Origin of waitering

First recorded in 1860–65; waiter + -ing1


  1. a person, especially a man, who waits on tables, as in a restaurant.
  2. a tray for carrying dishes, a tea service, etc.; salver.
  3. a person who waits or awaits.
  4. Obsolete. an attendant.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for waitering

Historical Examples of waitering

  • Every one of you felt convinced that you was born to the Waitering.

    Somebody's Luggage

    Charles Dickens

  • Waiteresses must not whistle while waitering on the tabel, because it isn't proper that they should.

    Mollie and the Unwiseman

    John Kendrick Bangs

British Dictionary definitions for waitering


  1. a man whose occupation is to serve at table, as in a restaurant
  2. 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
  3. a person who waits
  4. 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 waitering



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