cafeteria

[ kaf-i-teer-ee-uh ]
/ ˌkæf ɪˈtɪər i ə /

noun

a restaurant in which patrons wait on themselves, carrying their food to tables from counters where it is displayed and served.
a lunchroom or dining hall, as in a factory, office, or school, where food is served from counters or dispensed from vending machines or where food brought from home may be eaten.

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Origin of cafeteria

1830–40, Americanism; < American Spanish cafetería café, equivalent to Spanish cafeter(a) coffeemaker (< French caf(f)etière; café coffee + -ière, feminine of -ier -ier2; t apparently by analogy with words such as bouquetière flower seller, from bases ending in t) + -ía -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for cafeteria

British Dictionary definitions for cafeteria

cafeteria
/ (ˌkæfɪˈtɪərɪə) /

noun

a self-service restaurant

Word Origin for cafeteria

C20: from American Spanish: coffee shop
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012