Meaning of “deserve” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"deserve" in British English

See all translations

deserveverb [ T not continuous ]

uk /dɪˈzɜːv/ us /dɪˈzɝːv/

B1 to have earned or to be given something because of the way you have behaved or the qualities you have:

After all that hard work, you deserve a holiday.
Chris deserves our special thanks for all his efforts.
I hope they get the punishment they deserve.
[ + to infinitive ] They certainly deserved to win that game.

More examples

  • They deserve praise for all their hard work.
  • The proposals that you have put forward deserve serious consideration.
  • A business as poorly managed as that one doesn't deserve to succeed.
  • You should treat those remarks with the contempt that they deserve.
  • He was a good strong leader, she said, who deserved his party's unreserved support.

(Definition of “deserve” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"deserve" in American English

See all translations


us /dɪˈzɜrv/

to have earned something or be given something because of your actions or qualities:

[ T ] These charities deserve your support.
[ + to infinitive ] The American people deserve to know what went wrong.
[ T ] I hope those crooks get what they deserve (= receive a punishment that suits their crime).

(Definition of “deserve” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)