tea bag

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a container of thin paper or cloth holding a measured amount of tea leaves for making an individual serving of tea.
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Origin of tea bag

First recorded in 1900–05

Words nearby tea bag

Other definitions for tea bag (2 of 2)

[ tee-bag ]
/ ˈtiˌbæg /

verb (used with object), tea-bagged, tea-bag·ging.Slang.
to place one's scrotum in the mouth of (one's sexual partner).

Origin of tea-bag

From its resemblance to dipping a tea bag in a cup of hot water
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does tea-bag mean?

Tea-bagging is the act of placing one’s testicles in the mouth of another person, often repeatedly, raising and lowering it like a person dipping a tea bag.

Content warning: the following sections include further references to sexual content, which is involved in the history and use of the slang term.

Where does tea-bag come from?

Tea-bagging takes its name from actual tea bags, little permeable sacks of tea leaves steeped in hot water for a cup of tea.

The sexual slang tea-bagging was first recorded in the 1990s. It’s a very colorful term for sucking on a partner’s testicles (or otherwise placing the crotch in someone’s face)—with the motion of lowering and raising one’s testicles out of another’s mouth, which is said to resemble the dunking of a tea bag into a cup of hot water.

The term was notably referenced in John Waters’s 1998 film Pecker. Tea-bagging became mentioned as a juvenile prank a guy performs on another when he’s asleep or passed out from drinking. Tea-bagging figures as such in episodes of the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia from 2006 and 2008.

The tea-bagging gag has also spread to video-game culture, where players tea-bag a fallen character by repeatedly kneeling and standing over their head, shoving their cyber-junk into the fallen cyber-faces. This ritual can be a show of dominance, performed by a killer over their victim, or bro-ish affection, done as a humorous tribute to a fallen comrade.

Tea-bagging in video games appears to have emerged in the late 1990s in first-person shooter games like Counter-Strike and Quake, when short closeups of murdered characters allowed other players to go over and tea-bag the dead person in triumph. It continues to be a common practice in games such as Halo and Call of Duty, where players take advantage of similar closeups and multiple perspectives to tea-bag their kills.

Teabagger has also been used as an insult for members of the conservative Tea Party political movement. Referencing the Boston Tea Party, members of the movement asked Americans to mail tea bags to Washington as a protest in April 2009. The insult, in many instances, has also punned on the sexual slang tea-bagging.

How is tea-bag used in real life?

While tea-bagging is used in genuinely sexual contexts, in popular culture the term is widely used to make various crass or disparaging jokes, including in video-gaming.

More examples of tea-bag:

“Getting teabagged is always a frustrating experience, mainly because it’s adding insult to the injury of in-game death, and even worse, it foster an unwelcome environment for those that might want to avoid triggering examples of sexual abuse.”
—Corey Plante, Inverse, April 2018

How to use tea bag in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tea bag

tea bag

a small bag of paper or cloth containing tea leaves, infused in boiling water to make tea
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