serve - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “serve”

See all translations

serve

verb  us   /sɜrv/

serve verb (HELP)

[I/T] (esp. of a person working in a restaurant or store) to help a customer by getting what someone needs or by showing or selling goods, or to provide food or drinks to a customer or guest: [T] We’ve been in the restaurant for half an hour and we’re still waiting to be served. [T] Breakfast is served between seven and nine every morning. [I/T] We’ll be ready to serve (lunch) soon. [I/T] To serve is also to provide an area or group of people with something that is needed: [T] As long as I am your representative, I will continue to serve the needs of this community.

serve verb (WORK)

[I/T] to work for, or to carry out your duty: [I] He served in the US Navy for twelve years. [T] If memory serves me right (= If I am remembering correctly), I was 13 at the time.

serve verb (SPEND TIME)

[T] to spend a period of time in a job or activity: He served three terms in the senate.

serve verb (HELP ACHIEVE)

[I/T] to help achieve something, or to be useful as something: [+ to infinitive] Tougher prison sentences, he said, will serve to deter crime. [I] The sofa can serve as (= be used as) a bed for a couple of nights.

serve verb (HIT BALL)

[I/T] (in tennis and other sports) to hit the ball to the other player or team as a way of starting play

serve

noun [C]  /sɜrv/

serve noun [C] (HITTING BALL)

(in tennis and other sports) the act of hitting the ball to the other player or team to start play : He's got a powerful serve.
(Definition of serve from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of serve?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “serve” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

paradox

a situation or statement that seems impossible or is difficult to understand because it contains two opposite facts or characteristics

Word of the Day

What’s All The Commotion About? (Words to describe sounds)

by Kate Woodford,
May 20, 2015
​​​ In this post we look at a range of words and phrases that we use to describe noise and the absence of noise. Starting with complete quiet, we sometimes use the noun hush to describe silence: A hush fell over the room as the bride walked in./There was a deathly hush (=complete

Read More 

plyscraper noun

May 18, 2015
a skyscraper made mainly from wood The development of engineered timber could herald a new era of eco-friendly ‘plyscrapers’. Christchurch welcomed its first multistorey timber structure this year, there are plans for Vancouver, and the talk is China could follow

Read More