Serve - definition, pronunciation, transcription

Amer.  |sɜːrv|  American pronunciation of the word serve
Brit.  |sɜːv|  British pronunciation of the word serve


- (sports) a stroke that puts the ball in play (syn: service)
his powerful serves won the game


- serve a purpose, role, or function (syn: function)
The tree stump serves as a table
The female students served as a control group
This table would serve very well
His freedom served him well
- do duty or hold offices; serve in a specific function
He served as head of the department for three years
She served in Congress for two terms
- contribute or conduce to
The scandal served to increase his popularity
- be used by; as of a utility (syn: service)
The sewage plant served the neighboring communities
The garage served to shelter his horses
- help to some food; help with food or drink (syn: help)
I served him three times, and after that he helped himself
- provide (usually but not necessarily food) (syn: dish, dish out, dish up)
We serve meals for the homeless
The entertainers served up a lively show
- devote (part of) one's life or efforts to, as of countries, institutions, or ideas
She served the art of music
He served the church
serve the country
- promote, benefit, or be useful or beneficial to
Art serves commerce
Their interests are served
The lake serves recreation
The President's wisdom has served the country well
- spend time in prison or in a labor camp (syn: do)
- work for or be a servant to (syn: assist, attend, wait on)
May I serve you?
The minister served the King for many years
- deliver a warrant or summons to someone (syn: process)
- be sufficient; be adequate, either in quality or quantity (syn: answer, do, suffice)
Nothing else will serve
- do military service
She served in Vietnam
My sons never served, because they are short-sighted
- mate with (syn: service)
male animals serve the females for breeding purposes
- put the ball into play
It was Agassi's turn to serve

Extra examples

Soup was served as the first course.

The waiter served our meals quickly.

The restaurant serves excellent Italian food.

The waiter who served us was very nice.

Feel free to serve yourself at the salad bar.

You carve the turkey, and I'll serve.

The roast should serve six.

I'm afraid all of our salespeople are serving other customers right now.

What can we do to serve our customers better?

She started the game with a powerful serve.

I've been asked to serve on yet another committee.

The general had served as a private soldier in the earlier war.

The bundle served him for a pillow.

His words serve as a reminder of our responsibility.

It's time to serve up the main course.

Word forms

I/you/we/they: serve
he/she/it: serves
present participle: serving
past tense: served
past participle: served
singular: serve
plural: serves
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