ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►
American Sign Language: "waiter," "waitress," "server"
The sign for "waiter," "waitress," "server" uses the sign "SERVE" and then adds the "PERSON" ending.
To sign "serve," slide one hand forward, then move it back while sliding the other hand forward.
Memory tip: Think of handing someone various plates of food.
WAITER, "waitress," or "servant:"
Sample sentence: "How much should I tip the server?" = SERVER-[waiter/waitress] I SHOULD TIP how-MUCH-[1-handed-version]?
In real life, if I'm sitting at a table with my friends and wanted to ask that question, I'd just spell "T-I-P" and sign HOW-MUCH? I'd furrow my eyebrows while signing HOW-MUCH since it is a "wh-type question." It would be obvious from the surroundings that I'm talking about the waiter or waitress. So just by signing "T-I-P HOW-MUCH?" my meaning would be clear. Also, remember to furrow your eyebrows when signing "HOW-MUCH" in this question.
There is another sign for waiter that is quite popular in certain regions. Amongst Deaf adult native signers and socially active advanced signers throughout much of California a somewhat common sign for "waiter" is the "circling horns" version. (See below.) At first glance it might seem strange to some of you who have used the "server" sign, but I assure you that the "circling horns" sign is well established in certain areas. It also seems to be spreading.
This new "WAITER" sign makes a lot of sense. First of all, it only takes one hand (which is a definite advantage -- especially when you are using the other hand to hold a fork and/or cram a sandwich into your mouth). Secondly, this version has a strong iconic value. By that I mean that this sign looks quite a bit like what it represents -- since many waiters tend to carry around trays with drinks on them.
I recommend this sign to you as the sign for CATER or CATERER. Only use this sign to mean "waiter" if the Deaf in your region use it. The safe thing to do is to stick with the regular sign for waiter (above).
To do this sign, hold the "horns-handshape" in the air, pointing upward, and circle it once or twice using a small circular movement from the elbow. (The wrist stays firm.)
WAITER / WAITRESS / SERVER-(restaurant/catering) / CATERER:
* Want to help support ASL University? It's easy: DONATE (Thanks!)
* Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."
* Dr. Bill's new iPhone "Fingerspelling Practice" app is now available! CHECK IT OUT >
* Want even more ASL resources? Visit the "ASL Training Center!" (Subscription Extension of ASLU)
* Also check out Dr. Bill's channel: www.youtube.com/billvicars
You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars