a. A small open container, usually with a flat bottom and a handle, used for drinking.
b. Such a container and its contents.
2. Abbr. c. A unit of capacity or volume equal to 16 tablespoons or 8 fluid ounces (237 milliliters). See Table at measurement.
3. The bowl of a drinking vessel.
4. The chalice or the wine used in the celebration of the Eucharist.
5. A decorative cup-shaped vessel awarded as a prize or trophy.
6. Sports A golf hole or the metal container inside a hole.
7. Either of the two parts of a brassiere that fit over the breasts.
8. An athletic supporter having a protective reinforcement of rigid plastic or metal.
9. A sweetened, flavored, usually chilled beverage, especially one made with wine: claret cup.
10. A dish served in a cup-shaped vessel: fruit cup.
a. A cuplike object.
b. Biology A cuplike structure or organ.
12. A lot or portion to be suffered or enjoyed.
tr.v. cupped, cup·ping, cupsIdioms:
1. To shape like a cup: cup one's hands.
2. To place one's curved hand or hands over or around: cupped his chin in his hands.
3. To subject to the therapeutic procedure of cupping.
cup of tea
1. Something that one excels in or enjoys: Opera is not my cup of tea.
2. A matter to be reckoned or dealt with: Recreational sport is relaxing. Professional sport is another cup of tea altogether.
in (one's) cups
[Middle English cuppe, from Old English, from Late Latin cuppa, drinking vessel, possibly variant of Latin cūpa, tub, cask; see CUPOLA.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.