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See more synonyms for cater on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to provide food, service, etc., as for a party or wedding: to cater for a banquet.
  2. to provide or supply what amuses, is desired, or gives pleasure, comfort, etc. (usually followed by to or for): to cater to popular demand; to cater to an invalid.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to provide food and service for: to cater a party.
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Origin of cater

1350–1400; v. use of obsolete cater, Middle English catour, aphetic variant of acatour buyer < Anglo-French, equivalent to acat(er) to buy (see cate) + -our -or2
Related formsca·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·ca·tered, adjectiveun·ca·ter·ing, adjective

Synonyms for cater

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for catering

gratify, humor, purvey, supply, procure, outfit, pamper, spoil, indulge, baby, coddle, provision, furnish, cotton, victual

Examples from the Web for catering

Contemporary Examples of catering

Historical Examples of catering

  • The very thought of catering to such appetites disgusted Gallatin.

    Albert Gallatin

    John Austin Stevens

  • “Yes; but I vote we do something in the catering line first,” was the answer.

    The Three Midshipmen

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • He was catering for a gourmet in Furneaux, and rose to the requisite height.

  • He knew her independence of thought and action; it brooked no catering for favors.

    Flamsted quarries

    Mary E. Waller

  • They were worn out with centuries of catering to themselves.

    The Crossing

    Winston Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for catering


  1. the trade of a professional caterer
  2. the food, etc, provided at a function by a caterer
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  1. (intr; foll by for or to) to provide what is required or desired (for)to cater for a need; cater to your tastes
  2. (when intr, foll by for) to provide food, services, etc (for)we cater for parties; to cater a banquet
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Word Origin for cater

C16: from earlier catour purchaser, variant of acatour, from Anglo-Norman acater to buy, ultimately related to Latin acceptāre to accept
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

Word Origin and History for catering



"provide food for," c.1600, from Middle English catour (n.) "buyer of provisions" (c.1400; late 13c. as a surname), a shortening of Anglo-French achatour "buyer" (Old North French acatour, Old French achatour, 13c., Modern French acheteur), from Old French achater "to buy," originally "to buy provisions," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *accaptare, from Latin ad- "to" + captare "to take, hold," frequentative of capere "to take" (see capable).

Or else from Vulgar Latin *accapitare "to add to one's capital," with second element from verbal stem of Latin caput (genitive capitis); see capital (adj.). Figuratively from 1650s. Related: Catered; catering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper