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American English: /sərv/
British English: /səːv/

Translation of serve in Spanish:

transitive verb

  • 1 (work for)
    servir a
    he has served his country/firm faithfully
    ha servido fielmente a la patria/a su compañía
    she has served the company for over 25 years
    lleva más de 25 años al servicio de la compañía
    Example sentences
    • 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.
  • 2 (help, be useful to) his experience served him well
    la experiencia le sirvió de mucho or le fue muy útil
    if (my) memory serves me right
    si la memoria me es fiel
    si la memoria no me falla
    it serves a variety of purposes
    sirve para varias cosas
    it serves no useful purpose
    no sirve para nada (útil)
    to serve somebody as something
    servirle a alguien de algo
    the knife served him as a screwdriver
    el cuchillo le sirvió de destornillador
    to serve somebody right [colloquial]it serves her right!
    ¡se lo merece!
    ¡lo tiene bien merecido!
    ¡le está bien empleado! (Spain)
    it serves you right for ignoring me
    lo tienes bien merecido por no hacerme caso
    te está bien empleado por no hacerme caso (Spain)
    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.
    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.
  • 3 3.1 (Cooking)
    go ahead, serve yourselves! we don't serve children here
    no se admiten niños
    who's serving our table? (British)
    ¿quién nos atiende?
    this cake serves six
    este pastel es para seis
    serves four
    (in recipe) para cuatro personas
    (on packet) cuatro raciones or porciones
    dinner is served [formal] can I serve you some more fish?
    ¿le sirvo más pescado?
    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.
    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.
    3.2 (in shop) (British)
    are you being served?
    ¿lo atienden?
    I'm being served, thank you
    me están atendiendo, gracias
  • 4 4.1 (supply)
    to serve something/somebody with something
    abastecer a algo/alguien de algo
    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.
    4.2 (Transport)the village is not served by public transport
    el pueblo no tiene (servicio de) transporte público
    the bus route serving Newtown
    el servicio or la línea de autobuses que va a Newtown
    Riem airport serves Munich
    Riem es el aeropuerto de Munich
  • 5 (Law)
    hacer entrega de
    to serve something on somebodyto serve somebody with somethingthey served a summons on all the directors
    todos los directivos recibieron una citación judicial or fueron citados para comparecer ante el juez
    she was served with divorce papers
    recibió notificación or fue notificada de la demanda de divorcio
    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.
    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.
  • 6
    (complete) (apprenticeship)
    he had served only a month of his presidency
    solo había cumplido un mes de su mandato presidencial
    he served ten years for armed robbery
    cumplió diez años de condena por robo a mano armada
    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.
  • 7 (Sport)to serve the ball/shuttlecock to serve a double fault
    hacer una doble falta
    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.
    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.

intransitive verb

  • 1 1.1 (be servant) [literary] 1.2 (in shop) (British) 1.3 (distribute food) who's going to serve?
    ¿quién va a servir?
    to serve at table
    servir la mesa
  • 2 (spend time, do duty) to serve in the army
    servir en el ejército
    to serve on a committee
    integrar una comisión
    ser miembro de una comisión
    to serve as mayor
    ser alcalde
    the serving president
    el presidente en ejercicio or en funciones
  • 3 (have effect, function)to serve to + infinitive
    servir para + infinitive
    it only served to heighten tension
    solo sirvió para aumentar la tensión
    let this serve as a warning
    que esto te ( or les etc. ) sirva de advertencia
    it will serve as an example
    servirá de ejemplo
    it's not perfect, but it'll serve for now
    no es perfecto, pero de momento puede servir
    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 (Religion)to serve at Mass
    ayudar en misa
    hacer de monaguillo (en la misa)
  • 5 (Sport) it's your turn to serve
    te toca a ti sacar or servir


Phrasal verbs

serve out

verb + object + adverb, verb + adverb + object
1 (distribute)
2 (complete)

serve up

verb + object + adverb, verb + adverb + object
1 (distribute)
2 (present, offer) [derogatory]
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