To serve one right
Serve Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf. {Conserve}, {Desert} merit, {Dessert}, {Observe}, {Serf}, {Sergeant}.] 1. To work for; to labor in behalf of; to exert one's self continuously or statedly for the benefit of; to do service for; to be in the employment of, as an inferior, domestic, serf, slave, hired assistant, official helper, etc.; specifically, in a religious sense, to obey and worship. [1913 Webster]

God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit. --Rom. i. 9. [1913 Webster]

Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. --Gen. xxix. 18. [1913 Webster]

No man can serve two masters. --Matt. vi. 24. [1913 Webster]

Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. To be subordinate to; to act a secondary part under; to appear as the inferior of; to minister to. [1913 Webster]

Bodies bright and greater should not serve The less not bright. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

3. To be suitor to; to profess love to. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

To serve a lady in his beste wise. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

4. To wait upon; to supply the wants of; to attend; specifically, to wait upon at table; to attend at meals; to supply with food; as, to serve customers in a shop. [1913 Webster]

Others, pampered in their shameless pride, Are served in plate and in their chariots ride. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

5. Hence, to bring forward, arrange, deal, or distribute, as a portion of anything, especially of food prepared for eating; -- often with up; formerly with in. [1913 Webster]

Bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Some part he roasts, then serves it up so dressed. --Dryde. [1913 Webster]

6. To perform the duties belonging to, or required in or for; hence, to be of use to; as, a curate may serve two churches; to serve one's country. [1913 Webster]

7. To contribute or conduce to; to promote; to be sufficient for; to satisfy; as, to serve one's turn. [1913 Webster]

Turn it into some advantage, by observing where it can serve another end. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

8. To answer or be (in the place of something) to; as, a sofa serves one for a seat and a couch. [1913 Webster]

9. To treat; to behave one's self to; to requite; to act toward; as, he served me very ill. [1913 Webster]

10. To work; to operate; as, to serve the guns. [1913 Webster]

11. (Law) (a) To bring to notice, deliver, or execute, either actually or constructively, in such manner as the law requires; as, to serve a summons. (b) To make legal service opon (a person named in a writ, summons, etc.); as, to serve a witness with a subp[oe]na. [1913 Webster]

12. To pass or spend, as time, esp. time of punishment; as, to serve a term in prison. [1913 Webster]

13. To copulate with; to cover; as, a horse serves a mare; -- said of the male. [1913 Webster]

14. (Tennis) To lead off in delivering (the ball). [1913 Webster]

15. (Naut.) To wind spun yarn, or the like, tightly around (a rope or cable, etc.) so as to protect it from chafing or from the weather. See under {Serving}. [1913 Webster]

{To serve an attachment} or {To serve a writ of attachment} (Law), to levy it on the person or goods by seizure, or to seize.

{To serve an execution} (Law), to levy it on a lands, goods, or person, by seizure or taking possession.

{To serve an office}, to discharge a public duty.

{To serve a process} (Law), in general, to read it, so as to give due notice to the party concerned, or to leave an attested copy with him or his attorney, or his usual place of abode.

{To serve a warrant}, to read it, and seize the person against whom it is issued.

{To serve a writ} (Law), to read it to the defendant, or to leave an attested copy at his usual place of abode.

{To serve one out}, to retaliate upon; to requite. ``I'll serve you out for this.'' --C. Kingsley.

{To serve one right}, to treat, or cause to befall one, according to his deserts; -- used commonly of ill deserts; as, it serves the scoundrel right.

{To serve one's self of}, to avail one's self of; to make use of. [A Gallicism] [1913 Webster]

I will serve myself of this concession. --Chillingworth. [1913 Webster]

{To serve out}, to distribute; as, to serve out rations.

{To serve the time} or {To serve the hour}, to regulate one's actions by the requirements of the time instead of by one's duty; to be a timeserver. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

They think herein we serve the time, because thereby we either hold or seek preferment. --Hooker. [1913 Webster]

Syn: To obey; minister to; subserve; promote; aid; help; assist; benefit; succor. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • To serve one out — Serve Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To serve one's self of — Serve Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • serve one right — phrasal : to deal with one as he deserves : be the just or fitting return for what one is or does they served him right for his thieving felt that his disgrace served him right it serves you right for trying to break into line …   Useful english dictionary

  • serve one right — {v. phr.} To be what (someone) really deserves as a punishment; be a fair exchange for what (someone) has done or said or failed to do or say. * /He failed his exam; it served him right because he had not studied./ * /Bob said it served Sally… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • serve one right — {v. phr.} To be what (someone) really deserves as a punishment; be a fair exchange for what (someone) has done or said or failed to do or say. * /He failed his exam; it served him right because he had not studied./ * /Bob said it served Sally… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • serve one right — phrasal to be deserved …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • serve one right — idi to constitute someone s fair and just punishment, as for improper or stupid behavior …   From formal English to slang

  • To serve a process — Serve Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To serve a warrant — Serve Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To serve a writ — Serve Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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