Use of 茶 kanji in words like 無茶 and 滅茶 (めっちゃ)

i learned the word めっちゃ this morning, which Jisho defines as Kansai dialect slang meaning “very,” 'extremely," or “excessively.” while Jisho notes that the word is usually written using kana, i was interested to see that it is written in kanji as 滅茶. i was already familiar with 茶, of course, for tea. but 滅 was new to me; Jisho lists its meanings as “destroy, ruin, overthrow, perish.”

i found it amusing that the word for “extremely” or “excessively” was rooted in the idea of ruining tea; and it immediately reminded me of the WK vocab, 無茶, meaning “absurd,” and written with the kanji for “nothing” and “tea.” as an avid tea drinker myself, its always made a certain intuitive sense it would be “absurd” not to have tea. but now, having learned めっちゃ as well, i’m wondering why all these expressions involving tea, and what additional “tea” words are there that don’t really have to do with tea?

i’m guessing maybe that since Kansai (especially Uji) is an important tea-growing region, maybe more “茶” words come from there? but if @Leebo or anyone else has information about this interesting etymology, i’m certainly curious!

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Pretty sure it’s just ateji (kanji used because they match the sounds) with no deeper meaning than that. The kanji versions are not often used these days.

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thanks, Leebo.

There might be some kind of folk etymology or something that seeks to explain it, but I’m not aware of one.

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無茶苦茶!
Also if I were to make a green tea flavoured ice cream I’d call it めっちゃ まっちゃ.

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I wish I could give more than one like.

Yeah so those words have essentially lost their kanji and are almost always written in hiragana. I’ve shown Japanese friends the kanji before and they laugh and don’t believe me until they look it up themselves. It’s better to learn these word in hiragana as that is the way you’ll see them, using the kanji for them when you text or write in Japanese will look awkward.