What does Serve mean?

Definitions for Serve

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word Serve.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. serve, serviceverb

    (sports) a stroke that puts the ball in play

    "his powerful serves won the game"

  2. serve, functionverb

    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. serveverb

    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. serveverb

    contribute or conduce to

    "The scandal served to increase his popularity"

  5. service, serveverb

    be used by; as of a utility

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

  6. serve, helpverb

    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, dishverb

    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. serveverb

    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 wellverb

    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, doverb

    spend time in prison or in a labor camp

    "He did six years for embezzlement"

  11. serve, attend to, wait on, attend, assistverb

    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 outverb

    deliver a warrant or summons to someone

    "He was processed by the sheriff"

  13. suffice, do, answer, serveverb

    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. serveverb

    do military service

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

  15. serve, serviceverb

    mate with

    "male animals serve the females for breeding purposes"

  16. serveverb

    put the ball into play

    "It was Agassi's turn to serve"


  1. servenoun

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

    Whose serve is it?

  2. servenoun

    A portion of food, a serving

  3. serveverb

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

  4. serveverb

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

  5. serveverb

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

  6. serveverb

    To treat (someone) in a given manner.

  7. serveverb

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

  8. serveverb

    To be suitor to; to be the lover of.

  9. serveverb

    To be useful to; to meet the needs of.

  10. serveverb

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

  11. serveverb

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

  12. serveverb

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

  13. serveverb

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

  14. serveverb

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

    to serve a witness with a subpoena.

  15. serveverb

    To be in military service.

  16. serveverb

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

  17. serveverb

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

  18. serveverb

    To work, to operate (a weapon).

  19. serveverb

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

Webster Dictionary

  1. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

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

  3. Serveverb

    to be suitor to; to profess love to

  4. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

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

  8. Serveverb

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

  9. Serveverb

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

  10. Serveverb

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

  11. Serveverb

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

  12. Serveverb

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

  13. Serveverb

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

  14. Serveverb

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

  15. Serveverb

    to lead off in delivering (the ball)

  16. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

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

  19. Serveverb

    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. Serveverb

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

  21. Serveverb

    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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Serve

    sėrv, v.t. to be a servant to, to work for and obey: to attend or wait upon: to work for: to obey: to be subservient or subordinate to: to wait upon at table, &c.: to do duty for: to treat, behave towards: to render worship to: to aid by good offices: to minister to a priest at mass: to comply with: to requite: to handle, manipulate: to furnish: (naut.) to bind with small cord: (law) to deliver or present formally: to furnish: to cover, of stallions, &c.: to deliver the ball in tennis.—v.i. to be employed as a servant, to discharge any regular duty: to be in subjection: to suffice, to avail, to be suitable or favourable.—n. in tennis, the act of the first player in striking the ball, or the style in which this is done.—ns. Ser′vage (obs.), servitude: the service of a lover; Ser′ver, one who serves: an attendant on the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist: the player who strikes the tennis-ball first: a salver, any utensil for distributing or helping at table.—Serve an office, to discharge the duties of an office; Serve a process or writ, to formally communicate a process or writ to the person to whom it is addressed; Serve an attachment, to levy such a writ on the person or goods by seizure; Serve an execution, to levy an execution on the person or goods by seizure; Serve a sentence, to undergo the punishment prescribed by a judicial sentence; Serve one a trick, to play a trick on one; Serve one out, to take revenge on some one; Serve one right, to treat one as he deserves; Serve one's time, to complete one's apprenticeship; Serve out, to deal or distribute; Serve the purpose of, to answer adequately an end for which something else is designed; Serve the turn, to suffice for one's immediate purpose or need; Serve time, to undergo a period of imprisonment, &c.; Serve up, to bring to table. [Fr. servir—L. servīre, to serve.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. serve

    To be in service; to do duty; to discharge the requirements of an office or employment; and, specifically, to act as a soldier, seaman, etc. To serve a piece, in the artillery, is to load and fire with promptitude and correctness. To serve the vent, to stop it with the thumb.

Rap Dictionary

  1. serveverb

    To defeat an opponent with skill. "Yeah Kris, serve em man, serve em!" -- Boogie Down Productions (Build and Destroy)

  2. serveverb

    To deliver. "Serve 'em a sentence" -- Kool Keith featuring Motion Man (Serve 'Em a Sentence)

  3. serveverb

    To be incarcerated. "Question: Do you have to pack a Tec-9, serve jail time, to learn how to rhyme?" -- Danja Mowf (Question)

  4. serveverb

    To kill. "Say, Knocc and Flesh glock, glock to takes it comin' 2 serve ya" -- Flesh-N-Bone featuring BG Knocc Out (Comin' 2 Serve You)

  5. serveverb

    To have (oral) sexual intercourse.

  6. serveverb

    When someone is broken up with, defeated, or otherwise dismissed we say "he got served."

  7. serveverb

    To sell or deal drugs Do you know any one who serves around here.

Editors Contribution

  1. serve

    To provide a role, purpose or function.

    They serve the customers very efficiently.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 24, 2020  
  2. serve

    To provide a service.

    We serve each other with respect and dignity.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 17, 2020  

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 for Serve »

  1. verse

  2. veers

  3. sever

How to pronounce Serve?

How to say Serve in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Serve in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Serve in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of Serve in a Sentence

  1. Sarah Palin:

    You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested, as I said yesterday, I’m really interested in the opportunity to serve at some point.

  2. Kai Koerber:

    All of these additions to our campus, although necessary, continuously serve as a reminder of the tragedy that happened at MSD.

  3. Richard Jordan:

    The law demands good works and uses its terror--rejection, shame, fear of punishment, unanswered prayer, personal tragedy, etc.--as motivation. Here performance is a necessity to secure the blessings and avoid the curses. Grace, on the other hand, allows us to serve on a different basis--not from fear but on the basis of love and gratitude, from appreciation and gladness for blessings freely given and freely received.

  4. Elizabeth Warren:

    We took an oath not to try to protect Donald Trump. We took an oath to protect and serve the Constitution of the United States of America, and the way we do that is we begin impeachment proceedings now against this president.

  5. Demitrios Raptis:

    It's insane, i'm angry. These judges are letting these people go and they’re violent. They’re not looking out for us or the people that we serve. They’re looking out for the criminals.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Serve

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • قدم, تخدمArabic
  • служы́ць, паслужы́цьBelarusian
  • servir, serveiCatalan, Valencian
  • sloužit, podávat, podat, servírovatCzech
  • tjeneDanish
  • servieren, dienenGerman
  • σερβίρισμαGreek
  • serviEsperanto
  • desempeñar, operar, funcionar, servicio, cernir, cerner, servir, sevirSpanish
  • سرو کردن, سرویسPersian
  • kosia, kosiskella, tarjota, hoitaa, syöttö, astua, käyttää, istua, rihmata, palvella, tarjoilla, toimia, toimittaa, syöttää, avustaa, saattaa tietoon, kohdellaFinnish
  • servaFaroese
  • servir, signifier, serviceFrench
  • szerva, szervál, adogatHungarian
  • ծառայելArmenian
  • servirInterlingua
  • servire, portare in tavola, servizioItalian
  • לְשָׁרֵתHebrew
  • サーブJapanese
  • 제공하다Korean
  • serve, servio, prosumLatin
  • serveren, bedienen, dienen, opdienenDutch
  • servirOccitan
  • obsługiwaćPolish
  • saque, sacar, servirPortuguese
  • servir, sarvir, sarveir, survirRomansh
  • serviRomanian
  • послужить, подача, обслужить, подать, подавать, работать, служить, обслуживать, поработатьRussian
  • selvire, serviri, servire, serbire, serbiriSardinian
  • servisSlovene
  • shërbejAlbanian
  • avtjäna, serve, uppvakta, betäcka, servera, serva, fungera, tjänaSwedish
  • servisTurkish

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    of persons; taken advantage of
    • A. victimised
    • B. noninvasive
    • C. reassuring
    • D. whirring

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