Posted by Joel on January 13, 2000
In Reply to: Re: Meaning of "not for all the tea in China" posted by Sarah on January 13, 2000
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I may not be offering anything that isn't pretty obvious. But tea was, has been, and is something that has a market all over the world. It was a customary drink in China, and it was cultivated there. Since China is a large country, it would contain a lot of tea -- and the tea would be worth a tremendous amount if it were made available on the world market. "All the tea in China" therefore translates to a considerable fortune. If you said "I wouln't do that for all the tea in China," it means: I wouldn't do that even if you paid me an enormous fortune.