Etymology
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cater (v.)

c. 1600,  "provide food for," 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" (see ad-) + captare "to take, hold," frequentative of capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."

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, "act as a purveyor," from 1650s. Related: Catered; catering.

updated on October 23, 2017

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Definitions of cater from WordNet

cater (v.)
give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance;
Synonyms: provide / supply / ply
cater (v.)
supply food ready to eat; for parties and banquets;
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.