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Tea and sympathy

Posted by Masakim on November 15, 2002

In Reply to: Tea and sympathy posted by gorio on November 15, 2002

: I've heard of this term being used, but I am not sure what it exactly means. Anyone have a clue?

Tea and sympathy. Caring and hospitable behaviour towards a troubled person. The phrase comes from the title of Robert Anderson's play of 1953 about the problems faced by a sensitive teenage schoolboy accused of homosexuality. The 'tea and sympathy' in question is provided by the housemaster's wife. A film version followed in 1956.

All you supposed to do is every once in a while give the boys a little tea and sympathy.
ROBERT ANDERSON: _Tea and Sympathy_, I
From _Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable_ by Adrian Room