- The definition of a cater-cousin is a very close friend.
An example of a cater-cousin is a girl's best friend throughout her whole life.
Origin of cater-cousinsee cater-cornered and amp; cousin; origin, originally , fourth-cousin
- Distant relative, especially a very distant relative, of doubtful relation.
- A close or good friend. An intimate. A bosom friend. An intimate friend who is not a blood relation. A person treated as a cousin (relative) who is not a blood relation
cater- +â€Ž cousin, where cater- is of disputed origin. Liberman argues that this is a prefix meaning â€œcrooked, angled, clumsyâ€ â€“ here meaning â€œdistant, doubtful, deficientâ€, of North Germanic origin; compare cater-corner. The sense â€œdistant relation, doubtful relationâ€ appears to be older than â€œintimate friendâ€; in 19th century Lancashire dialect, the sense is specifically â€œvery distant and doubtful relationâ€.
An etymology (proposed by Stephen Skinner, 1671) derives cater from French quatre (â€œfourâ€) (hence â€œfourth cousinâ€ â€“ very distant cousin), from Latin. This is rejected as ridiculous by Samuel Johnson, as â€œabsurdly impossibleâ€ by the OED, and â€œuselessâ€ by Liberman. Other etymologies derive from cater (â€œcaterer, provider of foodâ€), and derive this as â€œone with whom one shares food, messfellowâ€; this is judged by Liberman to be a folk etymology, though this analysis may have influenced the meaning of the term, leading to the â€œintimate friendâ€ sense.