follow Dictionary.com

Winning Words of the Scripps Spelling Bee

cafeteria

[kaf-i-teer-ee-uh] /ˌkæf ɪˈtɪər i ə/
noun
1.
a restaurant in which patrons wait on themselves, carrying their food to tables from counters where it is displayed and served.
2.
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.
Origin of cafeteria
1830-1840
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for cafeteria
British Dictionary definitions for cafeteria

cafeteria

/ˌkæfɪˈtɪərɪə/
noun
1.
a self-service restaurant
Word Origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cafeteria
n.

1839, American English, from Mexican Spanish cafeteria "coffee store," from café "coffee" (see coffee) + Spanish -tería "place where something is done" (usually business). The ending came to be understood popularly as meaning "help-yourself" (as though café + -teria) and was extended to new formation with that sense from c.1923.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for cafeteria

cafeteria

modifier

Allowing a range of choice; Smorgasbord: cafeteria insurance plans (1980s+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cafeteria

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cafeteria

14
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with cafeteria

Nearby words for cafeteria