The idiomatic phrase “to a tee” is a frequently seen and heard phrase that occurs in everyday conversation and writing. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and the story of its origin. You will also find some examples of proper usage in conversations/statements, as well as suggestions on alternative ways to convey the same meaning.
To A Tee
To A Tee Meaning
The idiomatic phrase “to a tee” means that something is perfect just the way it is. It is exactly right and requires no additional changes or further description.
Origin of this English idiom
Although there are a lot of theories as to where this phrase was born, the one explanation with the most evidence is that the phrase is a shortened version of the Old English phrase “to a tittle.”
The phrase “to a tittle” means the same thing as “to a tee” does today. That being said, it is likely that the phrase should properly be spelled “to a T” and that when written as “to a tee” or “to a tea” is a common misspelling of the phrase. The phrase “to a T” first appeared in the year 1607 in a piece of writing called The Woman Hater by author Francis Beaumont. Regardless of any misspellings, the phrase still means the same and “to a tee” is probably used by some because of its relation to the sports of golf and curling.
“To A Tee” Examples
Examples in Statements
A statement made by a police officer on the recent apprehension of a person.
- “This person fits the description that was given to use by the victims to a tee and is being questioned for the crimes as we speak.”
A statement given by a celebrity in a popular entertainment magazine during an interview.
- “I love this role. It was like it was written just for me. It fits me to a tee!”
Examples in Conversation
A conversation between a husband and his wife.
- Wife: I have no idea what to wear to your office party tonight.
- Husband: What about that black dress that I surprised you with a couple of months back?
- Wife: Oh! Yes! Perfect! That dress fits me to a tee!
A conversation between two students at school about a teacher they don’t like.
- Student 1: I can’t stand Mr. Grissley. He is so crabby!
- Student 2: Yeah! He is like an old ogre who is insatiably grumpy and never smiles!
- Student 1: I couldn’t agree more! That description fits him to a tee!
- You really look like my cousin. Almost to a tee!
- That description fits my personality to a tee.
- He repeats his delivery to a tee and generally maintains the same release point for each pitch.
Other Ways to Say “To a Tee”
Like most phrases, there are numerous ways to say “to a tee” and still convey the same meaning. Some other suggestions of how to say this phrase include:
- Like a glove
- Just right