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[key-ter] /ˈkeɪ tər/
verb (used without object)
to provide food, service, etc., as for a party or wedding:
to cater for a banquet.
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.
verb (used with object)
to provide food and service for:
to cater a party.
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 forms
cateringly, adverb
uncatered, adjective
uncatering, adjective
2. humor, indulge, please. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for caters
  • The hospital caters for the treatment of heart, lung and eye problems.
  • The island caters, almost exclusively, to scuba divers and snorkelers.
  • In the winter, the hospitality industry caters to workers from the oil patches.
British Dictionary definitions for caters


(intransitive; foll by for or to) to provide what is required or desired (for) to cater for a need, cater to your tastes
when intr, foll by for. to provide food, services, etc (for) we cater for parties, to cater a banquet
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for caters
1600, from M.E. catour (n.) "buyer of provisions" (c.1400), aphetic for Anglo-Fr. achatour (O.N.Fr. acatour), from O.Fr. achater "to buy," orig. "to buy provisions," perhaps from V.L. *accaptare, from L. ad- "to" + captare "to take, hold," freq. of capere "to take" (see capable). Or else from V.L. *accapitare "to add to one's capital," from verbal stem of L. caput (gen. capitis). See capital.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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