Definition of cafeteria in English:

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Pronunciation: /kafɪˈtɪərɪə/


1A restaurant in which customers serve themselves from a counter and pay before eating.
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'.

Words that rhyme with cafeteria

Algeria, anterior, bacteria, Bashkiria, criteria, cryptomeria, diphtheria, exterior, hysteria, Iberia, inferior, interior, Liberia, listeria, Nigeria, posterior, Siberia, superior, ulterior, wisteria

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cafe|teria

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