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Definition of 'serve'


  1. (sports) a stroke that puts the ball in play; "his powerful serves won the game"
       Synonyms: service


  1. serve a purpose, role, or 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"; "The table functions as a desk"
       Synonyms: function
  2. 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"
  3. contribute or conduce to; "The scandal served to increase his popularity"
  4. be used by; as of a utility; "The sewage plant served the neighboring communities"; "The garage served to shelter his horses"
       Synonyms: service
  5. help to some food; help with food or drink; "I served him three times, and after that he helped himself"
       Synonyms: help
  6. provide (usually but not necessarily food); "We serve meals for the homeless"; "She dished out the soup at 8 P.M."; "The entertainers served up a lively show"
       Synonyms: serve up dish out dish up dish
  7. 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"
  8. 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"
       Synonyms: serve well
  9. spend time in prison or in a labor camp; "He did six years for embezzlement"
       Synonyms: do
  10. work for or be a servant to; "May I serve you?"; "She attends the old lady in the wheelchair"; "Can you wait on our table, please?"; "Is a salesperson assisting you?"; "The minister served the King for many years"
       Synonyms: attend to wait on attend assist
  11. deliver a warrant or summons to someone; "He was processed by the sheriff"
       Synonyms: process swear out
  12. be sufficient; be adequate, either in quality or quantity; "A few words would answer"; "This car suits my purpose well"; "Will $100 do?"; "A 'B' grade doesn't suffice to get me into medical school"; "Nothing else will serve"
       Synonyms: suffice do answer
  13. do military service; "She served in Vietnam"; "My sons never served, because they are short-sighted"
  14. mate with; "male animals serve the females for breeding purposes"
       Synonyms: service
  15. put the ball into play; "It was Agassi's turn to serve"

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