The DICT Development Group
1 definition found
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
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. Conserve, Desert merit, Dessert,
Observe, Serf, Sergeant.]
1. 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.
God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit.
--Rom. i. 9.
Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee
seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. --Gen.
No man can serve two masters. --Matt. vi.
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies. --Shak.
2. To be subordinate to; to act a secondary part under; to
appear as the inferior of; to minister to.
Bodies bright and greater should not serve
The less not bright. --Milton.
3. To be suitor to; to profess love to. [Obs.]
To serve a lady in his beste wise. --Chaucer.
4. 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.
Others, pampered in their shameless pride,
Are served in plate and in their chariots ride.
5. 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.
Bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we
will come in to dinner. --Shak.
Some part he roasts, then serves it up so dressed.
6. 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. To contribute or conduce to; to promote; to be sufficient
for; to satisfy; as, to serve one's turn.
Turn it into some advantage, by observing where it
can serve another end. --Jer. Taylor.
8. To answer or be (in the place of something) to; as, a sofa
serves one for a seat and a couch.
9. To treat; to behave one's self to; to requite; to act
toward; as, he served me very ill.
10. To work; to operate; as, to serve the guns.
(a) To bring to notice, deliver, or execute, either
actually or constructively, in such manner as the law
requires; as, to serve a summons.
(b) To make legal service opon (a person named in a writ,
summons, etc.); as, to serve a witness with a
12. To pass or spend, as time, esp. time of punishment; as,
to serve a term in prison.
13. To copulate with; to cover; as, a horse serves a mare; --
said of the male.
14. (Tennis) To lead off in delivering (the ball).
15. (Naut.) 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.
To serve an attachment or To serve a writ of attachment
(Law), to levy it on the person or goods by seizure, or to
To serve an execution (Law), to levy it on a lands, goods,
or person, by seizure or taking possession.
To serve an office, to discharge a public duty.
To serve a process (Law), in general, to read it, so as to
give due notice to the party concerned, or to leave an
attested copy with him or his attorney, or his usual place
To serve a warrant, to read it, and seize the person
against whom it is issued.
To serve a writ (Law), to read it to the defendant, or to
leave an attested copy at his usual place of abode.
To serve one out, to retaliate upon; to requite. "I'll
serve you out for this." --C. Kingsley.
To serve one right, to treat, or cause to befall one,
according to his deserts; -- used commonly of ill deserts;
as, it serves the scoundrel right.
To serve one's self of, to avail one's self of; to make use
of. [A Gallicism]
I will serve myself of this concession.
To serve out, to distribute; as, to serve out rations.
To serve the time or To serve the hour, to regulate one's
actions by the requirements of the time instead of by
one's duty; to be a timeserver. [Obs.]
They think herein we serve the time, because thereby
we either hold or seek preferment. --Hooker.
Syn: To obey; minister to; subserve; promote; aid; help;
assist; benefit; succor.
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