Definition of service in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsəːvɪs/


1 [mass noun] The action of helping or doing work for someone: millions are involved in voluntary service
More example sentences
  • With more than six decades of voluntary service to her credit, she has not yet called it a day.
  • It is usually difficult for a institution to run totally on voluntary service, without any funding.
  • Whatever the level of voluntary service, we want to hear from you.
1.1 [count noun] An act of assistance: he has done us a great service he volunteered his services as a driver
More example sentences
  • Member Services Officer Shawn Hunsdale volunteered his services to assist the ACHSA.
  • Many local opticians and dentists volunteered their services to help the children.
  • Peg Hayden, who offered her services selling raffle tickets, assisted these ladies
1.2Assistance or advice given to customers during and after the sale of goods: they aim to provide better quality of service
More example sentences
  • He is determined to retain the major water customers by improving service and offering advice on water and waste management.
  • Edel aims to provide experienced advice and professional service to all her customers.
  • This will allow it to continue to sink all its money into sales and service.
1.3The action of serving food and drinks to customers: they complained of poor bar service
More example sentences
  • We had to teach them everything from service to food to cleaning, even personal hygiene.
  • The fact the he is a regular customer speaks volumes for the quality of the food and friendly service.
  • You'll return to the establishment again and again because the food and service was so good.
waiting, waitressing, waiting at table, serving of food and drink, attendance, serving
1.4 short for service charge. service is included in the final bill
More example sentences
  • Average prices are for a three-course meal for one, without wine, but including service and cover charge.
1.5A period of employment with a company or organization: he retired after 40 years' service
More example sentences
  • The period of service must, however, be lawful employment.
  • Pay records would show no service during this time period because he was not paid!
  • A 1696 scheme for registering seamen for limited periods of service was abandoned in 1711.
work, employment, employ, labour, performance of one's duties
1.6Employment as a servant: the pitifully low wages gained from domestic service
More example sentences
  • Those employed in domestic service will be able to claim the amount they earn as a tax deduction.
  • They made little headway in the two main sectors of women's employment, domestic service and textiles.
  • Migrant women often find employment in domestic service, which is growing in significance.
1.7The use which can be made of a machine: the computer should provide good service for years
2A system supplying a public need such as transport, communications, or utilities such as electricity and water: a regular bus service
More example sentences
  • The country is still a mess, with deteriorating services like water and electricity.
  • Essential public services, like water supply, have no place in trade agreement agenda of the WTO.
  • All that will be required of them is to pay for services like water, electricity and refuse removal.
amenity, facility, resource, utility, solution;
2.1A public department or organization run by the state: the probation service
More example sentences
  • A guarantee has been given that there will be no job losses if plans to merge key public services into one giant organisation goes ahead.
  • He said services within the department were operating normally.
  • At this point there is no effort to co-ordinate services across Government Departments.
2.2 (the services) The armed forces: (as modifier service) service personnel
More example sentences
  • Are the services anticipating the changing nature of future conflict in their wargaming?
  • He met his wife, who has also served in the Territorial Army and Auxiliary Air Force, through the services.
  • His appointment signaled a renaissance of the warrior ethic throughout the services.
2.3 (services) British An area with parking beside a major road supplying petrol, refreshments, and other amenities to motorists.
Example sentences
  • The local roads, services, amenities, houses and schools are not large enough.
  • All the services, the roads, the car parks for the new passenger terminal and the cargo building will be completed in July.
  • He was parked in the services at Rainton, near Ripon, when he was approached by a man who forced him to drive northbound up the A1.
3A ceremony of religious worship according to a prescribed form: a funeral service
More example sentences
  • I point out that the wedding is a service of worship in which God is the focus and our goal is to please Him.
  • One of the team's goals is to pray during worship services for the church's leaders and ministry.
  • One tends to find greater respect for the liturgical nature of our common worship in Anglican services.
4A periodic routine inspection and maintenance of a vehicle or other machine: he took his car in for a service
More example sentences
  • It had failed to refill the gearbox with oil during the pre-delivery service of the car.
  • I had to take my car in for a service after squash and had meant to check under the seats in case it had slipped out of my pocket, but forgot.
  • By some good fortune we made it to Vals on time, then proceeded to our hotel where we had a bite to eat and then gave the car a service with Jim and the gang.
5 [with modifier] A set of matching crockery used for serving a particular meal: a dinner service
6 [mass noun] (In tennis and other racket sports) the action or right of serving to begin play.
Example sentences
  • We are on the balls of our feet, like tennis players awaiting service, anxiously twiddling our sticks.
6.1 [count noun] A serve.
Example sentences
  • Jenkins served the first four services of the third game, picking up one ace in the process of doing so.
7 [mass noun] Law The formal delivery of a document such as a writ or summons.
Example sentences
  • The claimants issued their writ and effected service in accordance with their undertakings.
  • All steps required for service of the document shall be effected as soon as possible.
  • There is an email address which has been used to communicate with him as well as the formal service of his last known address.


[with object]
1Perform routine maintenance or repair work on (a vehicle or machine): ensure that gas appliances are serviced regularly
More example sentences
  • He was reimbursed only a small amount on account of his disbursements for the use of his car in servicing the machines.
  • The electrical and plumbing systems were checked, a new gas boiler was installed, the lifts were serviced and repaired, and the fire safety equipment was also checked and repaired or replaced.
  • You may get a locally trained technician to service the machines and robotics.
overhaul, check, check over, go over, give a maintenance check to, maintain, keep in good condition;
repair, mend, recondition
1.1Supply and maintain systems for public utilities and transport and communications in (an area): the village is small and well serviced
More example sentences
  • The areas serviced by the transport initiative include Scartaglen, Firies, Brosna, Kilflynn, Ballylongford and Knockanure.
  • It should be located in areas well serviced by public transportation and provide a variety of services close by.
  • The department has never depended on Wasa for water in the areas serviced by the salt water main system.
1.2Perform a service or services for (someone): her life is devoted to servicing others
More example sentences
  • We have 84,000 people who will be serviced by that organisation.
1.3Pay interest on (a debt): taxpayers are paying $250 million just to service that debt
More example sentences
  • Instead, the national debt is simply serviced with the amount of interest paid in any year being a function of the size of the debt and the interest rates on the appropriate debt instruments.
  • Remember it is pointless keeping too much surplus money in a savings account if you are also servicing debt at a higher rate of interest.
  • Therefore, countries had to increase production of commodities in order to service their debts.
2(Of a male animal) mate with (a female animal): one dog could presumably service several bitches in a day
More example sentences
  • It is then that Jane reads about how bulls never service the same cow twice.
  • The queen bee is serviced by her male drones, and then she kills them off one by one.
  • It has been known for one male to service 40 females, but it all depends on his size and strength.
2.1 vulgar slang (Of a man) have sexual intercourse with (a woman).



be at someone's service

Be ready to assist someone whenever possible: I’m at your service, day or night
More example sentences
  • Our staff is at your service for any further information you may require.
  • The members of her group were supposed to be at her service and not the other way around.
  • He had me stay at the house to be at Sammy 's service for the three weeks he was there, cooking whatever he dreamed of.

be of service

Be available to assist someone: if you need books, we’d like to be of service
More example sentences
  • This allows service providers to be of service.
  • Yet he is happy where he is, being of service and working with others.
  • ‘My goal is to actually be of service, not just to hold onto my position,’ she said.
help, assist, benefit, be helpful, be of assistance, be beneficial, be advantageous, be of benefit, serve, advantage, be useful, be of use, be profitable, profit, be valuable, be of worth, do someone a good turn

in service

1In or available for use: the plane is the most advanced fighter in service today
More example sentences
  • It is not uncommon to have guns produced for America's previous wars in service today.
  • But it should be remembered that for the first two and a half years of the war they were far in advance of anything in service in any other nation.
  • The LCH class now has the distinction of being in commission longer than any other ship still in service.
2 dated Employed as a servant: poor children worked in service

out of service

Not available for use.
Example sentences
  • The Surrey is currently out of service for annual maintenance.
  • A spokeswoman for the Royal Bank of Scotland said the Nessgate cash machine was currently out of service because of vandalism.
  • The ferry was able to continue its journey and return to Kirkwall on one engine, but will be out of service for several weeks, said Mr Henderson.
out of order, not working, not in working order, not functioning, broken, broken-down, out of commission, acting up, unserviceable, faulty, defective, non-functional, inoperative, in disrepair;
informal conked out, bust, (gone) kaput, gone phut, on the blink, gone haywire, shot
British informal knackered, jiggered, wonky
North American informal on the fritz, out of whack
British vulgar slang buggered

see service

Serve in the armed forces: he saw service in both world wars
More example sentences
  • During the second world war, he saw service in the East African campaign and later in the desert.
  • Charles was educated as a soldier and saw service in the Swedish army from 1642 to 1645 during the Thirty Years War.
  • Later he served in the army and saw service in Germany.
5.1Be used: the building later saw service as a blacksmith’s shop
More example sentences
  • The ten-ton Saracen, fitted with a Browning turret-mounted machine gun and a BREN anti-aircraft gun, first saw service in Malaya and was a common sight in Northern Ireland.
  • At first the Gannet was used in submarine detection but in the mid-1960s the advanced early warning version was developed, and saw service until 1977.
  • The Lux range first saw service at the Open championship in Kent earlier this year where they were tested out by the millionaires of world golf, who pronounced themselves satisfied.


Old English (denoting religious devotion or a form of liturgy), from Old French servise or Latin servitium 'slavery', from servus 'slave'. The early sense of the verb (mid 19th century) was 'be of service to, provide with a service'.

Words that rhyme with service


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ser|vice

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