- 1Perform duties or services for (another person or an organization): Malcolm has served the church very faithfullyMore example sentences
work for, be in the service of, perform duties for, be employed by, have a job with; obey, be obedient to, carry out the wishes ofassist, give assistance to, aid, lend a hand to, give a helping hand to, do a good turn to, make a contribution to, do one's bit for, do something for, benefit; minister to, succourwork on, be on, sit on, have/hold a place on, perform duties on, carry out duties on
- You are out there supporting and serving your professional organization.
- He served these organizations for some 23 years till his retirement in March 1996.
- I will continue to serve this organization with all my energy, wisdom, and passion as I have done in the past.
- 1.1Provide (an area or group of people) with a product or service: a hospital which serves a large area of WalesMore example sentences
- The basic initial idea is to have small buses, serving local areas providing daytime services to those most needing them.
- Would it be better to have a team of priests in a central house serving a group of parishes?
- As a market hall serving a bustling group of traders and agricultural merchants, it must have been perfect for the job.
- 1.2 [no object] Be employed as a member of the armed forces: he had hoped to serve with the Medical CorpsMore example sentences
- He passed this pride on to his children who he encouraged to serve in the Armed Forces.
- During his career he served mostly with Army Special Forces, known as the Green Berets.
- You would be proud of the Soldiers serving in the Army.
- 1.3Spend (a period) in office, in an apprenticeship, or in prison: he is serving a ten-year jail sentenceMore example sentences
- He is still liable to serve ten years in prison for traces of heroin in a needle found at his house.
- And after serving a prison term for committing a financial crime, he convinced the prison librarian to move with him to his hometown.
- These resisters are arrested, tried, and often sentenced to serve long terms in prison and jail.
- 2Present (food or drink) to someone: they serve wine instead of beer serve white wines chilledMore example sentences
- Isabelle received a cup of wine from a man serving drinks.
- The working committee thank all who came and those who prepared the food and served the tea.
- There are countless jobs and professions that are far more dangerous than serving food or drink in the presence of secondhand smoke.
- 2.1Present (someone) with food or drink: the cafe refused to serve him with the tea [with two objects]: Peter served them generous portions of soupMore example sentences
- It is also customary to serve people food and drink when they visit a home.
- A group of women were surrounding him, serving him food and drinks.
- The guy waited till he had served me the drinks, told me it was fine to run up a tab, took my credit card, and then told me that the kitchen wasn't opening for another forty minutes.
- 2.2(Of food or drink) be enough for: the recipe serves four peopleMore example sentences
- This recipe makes enough to serve four as a main course, more as a side dish.
- Thai food is significantly less meat-intensive than American, and half a pound of meat is enough to serve four.
- 2.3chiefly British Attend to (a customer in a shop): she turned to serve the impatient customerMore example sentences
- Called Serenade, the Victoria Road shop was serving its first customers today.
- The shop served its last customers on Friday after being based on Newmarket Street for more than 17 years.
- Mark, Andrew and Esther were in the shop front, serving customers.
- 3 Law Deliver (a document such as a summons or writ) in a formal manner to the person to whom it is addressed: the court then issues the summons and serves it on your debtorMore example sentences
- Writs were served on 30 councillors, who were jailed for their pains in September 1921.
- He said the minister would be seeking quashing of the arrest warrant against him on the ground that no summons were served on him.
- Empanelling a grand jury empowers prosecutors both to serve subpoenas, and to gather testimony under oath.
- 3.1Deliver a document to (the addressee) in a formal manner: they were just about to serve him with a writMore example sentences
- While defendant was in custody awaiting an extradition hearing he was served with the Complaint herein.
- When the breath tests were completed, he was served with the appropriate documentation and released on a promise to appear.
- As a consequence, the police were unable to locate him to serve him with a subpoena.
- 4Be of use in achieving or satisfying: this book will serve a useful purpose the union came into existence to serve the interests of musiciansMore example sentences
- Also, officers have the added functions of setting goals and inspiring others to achieve them to serve this purpose.
- They do not satisfy hunger and serve no purpose other than to make the companies that make them wealthy.
- I don't think he serves any useful purpose for the Democrats.
- 4.1 [no object] Be of some specified use: the square now serves as the town’s chief car park [with infinitive]: sweat serves to cool down the bodyMore example sentences
- A sheet of red outdoor fabric serves as the roof.
- Elastomer and fabric device serves as both a seal and a filter.
- However, it just so happens that a human being standing on the ground near the object serves as a perfectly good conductor as well.
- 4.2 [with object and adverbial] Treat (someone) in a specified way: Cornish homeowners wonder if they are being fairly servedMore example sentences
- Facts that did not serve him were treated like unruly underlings.
- Which are you - do you take the plunge, or do you play it safe, and does your strategy serve you well?
- The strategy of deterrence which served us so well during the decades of the Cold War will no longer do.
- 5 [no object] (In tennis and other racket sports) hit the ball or shuttlecock to begin play for each point of a game: he tossed the ball up to serve [with object]: serve the ball on to the front wallMore example sentences
- Everyone fell silent though when the prince raised his racket and ball to serve.
- The players exchange words at the beginning of the game as Scott accuses his opponent of failing to tell him he was serving with new balls in the previous game.
- Before serving in the final game, Pierce had a trainer apply treatment and massage her aching shoulder.
- 5.1 (serve out) Win the final game of a set or match while serving: Fitzgerald then served out for the setMore example sentences
- Safin made the crucial break at 4-4 in the final set, and served out the next game to clinch the match.
- He served out the final game at love, hitting a 119 mph second serve for a winner on match point.
- Davenport slammed three winners to serve out the final game for the win.
- 7 Military Operate (a gun): before long Lodge was the only man in his section able to serve the gunsMore example sentences
- It was even said that she carried hot coffee to all the officers and then carried more hot coffee in pails to the artilleryman serving the guns.
nounBack to top
- 1(In tennis and other racket sports) an act of hitting the ball or shuttlecock to start play: he was let down by an erratic serveMore example sentences
- In pro tennis serves can sometimes reach speeds over 209 kph, or 185 feet per second.
- With the big serves in today's tennis, I'm not sure this match will ever be equalled.
- In fact, he conceded only 12 points on his serve in nine service games.
- 2Australian • informal A reprimand: he would be willing to give the country a serve in an English newspaperMore example sentences
- He suddenly turned holier-than-thou to give them a serve.
- Be grateful that you only got a bit of a serve from your boss rather than no pay at the end of the week.
- The opposition parties pressed their advantages home and gave Labour a strong serve in Parliament.
if my memory serves (me)
- If I remember correctly: if my memory serves me, this is not the first timeMore example sentences
- Recently I recall a player going to the courts to seek justice for a severe injury (a broken jaw if my memory serves me correctly) he received in a Gaelic football match.
- At 62 she rarely betrayed her age and, if my memory serves me correctly, she performed a number of encores to thank the very enthusiastic audience.
- It was passed by State Parliament and if my memory serves me correctly the coalition opposition supported the bill.
serve at table
- Act as a waiter: she was reduced to the landlord’s daughter who served at tableMore example sentences
- French waiters are highly trained in the art of serving at table, but sometimes customers would happily settle for less expertise - if only there were more of them so that they didn't have to wait so long to be served.
- He was not a factor but ‘was employed as a footman in livery and served at table and occasionally dressed and took care of his Masters Horses.’
- They were served at table by a disciplined army of girls.
serve someone right
- Be someone’s deserved punishment or misfortune: it would serve you right if Jeff walked out on youMore example sentences
- If you're dumb enough to walk into a sign it serves you right, you do not deserve money.
- I had a head under the covers morning, following on and serving me right for my festive over-indulgence at dinner last night.
- It serves them right for charging a ridiculous amount to park and for not ensuring the safety of our cars.
serve one's time (chiefly US also serve out one's time)
- Hold office for the normal period: every sergeant had served his time as a constableMore example sentences
- If he is not in death row and he's serving out his time in a maximum-security prison, he will be afforded special treatment, if you will.
- There are new questions about the military's policy for calling up troops who have already served their time.
- If he really served his time in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, he could easily prove it.
- (also serve time) Spend time in office, in an apprenticeship, or in prison: he is serving time in Swansea PrisonMore example sentences
- You will never see me on the front lines - I am in complete moral opposition to war, and would rather serve time in prison than spend time with a rifle.
- They were sentenced to 15 months, but given a suspended sentence, which means they didn't have to serve time in prison.
- They finally tracked him down to an English prison where he was serving time for a similar crime but under a false name.
serve one's/its turn
- Be useful or helpful: now that they have served their turn, cut some of them out suppressing his ire would hardly serve his turn at this junctureMore example sentences
- The charges against her were preposterous and she denied them with dignity, but she had never been popular and they served their turn.
- History throws individuals away once they have served their turn.
- His stupidity served his turn on this occasion better than cunning would have done.
serve two masters
- Take orders from two superiors or follow two conflicting or opposing principles or policies at the same time: it is never easy to serve two masters[with biblical allusion to Matt. 6:24]More example sentences
- But that's exactly what's happening because of a gargantuan conflict of interest: The giant mutual funds are serving two masters.
- It is law layered with politics, which, as a lawyer, I can tell you is the worst kind of fact situation you can find, because you end up serving two masters and it's almost an impossible situation.
- You have to serve two masters: the president of the United States, and you also try to help the Washington press corps do its job.
Middle English: from Old French servir, from Latin servire, from servus 'slave'.