I. verb (served; serving) Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French servir, from Latin servire to be a slave, serve, from servus slave, servant Date: 13th century intransitive verb 1. a. to be a servant b. to do military or naval service 2. to assist a celebrant as server at mass 3. a. to be of use <
in a day when few people could write, seals served as signatures — Elizabeth W. King
b. to be favorable, opportune, or convenient c. to be worthy of reliance or trust <
if memory serves
d. to hold an office ; discharge a duty or function <
serve on a jury
4. to prove adequate or satisfactory ; suffice <
it will serve for this task
5. to help persons to food: as a. to wait at table b. to set out portions of food or drink 6. to wait on customers 7. to put the ball or shuttlecock in play in various games (as tennis, volleyball, or badminton) transitive verb 1. a. to be a servant to ; attend b. to give the service and respect due to (a superior) c. to comply with the commands or demands of ; gratify d. to give military or naval service to e. to perform the duties of (an office or post) 2. to act as server at (mass) 3. archaic to pay a lover's or suitor's court to (a lady) <
that gentle lady, whom I love and serve — Edmund Spenser
4. a. to work through (a term of service) b. to put in (a term of imprisonment) 5. a. to wait on at table b. to bring (food) to a diner c. present, provide — usually used with up <
the novel served up many laughs
6. a. to furnish or supply with something needed or desired b. to wait on (a customer) in a store c. to furnish professional service to 7. a. to answer the needs of b. to be enough for ; suffice c. to contribute or conduce to ; promote 8. to treat or act toward in a specified way <
he served me ill
9. a. to bring to notice, deliver, or execute as required by law b. to make legal service upon (a person named in a process) 10. of a male animal to copulate with 11. to wind yarn or wire tightly around (a rope or stay) for protection 12. to provide services that benefit or help 13. to put (the ball or shuttlecock) in play (as in tennis or badminton) II. noun Date: 1688 the act or action of putting the ball or shuttlecock in play in various games (as volleyball, badminton, or tennis); also a turn to serve <
it's your serve

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — → serf ● serf, serve adjectif (latin servus, esclave) Relatif à l état des serfs : Des hommes de condition serve. Littéraire. Qui fait preuve d une soumission complète à l égard d autrui. ● serf, serve (homonymes) adjectif (latin servus, esclave) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • serve — [sɜːv ǁ sɜːrv] verb 1. [transitive] COMMERCE to supply customers with a particular product or service or with something they need: • The firm plans to open a London office to serve clients with investments and businesses in Europe. • JAL Group… …   Financial and business terms

  • serve — [sʉrv] vt. served, serving [ME serven < OFr servir < L servire, to serve < servus, servant, slave: see SERF] 1. to work for as a servant 2. a) to do services or duties for; give service to; aid; assist; help b) to give obedience and… …   English World dictionary

  • serve — vt served, serv·ing 1: to deliver, publish, or execute (notice or process) as required by law no notice of any such request was ever served on the husband National Law Journal 2: to make legal service upon (the person named in a process): inform… …   Law dictionary

  • serve — late 12c., to render habitual obedience to, from O.Fr. servir to serve, from L. servire to serve, originally be a slave, related to servus slave, perhaps from an Etruscan word (Cf. Etruscan proper names Servi, Serve). Meaning to attend to (a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Serve — Serve, v. i. 1. To be a servant or a slave; to be employed in labor or other business for another; to be in subjection or bondage; to render menial service. [1913 Webster] The Lord shall give thee rest . . . from the hard bondage wherein thou… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • serve — ► VERB 1) perform duties or services for. 2) be employed as a member of the armed forces. 3) spend (a period) in office, in an apprenticeship, or in prison. 4) present food or drink to. 5) attend to (a customer in a shop). 6) be of use in… …   English terms dictionary

  • serve — [v1] aid, help; supply arrange, assist, attend to, be of assistance, be of use, care for, deal, deliver, dish up*, distribute, do for, give, handle, hit, minister to, nurse, oblige, play, present, provide, provision, set out, succor, wait on,… …   New thesaurus

  • Serve — may refer to: * Serve (tennis) * Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment * Providing a non material good, as in the work of a servant * Supplying customers with food and drink, as in the work of a food server * Delivering a legal or… …   Wikipedia

  • serve up — (something) to offer something. The TV miniseries will be serving up five hour long programs. Hitchcock served up a pitch that Perez hit over the fence for a home run. Filmgoers demand realism, and Lee serves it up without flash or tricks in his… …   New idioms dictionary

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