from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who serves at a table, as in a restaurant.
  • noun A tray or salver.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A watcher.
  • noun A watchman; a guard or keeper.
  • noun One who waits; one who abides in expectation of the happening of some event, the arrival of some appointed time, some opportunity, or the like.
  • noun A domestic servant.
  • noun A waiting-woman.
  • noun A man-servant who waits at table: applied more commonly to those who serve in hotels or restaurants.
  • noun An officer in the employ of the British custom-house. See coast-waiter, tide-waiter.
  • noun A tray; a salver.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who, or that which, waits; an attendant; a servant in attendance, esp. at table.
  • noun A vessel or tray on which something is carried, as dishes, etc.; a salver.
  • noun See under Coast, n.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A male or sometimes female attendant who serves customers in a restaurant, cafe or similar.
  • noun literally Someone who waits for somebody or something, a person who is waiting, the one waiting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a person who waits or awaits
  • noun a person whose occupation is to serve at table (as in a restaurant)


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Late 14th century, "attendant, watchman," agent noun from the verb wait. Sense of "servant who waits at tables" is from late 15th century, originally in reference to household servants; in reference to inns, eating houses, etc., it is attested from 1660s. Feminine form waitress first recorded 1834.



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  • Contronymic in the sense: active server vs. inaction, biding time.

    January 27, 2007

  • Jeeves was a butler rather than a waiter, but the equally celebrated Sam Weller appears to have worked in the latter capacity before he became Samuel Pickwick's manservant and started entertaining that distinguished gentleman with his Wellerisms.

    January 30, 2012