- The definition of a cafeteria is a self-service restaurant where you select and pay for food yourself, or a dining area where meals can be purchased or brought from home.
The big room with a lunch line and tables where kids eat their lunches while at school is an example of a cafeteria.
Children getting their lunch in a cafeteria.Licensed from iStockPhoto
Origin: American Spanish coffee store
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- A restaurant in which the customers are served at a counter and carry their meals on trays to tables.
- A dining area, as at a school or office building, where meals may be purchased or brought from home and eaten.
Origin: Spanish cafetería, coffee shop, cafeteria, from café, coffee, from Ottoman Turkish qahveh; see coffee.