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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.
to provide food and service for:
to cater a party.
Contemporary Examples

So instead of the fans, Summerville attempts to cater to her director, her cast and, primarily, herself.
The ‘Catching Fire’ Costume Designer Talks the Dark Turn in ‘Hunger Games’ Fashion Amy Zimmerman November 21, 2013

Department stores opened to cater to an increasingly powerful middle class that no longer felt shy about displaying its wealth.
What Lies Beneath: How Lingerie Got Sexy Raquel Laneri June 4, 2014

Gambling in Macau is often set in HKD instead of the local Pataca, and businesses that cater to visitors accept Hong Kong Dollars.
Inside China’s Underground Black Market Banks Brendon Hong February 25, 2014

The company is launching a straight version this week (code name: Amicus) that will cater to heteros.
Hit Gay iPhone App Goes Straight Itay Hod September 6, 2011

And there will always be wealthy clients and as such, there will always be designers happy to cater to their desires.
Chanel, Armani, and Givenchy Present Their Haute-Couture Collections in Paris Robin Givhan July 3, 2012

Historical Examples

She does not handle quantities sufficient or cater for consumers enough to gain large knowledge of her business.
The home Charlotte Perkins Gilman

If he could cater for a month, no expense should be grudged; as for the future, he thrust it from his mind.
The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli

Our little friends prefer shelter to warmth, so cater to their taste in the placing of their drinking pool.
Garden Ornaments Mary H. Northend

When dealing with childish persons you have to cater to their whims.
Greener Than You Think Ward Moore

I saw cities and gardens built in triumph to cater for the gratification of every sense.
The Blue Germ Martin Swayne

(intransitive; 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.


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    diagonal. diagonally. adjective, adverb (US & Canadian, informal) diagonally placed; diagonal Also catty-cornered, kitty-cornered

  • Cater-cornered

    diagonal. diagonally. Historical Examples Well, it is off the left-hand side, kind of cater-cornered across from our building. Warren Commission (3 of 26): Hearings Vol. III (of 15) The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy I was hurty from head to toe and back again, and crosswise and cater-cornered. “Speaking of Operations–” Irvin […]

  • Caterer

    one whose business is to provide food, supplies, and sometimes service at social gatherings. one who caters. Contemporary Examples “Right now you got a grocery store,” said the caterer, Frank Pernice. The Studio 54 of Sex Jon Hart April 6, 2009 How about forcing a Muslim caterer to work a pork barbeque dinner? Fringe Factor: […]

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