- 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.
serve definition by Webster's New World
- 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: Middle 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 definition by American Heritage Dictionary
verb served served, serv·ing, serves verb, transitive
- a. To work for.b. To be a servant to.
- 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.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.
- 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 writ or summons).b. To present such a writ to.
- 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 U.S. 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 put a ball or shuttlecock into play, as in court games.
- To assist the celebrant during Mass.
Origin: Middle English serven, from Old French servir, from Latin servīre, from servus, slave.
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.
serve - Phrases/Idioms
serve someone right
serve (someone) right