Please explain the meaning of 'cater to' in these sentences and is it suitable to use 'cater to' in the second case? Are there any alternative words? I looked it up in Oxford dictionary and it means ' to provide the things that a particular type or person wants, especially things that you do not approve of' with an example:

they only publish novels which cater to the mass market.

And I wonder that the mass market or novels refers to the things in the definition and which does the action provide .

That's the reason why I can't understand the meaning of 'cater to' in the sentence below. Thank you

Dangerous sports should be performed after sufficient training. Sport companies which cater to such sports should require a licence for providing such training

  • If you edit your question to explain why looking it up in a dictionary wasn't helpful, we may be able to reopen your question. There is some advice in the help center on how to ask a good question. Explaining what you already know and sharing details about why you're having trouble with a certain phrase will help us write better answers.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 29, 2017 at 3:09
  • I've just edited. My English is not good so I'm afraid that it's unintelligible if I write in detail. Btw thank for your useful advice.
    – Meow
    Aug 29, 2017 at 3:29
  • Thanks for editing. Just do the best you can and we will ask if we don't understand something.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 29, 2017 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


"Cater to" in these cases means "do things in ways that will appeal to".

So, in the first case (which seems to have a typo) they are talking about novels that appeal to lots of people, particularly the less "highbrow" type.

In the second case, it's less clear, but they appear to be saying that companies that provide training for dangerous sports should have to be licensed.

  • Do you think that "cater to" has a negative connotation all the time? I think the 'especially things that you do not approve of' part from the question could be clarified if you are up for it.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 29, 2017 at 15:15
  • No, it doesn't have to have a negative connotation at all.
    – Peter Flom
    Aug 29, 2017 at 17:56

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