Late 14th century, "attendant, watchman," agent noun from the verb wait + -er. Sense of "servant who waits at tables" is from late 15th century, originally in reference to household servants; in reference to inns, eating houses, etc., it is attested from 1660s. Feminine form waitress first recorded 1834.
The London Stock Exchange sense harks back to the early days of trading in coffee-shops.
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