cater

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See also: Cater and catèr

English[edit]

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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English catour (acater, provisioner), aphetic form of acatour (acater), from Old French achater (to buy, to purchase). Equivalent to cate +‎ -er.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

cater (third-person singular simple present caters, present participle catering, simple past and past participle catered)

  1. To provide, particularly:
    • a. 1635, Thomas Randolph, Poems, p. 4:
      Noe widdowes curse caters a dish of mine.
    1. (transitive, intransitive) To provide with food, especially for a special occasion as a professional service.
      I catered for her bat mitzvah.
      His company catered our wedding.
    2. (intransitive, figuratively, with 'to') To provide anything required or desired, often (derogatory) to pander.
      I always wanted someone to cater to my every whim.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

cater (plural caters)

  1. (obsolete) Synonym of acater: an officer who purchased cates (food supplies) for the steward of a large household or estate.
    • c. 1400, "Gamelyn", ll. 321 ff.:
      I am oure Catour and bere oure Alther purse.
    • 1512, Account Book of the Hospital of St. John, Canterbury (1510–1556):
      Rec. for iij calvys off þe cater of Crystis Cherche.
  2. (obsolete) Synonym of caterer: any provider of food.
  3. (figuratively, obsolete) Synonym of purveyor: any provider of anything.
    • 1590, Robert Greene, Greenes Mourning Garment, p. 28:
      The eye is loues Cator.
Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably ultimately from French quatre (four), possibly via cater (change-ringing), although Liberman argues for a derivation from a North Germanic prefix meaning "crooked, angled, clumsy" from which he also derives cater-cousin and, via Norse, Old Irish cittach (left-handed, awkward). He finds this more likely than extension of the dice and change-ringing term cater as an adverb, given the likely cognates in other Germanic languages. Caterpillar and caterwaul are unrelated, being derived from cognates to cat, but may have influenced the pronunciation of Liberman's proposed earlier *cate- or undergone similar sound changes.

Verb[edit]

cater (third-person singular simple present caters, present participle catering, simple past and past participle catered)

  1. (Britain dialectal) To place, set, move, or cut diagonally or rhomboidally.
    • 1577, Barnaby Googe transl. Conrad Heresbach as Foure Bookes of Husbandry, Bk. II, fol. 69v:
      The trees are set checkerwise, and so catred [Latin: partim in quincuncem directis], as looke which way ye wyl, they lye leuel.
    • 1873, Silverland, p. 129:
      Cater’ across the rails ever so cleverly, you cannot escape jolt and jar.

Adverb[edit]

cater (not comparable)

  1. (Britain dialectal, US) Diagonally.
    • 1881, Sebastian Evans, Leicestershire Words, Phrases, and Proverbs, s.v. "Cater and Cater-cornered":
      Cater and Cater-cornered, diagonal; diagonally. To ‘cut cater’ in the case of velvet, cloth, etc., is... ‘cut on the cross’. Cater-snozzle, to make an angle; to ‘mitre’.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From French quatre (four).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cater (plural caters)

  1. (rare, obsolete) Four.
  2. (card games, dice games, obsolete) The four of cards or dice.
    • 1519, William Horman, Vulgaria, fol. 280v:
      Cater is a very good caste.
  3. (music) A method of ringing nine bells in four pairs with a ninth tenor bell.
    • 1872, Henry Thomas Ellacombe, The Bells of Church, p. 29:
      The very terms of the art are enough to frighten an amateur. Hunting, dodging... caters, cinques, etc.
    • 1878, George Grove, A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, s.v. "Cater":
      Cater... The name given by change ringers to changes of nine bells. The word should probably be written quaters, as it is meant to denote the fact that four couples of bells change their places in the order of ringing.
Alternative forms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Ladin[edit]

Ladin cardinal numbers
 <  3 4 5  > 
    Cardinal : cater
    Ordinal : cuart

Etymology[edit]

From Latin quattuor.

Adjective[edit]

cater

  1. four

Noun[edit]

cater m (uncountable)

  1. four

Middle Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Noun[edit]

cāter m

  1. tomcat

Inflection[edit]

This noun needs an inflection-table template.

Descendants[edit]

  • Dutch: kater
  • Limburgish: kater

Further reading[edit]

  • cater”, in Vroegmiddelnederlands Woordenboek, 2000

Verwijs, E.; Verdam, J. (1885–1929), “cater (I)”, in Middelniederlandsch Woordenboek, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, →ISBN, page I