serves, serving, served
1) VERB If you serve your country, an organization, or a person, you do useful work for them.

[V n] It is unfair to soldiers who have served their country well for many years...

[V n] I have always said that I would serve the Party in any way it felt appropriate.

2) VERB If you serve in a particular place or as a particular official, you perform official duties, especially in the armed forces, as a civil servant, or as a politician.

[V prep/adv] During the second world war he served with RAF Coastal Command...

[V prep/adv] He also served on the National Front's national executive committee...

[V prep/adv] For seven years until 1991 he served as a district councillor in Solihull.

3) VERB If something serves as a particular thing or serves a particular purpose, it performs a particular function, which is often not its intended function.

[V as/for n] She ushered me into the front room, which served as her office...

[V n] I really do not think that an inquiry would serve any useful purpose...

[V to-inf] Their brief visit has served to underline the deep differences between the two countries...

[V n as/for n] The old drawing room serves her as both sitting room and study.

4) VERB If something serves people or an area, it provides them with something that they need.

[V n] This could mean the closure of thousands of small businesses which serve the community.

[V n] ...improvements in the public water-supply system serving the Nairobi area...

[V n] Cuba is well served by motorways.

[V n] ...a desire to make education serve the needs of politicians and business.

5) VERB Something that serves someone's interests benefits them.

[V n] The economy should be organized to serve the interests of all the people...

[V n] They may well decide that their interests would be best served by joining in.

6) VERB When you serve food and drink, you give people food and drink.

[V n prep] Serve it with French bread...

[V n adj] Serve the cakes warm...

[V n] Prepare the garnishes shortly before you are ready to serve the soup.

[V n n] ...the pleasure of having someone serve you champagne and caviar in bed...

They are expected to baby-sit, run errands, and help serve at cocktail parties. [Also V n to n]

Serve up means the same as serve.

V P n (not pron) After all, it is no use serving up TV dinners if the kids won't eat them... V n P He served it up on delicate white plates.

7) VERB: no cont Serve is used to indicate how much food a recipe produces. For example, a recipe that serves six provides enough food for six people.

[V n] Garnish with fresh herbs. Serves 4.

8) VERB Someone who serves customers in a shop or a bar helps them and provides them with what they want to buy.

[V n] They wouldn't serve me in any pubs 'cos I looked too young...

Auntie and Uncle suggested she serve in the shop.

9) VERB When the police or other officials serve someone with a legal order or serve an order on them, they give or send the legal order to them. [LEGAL]

[V n with n] immigration officers accompanied by the police tried to serve her with a deportation order...

[V n on n] Police said they had been unable to serve a summons on 25-year-old Lee Jones. [Also V n]

10) VERB If you serve something such as a prison sentence or an apprenticeship, you spend a period of time doing it.

[V n] ...Leo, who is currently serving a life sentence for murder...

[V n] He was able to serve his apprenticeship as a trainer with Eddie Futch.

11) VERB When you serve in games such as tennis and badminton, you throw up the ball or shuttlecock and hit it to start play.

[V n] He served 17 double faults...

If you serve like this nobody can beat you.

Serve is also a noun.

His second serve clipped the net.

12) N-COUNT When you describe someone's serve, you are indicating how well or how fast they serve a ball or shuttlecock.

His powerful serve was too much for the defending champion.

13) See also serving
14) PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR for -ing (feelings) If you say it serves someone right when something unpleasant happens to them, you mean that it is their own fault and you have no sympathy for them.

Serves her right for being so stubborn.

Phrasal Verbs:

English dictionary. 2008.


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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