serve ( serves plural & 3rd person present) ( serving present participle) ( served past tense & past participle )
1 verb If you serve your country, an organization, or a person, you do useful work for them.
It is unfair to soldiers who have served their country well for many years... V n
I have always said that I would serve the Party in any way it felt appropriate. V n
2 verb If you serve in a particular place or as a particular official, you perform official duties, especially in the armed forces, as a civil servant, or as a politician.
During the second world war he served with RAF Coastal Command... V prep/adv
For seven years until 1991 he served as a district councillor in Solihull. V prep/adv
3 verb If something servesas a particular thing or serves a particular purpose, it performs a particular function, which is often not its intended function.
She ushered me into the front room, which served as her office... V as/for n
I really do not think that an inquiry would serve any useful purpose... V n
Their brief visit has served to underline the deep differences between the two countries... V to-inf
The old drawing room serves her as both sitting room and study. V n as/for n
4 verb If something serves people or an area, it provides them with something that they need.
This could mean the closure of thousands of small businesses which serve the community... V n
Cuba is well served by motorways. V n
5 verb Something that serves someone's interests benefits them.
The economy should be organized to serve the interests of all the people... V n
6 verb When you serve food and drink, you give people food and drink.
Serve it with French bread... V n prep
Serve the cakes warm... V n adj
Prepare the garnishes shortly before you are ready to serve the soup. V n
...the pleasure of having someone serve you champagne and caviar in bed... V n n
They are expected to baby-sit, run errands, and help serve at cocktail parties. V, Also V n to n
Serve up means the same as serve., phrasal verb
After all, it is no use serving up TV dinners if the kids won't eat them... V P n (not pron)
He served it up on delicate white plates. V n P
7 verb Serve is used to indicate how much food a recipe produces. For example, a recipe that serves six provides enough food for six people.
Garnish with fresh herbs. Serves 4. V n
8 verb Someone who serves customers in a shop or a bar helps them and provides them with what they want to buy.
They wouldn't serve me in any pubs 'cos I looked too young... V n
Auntie and Uncle suggested she serve in the shop. V
9 verb When the police or other officials serve someone with a legal order or serve an order on them, they give or send the legal order to them. (LEGAL)
Immigration officers tried to serve her with a deportation order... V n with n
Police said they had been unable to serve a summons on 25-year-old Lee Jones. V n on n
10 verb If you serve something such as a prison sentence or an apprenticeship, you spend a period of time doing it.
...Leo, who is currently serving a life sentence for murder... V n
11 verb When you serve in games such as tennis and badminton, you throw up the ball or shuttlecock and hit it to start play.
He served 17 double faults... V n
If you serve like this nobody can beat you. V
Serve is also a noun., n-count
His second serve clipped the net.
12 n-count When you describe someone's serve, you are indicating how well or how fast they serve a ball or shuttlecock.
His powerful serve was too much for the defending champion.
14 If you say it serves someone right when something unpleasant happens to them, you mean that it is their own fault and you have no sympathy for them.
serve sb right phrase V inflects, oft PHR for -ing (feelings)
Serves her right for being so stubborn. serve out phrasal verb If someone serves out their term of office, contract, or prison sentence, they do not leave before the end of the agreed period of time.
The governor has declared his innocence and says he plans to serve out his term... V P n (not pron), Also V n P serve up