a person, especially a man, who waits on tables, as in a restaurant.
a tray for carrying dishes, a tea service, etc.; salver.
a person who waits or awaits.
Obsolete. an attendant.

verb (used without object)

to work or serve as a waiter: to waiter in a restaurant.

Origin of waiter

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at wait, -er1
Related formswait·er·less, adjective

Usage note

See -person.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for waiter

Contemporary Examples of waiter

Historical Examples of waiter

  • As the waiter would have refilled the glasses, Blythe stopped him.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Away runs the waiter to the bar, and gets the ale from the landlord.

  • I had given tea and a teapot, with instructions, to the waiter.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • No cover for one, nor filet, nor vin ordinaire, nor waiter had appeared.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • But then one rarely does in talking to a waiter when he is serving you.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

British Dictionary definitions for waiter



a man whose occupation is to serve at table, as in a restaurant
an attendant at the London Stock Exchange or Lloyd's who carries messages: the modern equivalent of waiters who performed these duties in the 17th-century London coffee houses in which these institutions originated
a person who waits
a tray or salver on which dishes, etc, are carried
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 waiter

late 14c., "attendant, watchman," agent noun from wait (v.). Sense of "servant who waits at tables" is from late 15c., originally in reference to household servants; in reference to inns, eating houses, etc., it is attested from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper