What does serve mean?

Definitions for serve

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

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"


  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.

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. serve(verb)

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

  2. serve(verb)

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

  3. serve(verb)

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

  4. serve(verb)

    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. serve(verb)

    To have (oral) sexual intercourse.

  6. serve(verb)

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

  7. serve(verb)

    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?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say serve in sign language?

  1. serve


  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. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

    There's a generational difference about us as well, look I'm a little younger, but look, I know what's going on across the country and I'm concerned about what we hear. A lot of people in Washington concerned about power and institutions, and I'm concerned about making a difference in everybody's lives. We want to make sure that we're closer to the people. That they feel this is their government, they're in charge, and we serve them. Now that's not easy and it won't change overnight but that's our mission.

  2. Jim Sensenbrenner:

    It has been my privilege to serve the people of Southeast Wisconsin and I have found true fulfillment in all the challenges and many accomplishments that have peppered my long career, it is rare when life presents the perfect opportunity to make an impact in a way that has been so meaningful. I am forever grateful.

  3. Richard VanVranken:

    It was about everything in New Jersey being ripe for the picking for New York and Philadelphia. That drives a lot of what we do, being able to serve the huge markets that we're right in the middle of.

  4. Lindsey Graham:

    I absolutely will not support Hillary Clinton for President. … I also can not in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as Commander in Chief.

  5. Peter Lawrance:

    People expect beer to be bad onboard an aircraft, since they are so used to getting average quality for years, but the range we have puts most bars to shame, jaws usually tend to drop when we serve a spontaneously fermented wild mango-flavored barrel-aged Lambic-style beer.

Images & Illustrations of serve

  1. serveserveserveserveserve

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for serve

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • قدم, تخدمArabic
  • служы́ць, паслужы́цьBelarusian
  • servir, serveiCatalan, Valencian
  • podávat, podat, sloužit, servírovatCzech
  • tjeneDanish
  • dienen, servierenGerman
  • σερβίρισμαGreek
  • serviEsperanto
  • servir, operar, funcionar, desempeñar, cernir, cerner, sevir, servicioSpanish
  • سرو کردن, سرویسPersian
  • palvella, avustaa, tarjoilla, toimia, kohdella, saattaa tietoon, syöttää, toimittaa, rihmata, istua, astua, kosia, kosiskella, tarjota, hoitaa, käyttää, syöttöFinnish
  • servaFaroese
  • servir, signifier, serviceFrench
  • adogat, szervál, szervaHungarian
  • ծառայելArmenian
  • servirInterlingua
  • servire, portare in tavola, servizioItalian
  • לְשָׁרֵתHebrew
  • サーブJapanese
  • 제공하다Korean
  • servio, prosum, serveLatin
  • opdienen, bedienen, dienen, serverenDutch
  • servirOccitan
  • obsługiwaćPolish
  • servir, sacar, saquePortuguese
  • servir, sarveir, survir, sarvirRomansh
  • serviRomanian
  • послужить, работать, служить, подать, поработать, обслуживать, подавать, обслужить, подачаRussian
  • serbiri, selvire, serbire, servire, serviriSardinian
  • servisSlovene
  • shërbejAlbanian
  • tjäna, fungera, serva, servera, betäcka, uppvakta, avtjäna, serveSwedish
  • servisTurkish

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