/ ˈsɜːvɪs; NAmE ˈsɜːrv-/ noun , verb
[ C ] a system that provides sth that the public needs, organized by the government or a private company :
the ambulance / bus / telephone, etc. service
The government aims to improve public services , especially education.
Essential services (= the supply of water, gas, electricity) will be maintained.
—see also emergency services , postal service
(also Service ) [ C ] an organization or a company that provides sth for the public or does sth for the government :
the prison service
the BBC World Service
—see also civil service , Diplomatic Service , fire service , health service , Internal Revenue Service , National Health Service , secret service , Security Service , social services
[ C , U ] a business whose work involves doing sth for customers but not producing goods; the work that such a business does :
the development of new goods and services
Smith's Catering Services (= a company) offers the best value.
We guarantee (an) excellent service.
the service sector (= the part of the economy involved in this type of business)
a service industry
IN HOTEL / SHOP / RESTAURANT
[ U ] the serving of customers in hotels, restaurants, and shops / stores :
The food was good but the service was very slow.
10% will be added to your bill for service.
Our main concern is to provide quality customer service .
—see also room service , self-service
WORK FOR ORGANIZATION
[ U ] service (to sth) the work that sb does for an organization, etc., especially when it continues for a long time or is admired very much :
She has just celebrated 25 years' service with the company.
The employees have good conditions of service .
After retiring, she became involved in voluntary service in the local community.
—see also jury service
OF VEHICLE / MACHINE
[ U ] the use that you can get from a vehicle or machine; the state of being used :
That computer gave us very good service.
The ship will be taken out of service within two years.
[ C ] an examination of a vehicle or machine followed by any work that is necessary to keep it operating well :
I had taken the car in for a service.
a service engineer
—see also after-sales service
SKILLS / HELP
[ usually pl. ] service (of sb) | service (as sb/sth) the particular skills or help that a person is able to offer :
You need the services of a good lawyer.
He offered his services as a driver.
ARMY / NAVY / AIR FORCE
[ C , usually pl. , U ] the army, the navy and the air force ; the work done by people in them :
Most of the boys went straight into the services .
He saw service in North Africa.
a service family
—see also active service , military service , national service
[ C ] a religious ceremony :
morning / evening service
to hold / attend a service
a funeral / marriage / memorial, etc. service
BUS / TRAIN
[ C , usually sing. ] a bus, train, etc. that goes regularly to a particular place at a particular time :
the cancellation of the 10.15 service to Glasgow
services [ sing.+ sing./pl. v . ] ( BrE ) a place beside a motorway where you can stop for petrol, a meal, the toilets, etc. :
It's five miles to the next services.
—see also service area , service station
[ C ] an act of hitting the ball in order to start playing; the way that you hit it
SYN serve :
It's your service (= your turn to start playing) .
Her service has improved.
SET OF PLATES, etc.
[ C ] a complete set of plates, dishes, etc. that match each other :
a tea service (= cups, saucers , a teapot and plates, for serving tea)
—see also dinner service
[ U ] ( old-fashioned ) the state or position of being a servant :
to be in / go into service (= to be / become a servant)
OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENT
[ U ] ( law ) the formal giving of an official document, etc. to sb :
the service of a demand for payment
- at the service of sb/sth | at sb's service
- be of service (to sb)
- do sb a / no service
—more at press verb
[ vn ]
VEHICLE / MACHINE
[ usually passive ] to examine a vehicle or machine and repair it if necessary so that it continues to work correctly :
We need to have the car serviced.
to provide people with sth they need, such as shops / stores, or a transport system
SYN serve :
Botley is well serviced by a regular bus route into Oxford.
This department services the international sales force (= provides services for it) .
( technical ) to pay interest on money that has been borrowed :
The company can no longer service its debts .
Old English (denoting religious devotion or a form of public worship), from Old French servise or Latin servitium slavery, from servus slave. The early sense of the verb (mid 19th cent.) was be of service to, provide with a service .