[kaw-fee, kof-ee]



Origin of coffee

1590–1600; < Italian caffè < Turkish kahve < Arabic qahwah Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for coffee

Contemporary Examples of coffee

Historical Examples of coffee

  • Miss Avice won't be down, sir, and I'm to fetch her up a pot of coffee, sir.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Another cup of coffee, Mrs. Davis," he said, passing his cup across the table.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • When he had eaten, he sat with his coffee for a final smoke of deliberation.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Hey, Scottie, shake up the fire and put on some coffee, will you?

  • The pouring of coffee may be done at the table or in the kitchen.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

British Dictionary definitions for coffee



  1. a drink consisting of an infusion of the roasted and ground or crushed seeds of the coffee tree
  2. (as modifier)coffee grounds
Also called: coffee beans the beanlike seeds of the coffee tree, used to make this beverage
short for coffee tree
  1. a medium to dark brown colour
  2. (as adjective)a coffee carpet
wake up and smell the coffee See wake 1 (def. 7)

Word Origin for coffee

C16: from Italian caffè, from Turkish kahve, from Arabic qahwah coffee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for coffee

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

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

Did you drink a cup of coffee on company time this morning? Chances are that you did--for the midmorning coffee break is rapidly becoming a standard fixture in American offices and factories. ["The Kiplinger Magazine," March 1952]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper