serve


serve
1 verb
1 FOOD/DRINK (I, T) to give someone food or drink as part of a meal: What kind of wine should we serve? | serve sth with sth: Serve the dish with rice and a green salad. | serve sb: Why aren't you out there serving the guests? | serve sth hot/cold etc: delicious served hot or cold | serve breakfast/lunch/dinner: Breakfast is served between 7 and 9 a.m. | serving spoon/dish (=one used to serve food)
2 serve two/three/four etc if food serves two, three etc people, there is enough for that number of people: One large fish should serve two to three people.
3 BE USEFUL/HELPFUL (I, T) to be useful or helpful for a particular purpose or reason: serve as sth: The old couch had to serve as a guest bed. | serve sb well: Her talent for selling will serve her well in the future. | serve sb's needs: We don't get enough aid to serve our needs. | serve a purpose: If you haven't got a crate, a large cardboard box will serve the purpose. | Sure, you could phone her, but what purpose would that serve?
4 DO A HELPFUL JOB (I, T) to spend a period of time doing a job, especially one that helps the organization: The school board members serve a two-year term.
(+ in): He returned to Greece to serve in the army. (+ on): Annette serves on various local committees. (+ as): Martin served as ambassador to Burma in the '60s. | serve sb/sth: And let's not forget the women who served their country in the war.
5 HAVE AN EFFECT (I, T) to have a particular effect or result: serve to do sth: Let that serve to demonstrate what happens if you don't pay attention. | serve (sb) as sth: The pictures only served as a reminder of happier times.
6 SHOP/RESTAURANT (I, T) to help the customers in a shop, restaurant etc, especially by bringing them the things that they want: The waitress doesn't seem to want to serve us. | Are you being served?
7 PROVIDE STH (T) to provide a group of people with something that is necessary or useful: water mains to serve the new homes in the area
8 PRISON (T) to spend a particular period of time in prison: serve a sentence: Fox had served an eighteen-month sentence for burglary. | serve time (=spend time in prison)
9 it serves sb right spoken used to say that you think someone deserves it if something unpleasant happens to them, because they have been stupid or unkind: “Ouch! She pinched me!” “Serves you right, teasing her like that.”
10 SPORT (I, T) to start playing in a game such as tennis or volleyball by throwing the ball up in the air and hitting it to your opponent
11 serve an apprenticeship to learn a job or skill by working for a fixed period of time for someone who has a lot of experience
12 serve a summons/writ etc to officially send or give someone a written order to appear in a court of law
13 CHURCH (I) to help a priest during the Eucharist
—see also: if my memory serves me (right/well/correctly) memory (4) serve sth out phrasal verb (T)
1 to continue doing something until the end of a fixed period of time: Dillon's served out nearly all his sentence.
2 BrE to put food onto plates: Serve out the rice, will you?
serve sth up phrasal verb (T) to put food onto plates so that people can eat it 2 noun (C) the action in a game such as tennis or volleyball in which you throw the ball in the air and hit it to your opponent

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • serve — → serf ● serf, serve adjectif (latin servus, esclave) Relatif à l état des serfs : Des hommes de condition serve. Littéraire. Qui fait preuve d une soumission complète à l égard d autrui. ● serf, serve (homonymes) adjectif (latin servus, esclave) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • serve — [sɜːv ǁ sɜːrv] verb 1. [transitive] COMMERCE to supply customers with a particular product or service or with something they need: • The firm plans to open a London office to serve clients with investments and businesses in Europe. • JAL Group… …   Financial and business terms

  • serve — vt served, serv·ing 1: to deliver, publish, or execute (notice or process) as required by law no notice of any such request was ever served on the husband National Law Journal 2: to make legal service upon (the person named in a process): inform… …   Law dictionary

  • Serve — Serve, v. i. 1. To be a servant or a slave; to be employed in labor or other business for another; to be in subjection or bondage; to render menial service. [1913 Webster] The Lord shall give thee rest . . . from the hard bondage wherein thou… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Serve — may refer to: * Serve (tennis) * Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment * Providing a non material good, as in the work of a servant * Supplying customers with food and drink, as in the work of a food server * Delivering a legal or… …   Wikipedia

  • serve as — index exercise (discharge a function) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • serve — I n. (tennis) 1) the serve was good; long; out 2) a serve to (a serve to the backhand) II v. 1) (A) ( to bring ) she served dinner to us; or: she served us dinner 2) (d; intr.) to serve as ( to fulfill the functions of ) (his illness served as an …   Combinatory dictionary

  • serve — verb 1 give sb food or drink ADVERB ▪ immediately ▪ Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve immediately. VERB + SERVE ▪ be ready to ▪ Cover and chill the salad until ready to serve …   Collocations dictionary

  • serve — servable, serveable, adj. /serrv/, v., served, serving, n. v.i. 1. to act as a servant. 2. to wait on table, as a waiter. 3. to offer or have a meal or refreshments available, as for patrons or guests: Come early, we re serving at six. 4. to… …   Universalium

  • serve — I. verb (served; serving) Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French servir, from Latin servire to be a slave, serve, from servus slave, servant Date: 13th century intransitive verb 1. a. to be a servant b. to do military or naval service …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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