- To serve is to give someone service or present someone with something.
- An example of serve is when you bring someone a drink.
- An example of serve is when you spend a year in a committed situation, such as in the military or in prison.
- An example of serve is when you deliver legal papers that must be delivered in a specific and prescribed manner.
A bartender serves drinks.
transitive verbserved, serving
- to work for as a servant
- to do services or duties for; give service to; aid; assist; help
- to give obedience and reverent honor to (God, one's lord, etc.)
- Archaic to pay court to (a lady)
- to do military or naval service for
- to pass or spend (a term of imprisonment, military service, etc.): to serve a year in prison
- to carry out the duties connected with (a position, office, etc.)
- to act as server for (Mass, Benediction, etc.)
- to wait on (customers), as in a store
- to provide (customers, clients, or users) with goods or services, esp. professional services
- to provide (goods) for customers; supply
- to prepare and offer (food, etc.) in a certain way: serve the beef with rice
- to offer or set food, etc. before (a person)
- to give someone a portion or portions of (food, etc.) at the table: please serve me some peas
- to meet the needs or satisfy the requirements of: a tool to serve many purposes
- to promote or further: to serve the national interest
- to be used by: a hospital that serves the entire city
- to function or perform for: if memory serves me well
- to behave toward; treat: to be cruelly served
- to deliver (a legal instrument, as a summons)
- to deliver a legal instrument to; esp., to present with a writ
- to hit (a tennis ball, etc.) to one's opponent in order to start play
- to copulate with (a female): said of an animal
- Naut. to put a binding around in order to protect or strengthen (rope, etc.)
Origin of serveMiddle English serven ; from Old French servir ; from Classical Latin servire, to serve ; from servus, servant, slave: see serf
- to work as a servant
- to be in service; do service: to serve in the navy
- to carry out the duties connected with a position, office, etc.
- to act as server for Mass, Benediction, etc.
- to be used or usable; be of service; function
- to meet needs or satisfy requirements
- to provide guests with something to eat or drink, as by waiting on table
- to be suitable or favorable: said of weather, wind, etc.
- to start play by hitting the ball, etc. to one's opponent, as in tennis
serve someone right
verbserved served, serv·ing, serves
- To work for (someone) as a servant: The steward serves the king.
- a. To prepare and offer (food, for example): serve tea.b. To place food before (someone); wait on: served the guests a wonderful dinner.
- a. To provide goods and services for (customers): a hotel that has served tourists at the same location for 30 years.b. To supply (goods or services) to customers. See Usage Note at service.
- To assist the celebrant during (Mass).
- a. To meet the requirements of; suffice for: This will serve the purpose. The tent served us well in the storm.b. To be of assistance to or promote the interests of; aid: “Both major parties today seek to serve the national interest” (John F. Kennedy).
- a. To work through or complete (a period of service): served four terms in Congress.b. To be in prison for (a period or term): served 10 years for armed robbery.c. Sports To be removed from play for a specified period because of (a penalty).
- To fight or undergo military service for: served the country for five years in the navy.
- To give homage and obedience to: served God.
- To act toward (another) in a specified way: She has served me ill.
- To copulate with; service. Used of male animals.
- Law a. To deliver or present (a process of the court, such as a summons or court order) in a manner prescribed by law to a person who is legally entitled to receive it or legally required to obey it.b. To present such a process to (someone).
- Sports To put (a ball or shuttlecock) in play, as in tennis, badminton, or jai alai.
- To bind or whip (a rope) with fine cord or wire.
- To be employed as a servant.
- To do a term of duty: serve in the US Air Force; serve on a jury.
- To act in a particular capacity: serve as a clerk.
- To be of service or use; function: Let this incident serve as a reminder to future generations.
- To meet requirements or needs; satisfy: a device that will serve well.
- To wait on tables: serve at luncheon.
- Sports To hit a ball or shuttlecock as a way of starting play in court games.
- To assist the celebrant during Mass.
Origin of serveMiddle English serven, from Old French servir, from Latin servīre, from servus, slave.
- (sports: act of putting the ball or shuttlecock in play): receive
(third-person singular simple present serves, present participle serving, simple past and past participle served)
- (personal) To provide a service.
- To be a formal servant for (a god or deity); to worship in an official capacity. [from 12th c.]
- To be a servant for; to work for, to be employed by. [from 13th c.]
- To wait upon (someone) at table; to set food and drink in front of, to help (someone) to food, meals etc. [from 13th c.]
- (intransitive) To be a servant or worker; to perform the duties of a servant or employee; to render service. [from 14th c.]
- To set down (food or drink) on the table to be eaten; to bring (food, drink) to a person. [from 15th c.]
- (archaic) To treat (someone) in a given manner. [from 13th c.]
- (archaic) To be suitor to; to be the lover of. [from 14th c.]
- To be effective.
- To be useful to; to meet the needs of. [from 14th c.]
- (intransitive) To have a given use or purpose; to function for something or to do something. [from 14th c.]
- (intransitive) To usefully take the place as, instead of something else. [from 14th c.]
- (intransitive) To be in military service. [from 16th c.]
- (law) To deliver a document.
- To officially deliver (a legal notice, summons etc.). [from 15th c.]
- To make legal service upon (a person named in a writ, summons, etc.)
- to serve a witness with a subpoena
- (intransitive, sports) To lead off with the first delivery over the net in tennis, volleyball, ping pong, badminton etc. [from 16th c.]
- To copulate with (of male animals); to cover. [from 16th c.]
- (military) To work, to operate (a weapon). [from 18th c.]
- To work through (a given period of time in prison, a sentence). [from 19th c.]
- (nautical) To wind spun yarn etc. tightly around (a rope or cable, etc.) so as to protect it from chafing or from the weather.
serve - Legal Definition
- To deliver a legal document, especially a process or notice; to present a legal notice or subpoena to a person as required by law.
- To spend time in the armed forces or in some uniformed service (police, fire, and so on). See also service.