Definitions for servesɜrv

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word serve

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

servesɜrv(v.; n.)served, serv•ing

  1. (v.i.)to act as a servant.

  2. to wait on table, as a waiter.

  3. to have a meal or refreshments available, as for patrons or guests.

  4. to distribute a food or beverage, as a host or hostess.

  5. to render assistance; help.

  6. to go through a term of service as a soldier, senator, juror, etc.

  7. to have definite use:

    This cup will serve as a sugar bowl.

  8. to answer the purpose:

    That will serve to explain my actions.

  9. (in tennis, badminton, handball, etc.) to put the ball or shuttlecock in play with a stroke, swing, or hit.

    Category: Sport

  10. to act as a server at mass.

    Category: Religion

  11. (v.t.)to be in the service of; work for.

  12. to be useful or of service to; help.

  13. to go through (a term of service, imprisonment, etc.).

  14. to render active service, homage, or obedience to (God, a sovereign, commander, etc.).

  15. to perform the duties of (a position, an office, etc.).

  16. to answer the requirements of:

    This will serve our needs for now.

  17. to contribute to; promote:

    to serve a cause.

  18. to wait upon at table.

  19. to carry and distribute (food or drink) to a patron or a specific place, as a waiter or waitress.

  20. to act as a host or hostess in offering (a person) food or drink.

  21. to act as a host or hostess in offering or distributing (food or drink) to another.

  22. to provide with a regular or continuous supply of something.

  23. (in tennis, badminton, handball, etc.) to put (the ball or shuttlecock) in play.

    Category: Sport

  24. to treat in a specified manner:

    That served him ill.

  25. Law. to make legal delivery of (a process or writ). to present (a person) with a writ.

    Category: Law

  26. to gratify (wants, needs, etc.).

  27. (of a male animal) to mate with; service.

    Category: Animal Husbandry, Zoology

  28. Naut. to wrap (a rope) tightly with light cordage, keeping the turns as close together as possible.

    Category: Nautical, Navy

  29. (n.)the act, manner, or right of serving, as in tennis.

Idioms for serve:

  1. serve one right,to constitute someone's fair and just punishment, as for improper or stupid behavior.

    Category: Idiom

Origin of serve:

1125–75; ME < OF servir < L servīre, der. of servus slave (cf. serf )

Princeton's WordNet

  1. serve, service(verb)

    (sports) a stroke that puts the ball in play

    "his powerful serves won the game"

  2. serve, function(verb)

    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"

  3. serve(verb)

    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"

  4. serve(verb)

    contribute or conduce to

    "The scandal served to increase his popularity"

  5. service, serve(verb)

    be used by; as of a utility

    "The sewage plant served the neighboring communities"; "The garage served to shelter his horses"

  6. serve, help(verb)

    help to some food; help with food or drink

    "I served him three times, and after that he helped himself"

  7. serve, serve up, dish out, dish up, dish(verb)

    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"

  8. serve(verb)

    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"

  9. serve, serve well(verb)

    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 country well"

  10. serve, do(verb)

    spend time in prison or in a labor camp

    "He did six years for embezzlement"

  11. serve, attend to, wait on, attend, assist(verb)

    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"

  12. serve, process, swear out(verb)

    deliver a warrant or summons to someone

    "He was processed by the sheriff"

  13. suffice, do, answer, serve(verb)

    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"

  14. serve(verb)

    do military service

    "She served in Vietnam"; "My sons never served, because they are short-sighted"

  15. serve, service(verb)

    mate with

    "male animals serve the females for breeding purposes"

  16. serve(verb)

    put the ball into play

    "It was Agassi's turn to serve"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. serve(verb)ɜrv

    to give sb food or drink

    the waiter who served us in the restaurant; Could you serve the drinks to the guests?

  2. serveɜrv

    to do a job or duty for a person, organization, etc.

    He served in the Senate for eighteen years.; She currently serves as vice president of technology.; soldiers serving their country

  3. serveɜrv

    to have a result or effect

    a video game that only serves to teach young people about violence

  4. serveɜrv

    to help achieve or provide

    The old dock serves no purpose anymore.; a community center that serves the needs of the town

  5. serveɜrv

    to spend time in prison

    to serve a life sentence; He served 22 years.

  6. serveɜrv

    to hit a ball to start playing tennis

    ***Who's turn is it to serve?; ***to serve the ball

  7. serveɜrv

    indicates you think what happened to sb was sth they deserved

    "The teacher kept me inside at lunch." "It serves you right for lying."


  1. serve(Noun)

    the act of putting the ball or shuttlecock in play in various games

    Whose serve is it?

  2. serve(Noun)

    A portion of food, a serving

  3. serve(Verb)

    To be a formal servant for (a god or deity); to worship in an official capacity.

  4. serve(Verb)

    To be a servant for; to work for, to be employed by.

  5. serve(Verb)

    To wait upon (someone) at table; to set food and drink in front of, to help (someone) to food, meals etc.

  6. serve(Verb)

    To treat (someone) in a given manner.

  7. serve(Verb)

    To be a servant or worker; to perform the duties of a servant or employee; to render service.

  8. serve(Verb)

    To be suitor to; to be the lover of.

  9. serve(Verb)

    To be useful to; to meet the needs of.

  10. serve(Verb)

    To have a given use or purpose; to function for something or to do something.

  11. serve(Verb)

    To usefully take the place as, instead of something else.

  12. serve(Verb)

    To set down (food or drink) on the table to be eaten; to bring (food, drink) to a person.

  13. serve(Verb)

    To officially deliver (a legal notice, summons etc.).

  14. serve(Verb)

    To make legal service upon (a person named in a writ, summons, etc.)

    to serve a witness with a subpoena.

  15. serve(Verb)

    To be in military service.

  16. serve(Verb)

    To lead off with the first delivery over the net in tennis, volleyball, ping pong, badminton etc.

  17. serve(Verb)

    To copulate with (of male animals); to cover.

  18. serve(Verb)

    To work, to operate (a weapon).

  19. serve(Verb)

    To work through (a given period of time in prison, a sentence).

Webster Dictionary

  1. Serve(verb)

    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

  2. Serve(verb)

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

  3. Serve(verb)

    to be suitor to; to profess love to

  4. Serve(verb)

    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

  5. Serve(verb)

    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

  6. Serve(verb)

    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. Serve(verb)

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

  8. Serve(verb)

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

  9. Serve(verb)

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

  10. Serve(verb)

    to work; to operate; as, to serve the guns

  11. Serve(verb)

    to bring to notice, deliver, or execute, either actually or constructively, in such manner as the law requires; as, to serve a summons

  12. Serve(verb)

    to make legal service opon (a person named in a writ, summons, etc.); as, to serve a witness with a subp/na

  13. Serve(verb)

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

  14. Serve(verb)

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

  15. Serve(verb)

    to lead off in delivering (the ball)

  16. Serve(verb)

    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

  17. Serve(verb)

    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

  18. Serve(verb)

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

  19. Serve(verb)

    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

  20. Serve(verb)

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

  21. Serve(verb)

    to lead off in delivering the ball


  1. Serve

    A serve in tennis is a shot to start a point. A player will hit the ball with a racquet so it will fall into the diagonally opposite backside box without being stopped by the net. Normally players begins a serve by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it. The ball can only touch the net on a return and will be considered good if it falls on the opposite side. If the ball contacts the net on the serve but then proceeds to the proper backside box, it is called a let; this is not a legal serve in the major tours although it is also not a fault. Players typically serve overhead, but serving underhand, although rare, is allowed. The serve is the only shot a player can take their time to set up instead of having to react to an opponent's shot. The serve is one of the more difficult shots for a novice, but once mastered it can be a considerable advantage. Advanced players can hit the serve in many different ways and often use it as an offensive weapon to gain an advantage in the point or to win it outright. Because of this, professional players are expected to win most of their service games, and the ability to break an opponent's serve plays a crucial role in a match.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'serve' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1956

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'serve' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2495

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'serve' in Verbs Frequency: #140

Anagrams of serve

  1. verse

  2. veers

  3. sever

Translations for serve

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


to work for a person etc eg as a servant

He served his master for forty years.

Get even more translations for serve »


Find a translation for the serve definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these serve definitions with the community:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"serve." STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

Are we missing a good definition for serve?

The Web's Largest Resource for

Definitions & Translations

A Member Of The STANDS4 Network

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for serve: