serve1 [ sɜrv ] verb ***
▸ 1 provide food/drink
▸ 2 do job
▸ 3 be used for purpose
▸ 4 help achieve something
▸ 5 spend time in prison
▸ 6 provide with something useful
▸ 7 help customers in store
▸ 8 officially give document
▸ 9 hit ball to start play
1. ) intransitive or transitive to provide food and drink for someone to eat at a meal:
A light meal will be served during the flight.
serve breakfast/lunch/dinner etc.: Dinner is served between 7 and 10 p.m.
serve something with something: All dishes are served with a salad.
serve something to someone: A complimentary afternoon snack is served to all guests.
serve someone something: Carolyn served them tea and cake in the garden.
serve someone with something: The waiter served them both with salmon poached in white wine.
serve something hot/cold etc.: The cheese is best served at room temperature.
a ) serve or serve up intransitive or transitive to put food onto a plate for someone:
We were served huge portions of spare ribs.
b ) transitive to be enough food for a particular number of people:
The recipe serves four as a light lunch.
2. ) intransitive or transitive to do a job or perform duties for a person or organization:
He served more than 20 years in the army.
Frank has served this company his whole working life.
serve as: Mr. Russell served as president of the Association for fifteen years.
serve on: Henry also served on numerous other committees and commissions.
serve in: I met my wife, Rachel, while serving in the Navy.
3. ) intransitive or transitive to be used for a particular purpose, especially not the main or original purpose:
serve as: Their spare room also serves as an office.
serve as a reminder/warning: The decision should serve as a warning to companies that pollute the environment.
serve to remind/illustrate/emphasize/strengthen: His death serves to remind us just how dangerous using drugs can be.
4. ) transitive to help achieve something:
serve a purpose: That's a stupid rule. What purpose is it supposed to serve?
serve someone's interests: They voted for a chairman who might better serve their interests.
serve someone well: His ability to get on with people served him well in setting up his own business.
5. ) transitive to spend time in prison:
serve time: She served time in the state prison for assaulting a police officer.
serve a sentence: He's serving a life sentence for murder.
6. ) transitive to provide a group of people or an area with something useful:
These gas pipes serve the whole area.
serve the needs of: a new hospital to serve the needs of the local community
7. ) intransitive or transitive to help customers buy goods in a store, especially by bringing them things or helping them choose what they need
8. ) transitive to officially give someone a legal document that orders them to do something:
serve someone with a summons/writ/order: She was served with a summons to appear in court.
9. ) intransitive or transitive to hit a ball to your opponent in order to start playing for a point in a game such as tennis
it serves someone right (for doing something)
used for saying that you think someone deserves something unpleasant that happens to them:
I feel awful. It serves you right for eating so much.
,serve `out phrasal verb transitive
to continue doing something until you are officially allowed to stop doing it:
We want you to serve out your full contract.
,serve `up phrasal verb
1. ) transitive INFORMAL to provide something:
The teams served up some highly entertaining football this afternoon.
2. ) intransitive or transitive same as SERVE1 1A:
Aunt Edie served up a lovely roast leg of lamb for dinner.
serve 2 [ sɜrv ] noun count
1. ) a hit of a ball that starts the play in a game such as tennis:
The serve was clearly out.
a ) a particular way of serving a ball:
He's always had a poor serve.
2. ) AUSTRALIAN INFORMAL an instance of telling someone that you do not approve of them or their behavior

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.


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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