Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jan 26 03:09:21 UTC 2001

>When I lived in Minneapolis MN in the mid-'80 the term waitron was
>commonly used
>instead of waiter/waitress in the want ads and by the waitrons themselves.
>People laughed at me (even some linguistic professors) when I went to
>in IN.  I have not seen or heard it used since.  Is anyone else familiar with
>this term?    I think is was sort of a gender neutral combo of waitress and

I heard it in the 1990's, can't remember where, might even have been

I assumed it to have been conceived -- as a deliberately sexless term -- by
analogy with "patron" [of the restaurant]. It was pronounced to rhyme with
"patron" on the very few occasions when I heard it, so it did not evoke
images of subatomic particles, cyclotrons, automata, etc.

It appears in AHD4 and in the Random House dictionary (RH apparently agrees
with my etymology). There are plenty of instances on the Web.

-- Doug Wilson

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