchess of Bedford, in 1840 England, thus not in America. The lead should deal with the main issues. Afternoon tea is a British tradition and it is not the American way of drinking tea, even if there, like other countries, some American people (nice people) do drink tea, and sometimes even drink afternoon tea to, but it is still not an American tradition. American tea culture will deal with those issues. American tea culture is the article for everyone who likes to develop the go on American . Hafspajen (talk) 22:13, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Drmargi's use of WP:LEDE was correct. A bigger problem, though, is that you have been introducing oddly sourced material into this article, in odd places. For example, you inserted the statement "The term low tea is not used in Great Brittain" (sic) in a section that says little about low tea. It's unclear what this statement even means. Do you mean the term was never used, ever? Or not since 1998? 2008? What if someone uses the term tomorrow, would you delete that statement? It's vague and sweeping. Also, the source has no page number given. I am skeptical that the source actually made such a sweeping statement. Could you provide a direct quote from the source that supports your point? Logical Cowboy (talk) 22:29, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Be as sceptical as you wish but please do AGF. If you are referring to the content remove here, the sources do indeed say that which was removed. If anything, the problem with that contribution was its close resemblance to those sources but, of course, it is difficult to paraphrase short statements. FWIW, I'm a Brit from a working-class background who went to Cambridge University and has spent much time in places as high-falutin' as the House of Lords and as common as the pubs of Salford, as well as being reasonably well-read in English literature of the 19th and 20th centuries: I've never, ever heard of a "low tea" until seeing this article. You cannot expect me to provide a source for that because, of course, it is usually difficult to prove a negative. And, yes, this article looks skewed to me: taking "tea" as a repast is indeed a British tradition, not French etc. As an analogy, just because older people around the world tend to take an afternoon nap doesn't mean they are taking a siesta. - Sitush (talk) 04:39, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
  • A quick GBooks search supports the claim that "low tea" and the myth of tables etc is an Americanism, although the sources seem often to be poor and there is some confusion regarding whether it is a synonym for "afternoon tea" or "high tea". Perhaps the tables thing is not a myth in the US but it certainly is elsewhere and the sources that use it are typically US-centric. The OED is a dictionary of the English language, not the language of England: please do not confuse the two. - Sitush (talk) 05:41, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A few clarifications for all and sundry. 98.111, you've misunderstood what I said above. The suggestion was not that Merriam-Webster was the definitive dictionary under the UK section, but rather that it was the definitive dictionary for American English, and thereby the etymology of "low tea" in American English usage. You and Sitush can attempt to, from the UK, treat English as one language, but it is in fact two: American English was standardized differently than British English from the founding of this country by one Noah Webster; the OED is based in British English and is not regarded in academic circles (something we should at least attempt to be) the definitive dictionary of English as is spoken in the U.S. Worse, OED's reference to an ancient, and minor, ladies home handbook as the source for the use of low tea (and very possibly the source of the various usages on an assortment of sites not exactly known for there tea expertise) is, if anything, sloppy scholarship. I've never hear the team low tea (v. high tea) used in the U.S. and never seen it in any of the sizable number of well-researched books on tea customs in the U.S. written by American authors. The travel websites and tour guides are far from authorities on anything so comprehensive as the use of an obscure tea-time term in the U.S.. What you've got is what we call an urban myth that's hopped the pond via the fertile internet.

That said, the collective can attempt to claim tea as a meal as something exclusive to Britain and Ireland (where it's one more sad remnant of an enforced culture), but the fact remains France, Canada, and the U.S., no doubt along with other countries, have tea-as-meal customs that are may at times draw from British custom, but also are unique to their homelands. It's reasonable to expect the content of this article be appropriately and sufficiently sourced, but not to try to shut out countries other than the UK where teatime meal practices exist. (Oh, and Sitush, it's easy to fling around "ownership", but to my mind, that's usually a tired claim that is far more difficult to prove.) --Drmargi (talk) 08:54, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

where it's one more sad remnant of an enforced culture - we can do without your twat-ish opinions, thanks. - Sitush (talk) 09:05, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Sitush, it is really not WP:CIVIL for you to say that another editor's opinions are twat-ish. In fact I think this borders on harassment. Would you say that to her face? Please cool down and apologize to to Drmargi. Let's keep things in perspective--this is an encyclopedia article about a relatatively minor meal. Logical Cowboy (talk) 11:30, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
It isn't really civil to introduce personal opinions about the Brit-Irish relationship into an article about a meal, either. And they've had a habit of introducing irrelevancies like this and of engaging in original research. Drmargi has been doing this here for ages, from what I can see, and there are loads of US-published books in the search results that I gave which use the "low tea" phrase but none that I can find that emanate from the UK. This rather deflates the pond-hopping urban myth idea: it is perhaps a myth but it is not one that has hopped the pond unless Drmargi can produce some evidence for that. So, no apology. - Sitush (talk) 11:36, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

"You and Sitush can attempt to, from the UK, treat English as one language, but it is in fact two: American English was standardized differently than British English from the founding of this country by one Noah Webster". I'm sure the tone was not meant to be as complacent and patronising as it reads but you completely misread me, from the USA (the relevance of where we are is what?), if you think I treat English as one language. Surely the fact that I say American usage is different from British made that clear? Actually, it is many-faceted - more people in the world speak English than Brits and Americans. I am sorry that I did not manage to explain adequately that the OED's reference is the EARLIEST reference they have found. "Ancient" (not so much) and "minor" reference though it may be, OED does not make value judgements, they record the earliest use. But surely it is irrelevant whether the American dictionary records the use of "low tea" or not. It is not a term that Brits use, so whether academic circles in US recognise this source or that is irrelevant; the point is that Brits do not use it, as OED shows, and searching for examples of not using it "since 1998? 2008?" is bizarre. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

English is one language with many dialects, British and American being two of them (This wiki article shows just how many dialects there are ). You're entirely wrong when you say English is two languages. Also this seemingly endless argument about the US vs. UK use of tea/afternoon tea/high tea/low tea should be used as a reference for a wiki article on 'First World Problems' (talk) 12:39, 2 July 2015 (UTC)


WTF is Elevenses doing in this article? It is called "elevenses" when it is called anything at all, not "tea". Just because some people may drink a cup of tea and eat a biscuit does not make it "tea (meal)". This article has completely lost focus, confusing a drink with a quintessentially British term for a repast eaten in the afternoon or early evening. I defy anyone to find a source that treats "elevenses" as synonymous with "tea"; the source that we do cite says no such thing and is dreadful anyway. - Sitush (talk) 05:04, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Actually, I've just removed it along with a bunch of other stuff. I've read this talk page and it strikes me that there may have been some ownership issues. - Sitush (talk) 05:21, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Butter, margarine and reverted non-minor bold change[edit]

@Drmargi, I think I can assume by now that your statement "Let's take it to the talk page" has slipped your mind regarding your reinstatement of @Andek's bold edit (clearly incorrectly marked as "minor") as no post from you has appeared here. Also, per WP:BRD (though I'm sure with your level of experience you are familiar) after the bold edit has been reverted, those supporting the edit ought not only to discuss their rationale but not simply reinstate it. So if you take away the disputed change again and lay out your case, we can take it from there. Mutt Lunker (talk) 19:50, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to merge "Tea (meal)" with "Snack"[edit]

Just from reading this article, "tea" in this context seems to mean what Americans call "snack." Because I am personally from the United States and I have never heard anyone use the term "tea" to mean a small meal in the middle of the day. So therefore, since the two articles seem to be about the same thing, they should be merged, unless someone can prove that "tea" (as a meal) and "snack" do not mean the same thing. Also, many of the articles about this topic in other Wikipedias, like the Portuguese one and the German one, seem to use words that literally translate to "snack" in English as their title for the article. Or if the term "tea" is used in reference to meal specifically in Britain (which is what it seems to be) then make it more clear that this article is talking about a specifically British custom. Or maybe add something at the top of the page that says something like "For a similar meal that is practiced in the United States and Latin America, see Snack" or something like that.

A snack is nothing like a small meal in the middle of the day. Americans snack on the fly, in the car, at work, or wherever all day. Tea is more structured, more formal, and is taken at a specific time of day. They are nothing alike. Moreover, your lack of familiarity with the British culture is a major factor here. Tea, especially afternoon tea, is a long-held, deeply engrained British tradition of which you are clearly unaware. We have nothing like it in the U.S. You may want to talk to some British editors who can bring you up to speed before you move forward with any effort to merge this article with something as broad as snack. Finally, the burden is on you to build consensus for a merge, not for others to "prove" it shouldn't be merged. --Drmargi (talk) 17:26, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
If you re-read the article, anonymous proposer, you will see that for many people (in Britain and Australia, among other places) tea *is* the evening meal. It is nothing like a snack. It has courses, and involves sitting at a table, with cutlery. And that's not even considering the ramifications of afternoon tea. A merge is inappropriate. As a separate matter, I note your concern that multiple articles exist under the titles of foreign words for "snack". You might want to consider making a merge proposal along those lines, on the talkpage of Snack. Remember to link the articles, and please sign your comments. Carbon Caryatid (talk) 17:37, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Good points, Carbon. Building on that, it's important to point out that afternoon tea is taken in the United States. Many up-market hotels offer afternoon tea at least on the weekend, very much in the British style (although the food tends to be more American in my experience), and there are numerous small British-themed businesses that offer afternoon tea. It's very much present in the U.S., just not a part of the fabric of meals in the manner it is in the UK. This just isn't snacking as we Americans do it. --Drmargi (talk) 20:52, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

About "exporting the habit of dunking"[edit]

The portion saying "The British habit of dunking biscuits in tea has been exported around the globe.[14]" is simply ridiculous (or perhaps tongue-in-cheek, therefore inappropriate in an "encyclopaedic" context), as dunking isn't associated with any one nation; rather, it common human behaviour observed throughout history, all around the world, as the article itself notes elsewhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:40, 23 February 2017 (UTC)