"small, ornamental napkin," 1714, short for doily-napkin (1711), from doily "thin, woolen fabric;" supposedly from Doiley, surname of a noted late 17c.-early 18c. dry-goods dealer on London's Strand. Doily earlier meant "genteel, affordable woolens" (1670s), evidently from the same source. The surname is d'Ouilly, from one of several places called Ouilly in Normandy.
1839, "cafe," American English, from Mexican Spanish cafeteria "coffee store," from café "coffee" (see coffee) + Spanish -tería "place where something is done" (usually business). Sense shifted by 1890s to "self-service dining establishment." The ending came to be understood popularly as meaning "help-yourself" and was extended to new formation with that sense from c. 1923.
Examples of the thing itself date to 1885, but they seem to have become established first in Chicago in the early 1890s by social and philanthropic organizations (such as the YWCA) to offer working girls affordable, fast, light meals in a congenial atmosphere. Their popularity waned after c. 1926, eclipsed by coffee shops, lunch counters, and sandwich shops. Industrial plants began to add them in 1915; schools and colleges followed.
early 15c., populer, "public, commonly known," from Old French populaire and directly from Latin popularis "belonging to the people, general, common; devoted to or accepted by the people; democratic," from populus "people" (see people (n.)).
Meaning "of or pertaining to the people; depending on the people," especially the common people, is from 1540s. Meaning "suited to ordinary people, easily comprehended" is from 1570s in English; hence, of prices, "low, affordable to average persons" (1859).
The meaning "well-liked, admired by or enjoying the favor of the people" is attested from c. 1600. Of art, entertainment, etc., "favored by people generally" from 1819 (popular song). Related: Popularly. Popular Front "coalition of Communists, Socialists, and radicals" is from 1936, first in a French context.
Popular sovereignty, in U. S. hist., the theory that the right to decide whether slavery should exist in a territory rested with the people of that territory, and not with Congress. It was advocated especially by Democrats during the period 1847-61, and its leading champion was Douglas. It was often termed "squatter sovereignty," with which it was nearly identical. [Century Dictionary]