Definition of cafeteria in English:


Line breaks: cafe|teria
Pronunciation: /kafɪˈtɪərɪə


  • 1A restaurant in which customers serve themselves from a counter and pay before eating.
    More example sentences
    • Federal law states that while irradiated meat must be labeled in grocery stores, it does not have to be labeled when served in school cafeterias, restaurants or hospitals.
    • Cafés and cafeterias serve open-faced sandwiches with cold meats, smoked fish, or cheese as well as simple but substantial meals of meat or fish and boiled potatoes.
    • Workplace cafeterias and buffets still serve rudimentary midday meals for workers, but even these inexpensive meals are out of reach for many people.
    self-service restaurant, canteen, cafe, restaurant, buffet
    North American dated automat
  • 1.1 [as modifier] North American Denoting a system in which people may choose from a number of available options, especially one in which an employee may select a personal package of company benefits: employers who offer cafeteria plans and other flexible programs
    More example sentences
    • The cafeteria plans of most large employers contain one or both of these arrangements as an integral part of the plan.
    • The cafeteria plans appears to be a sure-fire way to increase employee take-home pay.
    • Cafeteria plans lower taxes for both employers and employees.


mid 19th century (originally US): from Latin American Spanish cafetería 'coffee shop'.

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