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.
- (intr; 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
“provide food for,” c.1600, from Middle English catour (n.) “buyer of provisions” (c.1400; late 13c. as a surname), a shortening of Anglo-French achatour “buyer” (Old North French acatour, Old French achatour, 13c., Modern French acheteur), from Old French achater “to buy,” originally “to buy provisions,” perhaps from Vulgar Latin *accaptare, from Latin ad- “to” + captare “to take, hold,” frequentative of capere “to take” (see capable).
Or else from Vulgar Latin *accapitare “to add to one’s capital,” with second element from verbal stem of Latin caput (genitive capitis); see capital (adj.). Figuratively from 1650s. Related: Catered; catering.