server/waitress

Packard

Senior Member
USA, English
I am listening to a Tom Clancy audio novel, Point of Contact. It is set in Singapore (though the setting seems not to have any bearing on the question below).

The protagonist is in a restaurant and he refers to the waitress as his "server", I am guessing as an effort to be politically correct. But each time reader says, "the server was moving towards him" I had a vision of a wall of rack servers moving to crush him. That notion is quickly dispelled, but "server" more easily conjures up a computer for me, than a restaurant worker.



A later the protagonist is in a different restaurant and the "waiter" delivered the food/drink. Does "server" (previously a "waitress") remain politically correct if they later use "waiter" instead of "server" when referring to a male? Does "server" then mean "waitress"? It seems like hypocrisy to me.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Does "server" (previously a "waitress") remain politically correct if they later use "waiter" instead of "server" when referring to a male?
    I don't think it does.

    It seems like hypocrisy to me.
    It also seems like that to me. I hear a lot of inconsistency and foolishness in people's attempts to avoid gender bias in their speech.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited:

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    I would never use 'server' for the person who brought my order in a restaurant. I would use 'waiter' or 'waitress'. 'Server' may be some attempt at a gender-neutral word, but it hasn't caught on much as far as I know. It seems particularly pointless (and inconsistent) if 'waiter' is then used later on.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I do hear "server" in chain restaurants when the waitress or waiter introduces themselves to the diner: Hi. I'm Jennifer. I'll be your server tonight. Would you like a cocktail while you are reading the menu?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I would never use 'server' for the person who brought my order in a restaurant. I would use 'waiter' or 'waitress'. 'Server' may be some attempt at a gender-neutral word, but it hasn't caught on much as far as I know. It seems particularly pointless (and inconsistent) if 'waiter' is then used later on.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Two things struck me about the usage.

    First “server” brings to mind a powerful computer more than it does a member of a wait staff.

    And the fact that he only used server to mean a female, and he used waiter to reference a male.

    To me the relationship between waiter/server exactly parallels waiter/waitress. It simply lays the politically insensitive burden on “server” in place of “waitress”.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Lexico labels this North American.
    Server | Definition of Server by Lexico
    NOUN
    1A person or thing that serves.

    1.1 North American A waiter or waitress.
    ‘I want to thank you the waiters, the servers everyone was so nice and kind.’
    ‘If bartenders and servers are insufficiently trained, every aspect of the operation suffers.’
    ‘The set up crew stayed behind to act as servers, which gave the host and hostess time to interact with their guests.’
    ‘In doing so, servers and bartenders should avoid words that make the order seem excessive.’

    ...
    1.2 Christian Church A person assisting the celebrant at the celebration of the Eucharist.
     
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