Meaning of SERVE in English

I. ˈsərv, ˈsə̄v, ˈsəiv, dial ˈsärv or ˈsȧv verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English serven, from Old French servir, from Latin servire to be a slave, serve, be of use, from servus slave, servant, perhaps of Etruscan origin

intransitive verb


a. : to be a servant : become employed in domestic service, at manual labor, or upon another's business : do menial service

served on the staffs of various wealthy households

so they made the people of Israel serve with rigor, and made their lives bitter with hard service — Exod 1:13, 14 (Revised Standard Version)

b. obsolete : to do service (as to God or a feudal superior) — used with to

blessed angels he sends to and fro to serve to wicked man — Edmund Spenser

c. : to do military or naval service : be a soldier or sailor

two of his great-grandfathers served in the Revolutionary War — Edna Yost


a. : to perform the duties of a priest or clergyman : officiate in a clerical capacity

b. : to assist a celebrant as server at mass


a. : to be of use : answer a purpose : have a function

in a day when few people could write, seals served as signatures — Elizabeth W. King

nothing he had ever experienced served to quiet him so much as these end-of-the-week concerts — Edward Bok

a disused fire station served for a clubhouse

b. : to be favorable, opportune, or convenient

met a tide that served for an immediate departure

told and retold the story wherever occasion served

c. : to be worthy of reliance or trust

it was in the last year of his life, if memory serves

d. : to hold an office : discharge a duty or function : act in a capacity

served on a jury

served as mayor for several years


a. : to prove adequate or satisfactory : satisfy , suffice

nothing would serve but she must pack a box for me to take back — John Buchan

b. : to prove out : hold good : pass as valid

a safe-conduct that served not only for him but for the entire party

5. : to help persons to food: as

a. : to wait at table

b. : to set out portions of food or drink

6. : to wait on customers

serves in a grocery store

7. : to put the ball in play in any of various games (as tennis or handball)

8. of a male animal : copulate

transitive verb


a. : to be a servant to : work for (a master or employer) : do tasks set by (a superior) : minister to : attend

his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for life — Exod 21:6 (Revised Standard Version)

served several actresses as personal maid

b. : to give the service and respect due to (a lord, sovereign, or other superior)

several times served the queen as prime minister

c. : to comply with the commands or demands of

served the will of venal men

: satisfy the needs or wants of : gratify

d. : to render military or naval service to : fight for : be a soldier or sailor of

served the nation as a commander in three wars

e. : to perform the duties of (an office or post) : discharge the requirements of

2. : to offer habitual worship and obedience to (a god or devil)

God whom I serve with a clear conscience — 2 Tim 1:3 (Revised Standard Version)


a. : to assist (a priest) at mass as server

b. : to act as server at (mass)

served mass on Sunday

c. : to act as pastor to

served several large parishes

4. archaic : to pay a lover's or suitor's court to (a lady)


a. : to work through or perform (a term of service)

had served his time as a mate in the merchant marine

served out an apprenticeship

b. : to put in (a term of imprisonment) : spend , undergo

felt that anyone who had served time was a marked man

served seven years for armed assault


a. : to wait on (one) at table

b. : to bring (food) to a diner — often used with up

served him up a hearty dinner

c. : to place food on (the table)

d. archaic : to put out food for (an animal) : feed


a. : to furnish or supply (one) with something needed or desired

a consolidated school served the children who had attended the several former one-room schools

b. : to wait on (a customer) in a store

c. : to provide merchandise serviceable or desirable to (a buyer)

that task has been and continues to be to serve the American customer well — H.H.Curtice

d. : to furnish professional service to

a physician who had served his community with distinction for nearly half a century


a. : to be of use to or answer the needs of : provide for : avail

private reservoirs and canals … serve each separate estate — P.E.James

b. : to be enough for : suffice , last

the slightest smile would serve him for encouragement

c. : to be of help in bringing about : contribute to : promote

engaged … in serving the purposes of the Revolution — Van Wyck Brooks

9. obsolete : encourage , prompt , permit

certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my master — Shakespeare

10. : to treat or act toward in a specified way : deal with : requite

he served me ill


a. : to bring to notice, deliver, or execute actually or constructively as required by law : put into effect

to serve a summons or process is to deliver it, or to read it so as to give due notice, or both

to serve an attachment or execution is to levy it by seizure or taking possession

b. : to make legal service upon (a person named in a writ)

c. Scots law : to declare (someone) heir to an estate after formal adjudication

12. archaic : fit , suit

13. obsolete : to avail (oneself) of someone or something : make use of

14. archaic : to make convenient opportunity for (one) : provide occasion or means for (a person) : favor

15. : to put up or flush game before (a hawk) — used of either the falconer or the dog

16. of an animal : to copulate with : cover — distinguished from settle

17. : to do (one) a good or bad turn : play (one) a trick : deal (one) a blow

18. : to wind spun yarn, canvas, or wire tightly around (a rope or stay) to protect from chafing or from the weather : wrap serving around (a bowstring)

19. : to stand by (one) : prove worthy of trust by — used especially of the memory

that was his last appearance, if memory serves me

20. : to provide services that benefit or help

the most distinctive characteristic of a profession — its obligation to serve society — H.A.Wagner

21. : to put (the ball) in play in any of various games (as tennis or handball)

22. : to keep (artillery or naval guns) in action : fire

23. Scotland

a. : to give satisfaction to

heirs were served

b. : prove enough or too much for

- serve one right

- serve the time

II. noun

( -s )

: the act of putting the ball in play in any of various net or court games (as tennis)

won many games with his powerful and accurate serves

III. transitive verb

: present : provide — usually used with up

the novel served up many laughs

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.