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[res-ter-uh nt, -tuh-rahnt, -trahnt] /ˈrɛs tər ənt, -təˌrɑnt, -trɑnt/
an establishment where meals are served to customers.
Origin of restaurant
1820-30, Americanism; < French, noun use of present participle of restaurer < Latin restaurāre to restore Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for restaurants
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That's what men get so tired of at restaurants; what they hate so when their wives ask them what they want for dinner.

    What Diantha Did Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • He found the restaurants moderate in price, and within his means.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • The cry for food became louder, although it was not heard in the hotels and restaurants where I ate.

    The Iron Ration George Abel Schreiner
  • Until then, he would stay at the flat, taking his meals at restaurants.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • Those who happened to be the lucky possessors of a few spare dimes, straggled off to restaurants.

British Dictionary definitions for restaurants


/ˈrɛstəˌrɒŋ; ˈrɛstrɒŋ; -rɒnt/
a commercial establishment where meals are prepared and served to customers
Word Origin
C19: from French, from restaurer to restore
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 restaurants



1821, from French restaurant "a restaurant," originally "food that restores," noun use of present participle of restaurer "to restore or refresh," from Old French restorer (see restore).

In 1765 a man by the name of Boulanger, also known as "Champ d'Oiseaux" or "Chantoiseau," opened a shop near the Louvre (on either the rue des Poulies or the rue Bailleul, depending on which authority one chooses to believe). There he sold what he called restaurants or bouillons restaurants--that is, meat-based consommés intended to "restore" a person's strength. Ever since the Middle Ages the word restaurant had been used to describe any of a variety of rich bouillons made with chicken, beef, roots of one sort or another, onions, herbs, and, according to some recipes, spices, crystallized sugar, toasted bread, barley, butter, and even exotic ingredients such as dried rose petals, Damascus grapes, and amber. In order to entice customers into his shop, Boulanger had inscribed on his window a line from the Gospels: "Venite ad me omnes qui stomacho laboratis et ego vos restaurabo." He was not content simply to serve bouillon, however. He also served leg of lamb in white sauce, thereby infringing the monopoly of the caterers' guild. The guild filed suit, which to everyone's astonishment ended in a judgment in favor of Boulanger. [Jean-Robert Pitte, "The Rise of the Restaurant," in "Food: A Culinary History from Antiquity to the Present," English editor Albert Sonnenfeld, transl. Clarissa Botsford, 1999, Columbia University Press]
Italian spelling ristorante attested in English by 1925.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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