Definitions for: Serve

[n] a stroke (in tennis or badminton or squash) that puts the ball in play; "his powerful serves won the game"
[v] put the ball into play; as in games like tennis; "It was Agassi's turn to serve"
[v] do duty or hold offices; serve in a specific function; "He served as head of the department for three years"; "She served in Congress for two terms"
[v] provide (usually but not necessarily food); "We serve meals for the homeless"; "She dished out the soup at 8 P.M."; "The entertainers served up a lively show"
[v] help to some food; help with food or drink; "I served him three times, and after that he helped himself"
[v] mate with; "male animals serve the females for breeding purposes"
[v] deliver a warrant or summons to someone; "He was processed by the sheriff"
[v] do military service; "She served in Vietnam"; "My sons never served, because they are short-sighted"
[v] work for or be a servant to; "May I serve you?"; "She attends the old lady in the wheelchair"; "Can you wait on our table, please?"; "Is a salesperson assisting you?"; "The minister served the King for many years"
[v] be used by; as of a utility; "The sewage plant served the neighboring communities"; "The garage served to shelter his horses"
[v] devote (part of) one's life or efforts to, as of countries, institutions, or ideas; "She served the art of music"; "He served the church"; "serve the country"
[v] be sufficient; be adequate, either in quality or quantity; "A few words would answer"; "This car suits my purpose well"; "Will $100 do?"; "A"B" grade doesn't suffice to get me into medical school"; "Nothing else will serve"
[v] contribute or conduce to; "The scandal served to increase his popularity"
[v] promote, benefit, or be useful or beneficial to; "Art serves commerce"; "Their interests are served"; "The lake serves recreation"; "The President's wisdom has served the counrty well"
[v] serve a purpose, role, or function; "The tree stump serves as a table"; "The female students served as a control group"; "This table would serve very well"; "His freedom served him well"; "The table functions as a desk"
[v] spend time in prison or in a labor camp; "He did six years for embezzlement"

Webster (1913) Definition: 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.

God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit.
--Rom. i. 9.

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

No man can serve two masters. --Matt. vi.

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.

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

Bodies bright and greater should not serve The less
not bright. --Milton.

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

To serve a lady in his beste wise. --Chaucer.

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.

Others, pampered in their shameless pride, Are
served in plate and in their chariots ride.

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.

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

Some part he roasts, then serves it up so dressed.

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.

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

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

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

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

10. To work; to operate; as, to serve the guns.

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

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

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

14. (Tennis) To lead off in delivering (the ball).

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.

To serve an attachment or 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]

I will serve myself of this concession.

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

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

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

Syn: To obey; minister to; subserve; promote; aid; help;
assist; benefit; succor.

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.

The Lord shall give thee rest . . . from the hard
bondage wherein thou wast made to serve. --Isa. xiv.

2. To perform domestic offices; to be occupied with household
affairs; to prepare and dish up food, etc.

But Martha . . . said, Lord, dost thou not care that
my sister hath left me to serve alone? --Luke x. 40.

3. To be in service; to do duty; to discharge the
requirements of an office or employment. Specifically, to
act in the public service, as a soldier, seaman. etc.

Many . . . who had before been great commanders, but
now served as private gentlemen without pay.

4. To be of use; to answer a purpose; to suffice; to suit; to
be convenient or favorable.

This little brand will serve to light your fire.

As occasion serves, this noble queen And prince
shall follow with a fresh supply. --Shak.

5. (Tennis) To lead off in delivering the ball.

Synonyms: answer, assist, attend, attend to, dish, dish out, dish up, do, process, serve up, service, service, service, suffice, swear out, wait on

See Also: ace, ace, act, act as, admit, aid, bridge over, bring about, caddie, caddy, cater, copulate, couple, deliver, do work, do work, effect, effectuate, facilitate, fag, fault, foster, fulfil, fulfill, function, function, function, go, go, go a long way, go around, help, help, keep going, let, live up to, mate, measure up, move, net ball, nurture, officiate, operate, pair, pass, plank, ply, prelude, provide, qualify, represent, rotate, run, satisfy, serve, set up, spend, stand, subpoena, supply, tennis shot, tennis stroke, tide over, valet, work, work

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