serve

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English[edit]

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A jump serve in a game of volleyball

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English serven, from Middle French servir, from Old French, from Latin servire (to be a slave; to serve), from Latin servus (slave; servant), which perhaps derives from Etruscan (compare Etruscan proper names Servi, Serve).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

serve (plural serves)

  1. (sports) An act of putting the ball or shuttlecock in play in various games.
    Whose serve is it?
    • 1961 January 13, Marshall Smith, From Waif to a Winner, the Clown of the Courts, Life, page 99,
      He had no power serve of his own, no backhand, no volley, no lob, no idea of pace or tactics.
    • 1996, Steve Boga, Badminton, page viii,
      The first serve of the game is from the right half court to the half diagonally opposite.
    • 2009, Mihnea Moldoveanu, Roger L. Martin, Diaminds: Decoding the Mental Habits of Successful Thinkers, page 31,
      Against a serve of the calibre of McEnroe′s, an opponent will try to anticipate the ball′s direction and lean either to the left or to the right, depending on where he feels the server will go.
  2. (chiefly Australia) A portion of food or drink, a serving.
    • 2004, Susanna Holt, Fitness Food: The Essential Guide to Eating Well and Performing Better, Murdoch Books Australia, page 23,
      The night before your event, base your evening meal on high-carbohydrate foods with a small serve of lean protein.
    • 2007, Verity Campbell, Turkey, Lonely Planet, page 142,
      Come here for a cappuccino that could hold its own on Via Veneto in Rome (€2) and a serve of their crunchy fresh cheese börek.
    • 2008, Michael E. Cichorski, Maximum Asthma Control: The Revolutionary 3-Step Anti Asthma Program, page 100,
      Reintroduce protein; add a small serve of salmon, tuna or sardines every second day (tinned variety or fresh).
    • 2011, Great Britain Parliament House of Commons Health Committee, Alcohol: First Report of Session 2009-10, Volume 2, page 189,
      Smirnoff Appleback was a finished drink, comprising a 50ml serve of Smirnoff, with ice and lemonade or ginger ale and equating to 1.9 units.
    • 2012, Lesley Campbell, Alan L. Rubin, Type 2 Diabetes For Dummies, Australian Edition, page 117,
      One serve of carbohydrates is approximately equal to a slice of bread, a piece of fruit, third of a cup of cooked rice, half a cup of grains, cereals, starchy vegetables or cooked pasta, 200 grams of plain yoghurt, or 300 millilitres of milk.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (act of putting the ball or shuttlecock in play): service
  • (portion of food): See serving

Antonyms[edit]

  • (sports: act of putting the ball or shuttlecock in play): receive

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

serve (third-person singular simple present serves, present participle serving, simple past and past participle served)

  1. (personal) To provide a service.
    1. (transitive) To be a formal servant for (a god or deity); to worship in an official capacity. [from 12th c.]
      • 1889, Philip Schaff, translating St. Chrysostom, Homilies, XIV:
        And yet this is not the office of a Priest, but of Him whom the Priest should serve.
    2. (transitive) To be a servant for; to work for, to be employed by. [from 13th c.]
      • 1716, Joseph Addison, The Drummer:
        And, truly, Mrs Abigail, I must needs say, I served my master contentedly while he was living, but I will serve no man living (that is, no man that is not living) without double wages.
      • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, The Unknown Ajax:
        [] his lordship was out of humour. That was the way Chollacombe described as knaggy an old gager as ever Charles had had the ill-fortune to serve.
      • 1979, Bob Dylan, ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’:
        You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief, / They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief / But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
    3. (transitive) To wait upon (someone) at table; to set food and drink in front of, to help (someone) to food, meals etc. [from 13th c.]
      • 2007, Larry McMurty, When the Light Goes:
        That night Annie served him grilled halibut and English peas, plus tomatoes, of course, and a salad.
    4. (intransitive) To be a servant or worker; to perform the duties of a servant or employee; to render service. [from 14th c.]
      • 1673, John Milton, ‘On his Blindness’:
        They also serve who only stand and wait.
    5. (transitive) To set down (food or drink) on the table to be eaten; to bring (food, drink) to a person. [from 15th c.]
      • 2009, Dominic A Pacyga, Chicago: A Biography, p. 195:
        About twenty minutes after waiters served the soup, a guest got up and left.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To treat (someone) in a given manner. [from 13th c.]
    • 1924, H. Rider Haggard, Belshazzar:
      I mock them all who have served me ill of late and chiefly this cheat of Judah, whose temple we have plundered and whose golden vessels are my wash-pots.
  3. (transitive, archaic) To be suitor to; to be the lover of. [from 14th c.]
  4. To be effective.
    1. (transitive) To be useful to; to meet the needs of. [from 14th c.]
      • 2010, Lloyd Marcus, The Guardian, 12 Oct 2010:
        So, while the sycophantic liberal media calls any and all opposition to Obama racist, they give Obama carte blanche to exploit his race whenever it serves his purpose.
    2. (intransitive) To have a given use or purpose; to function for something or to do something. [from 14th c.]
      • 2011, "Borgata bust", The Economist, 27 Jan 2011:
        The bust also served to remind the public that the Mafia is not harmless.
      • 2012 March-April, Terrence J. Sejnowski, “Well-connected Brains”, American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 171: 
        Creating a complete map of the human connectome would therefore be a monumental milestone but not the end of the journey to understanding how our brains work. The achievement will transform neuroscience and serve as the starting point for asking questions we could not otherwise have answered, […].
    3. (intransitive) To usefully take the place as, instead of something else. [from 14th c.]
      • 2010, "Not up in the air", The Economist, 20 Apr 2010:
        Maybe the volcanic eruption will serve as a wake-up call to such companies that they need to modernise their risk management.
  5. (transitive, law) To deliver a document.
    1. To officially deliver (a legal notice, summons etc.). [from 15th c.]
      • 2008 Colloff, Pamela, The Fire That Time, Texas Monthly; Austin: Emmis Publishing, April 2008, p. 158:
        On the morning of February 28, 1993, ATF agents gathered at a staging area near Waco and prepared to serve a search warrant on the Branch Davidians' residence.
    2. To make legal service upon (a person named in a writ, summons, etc.)
      to serve a witness with a subpoena
  6. (transitive, intransitive, sports) To lead off with the first delivery over the net in tennis, volleyball, ping pong, badminton etc. [from 16th c.]
    • 2007, Rob Antoun, Women's Tennis Tactics, page 2
      In women's tennis the need to serve more effectively has become greater in recent years because the game is being played more aggressively, and rallies are becoming shorter as a result.
  7. (transitive) To copulate with (of male animals); to cover. [from 16th c.]
    • 1996, Puck Bonnier et al., Dairy Cattle Husbandry, Agromisa Foundation 2004:
      Conception means that a cow is served by a bull and that she becomes pregnant.
  8. (intransitive) To be in military service. [from 16th c.]
    • 2007, Peter Walker, The Guardian, 16 May 2007:
      Some reports suggested he would quit the army if he was not allowed to serve abroad in a war zone.
  9. (transitive, military) To work, to operate (a weapon). [from 18th c.]
    • 1864, Horace Greeley, The American Conflict:
      John T. Greble, of the 2d regular artillery, was likewise killed instantly by a ball through the head, while serving his gun in the face of the foe.
  10. (transitive) To work through (a given period of time in prison, a sentence). [from 19th c.]
    • 2010, Tania Branigan, The Guardian, 1 Dec 2010:
      The Guangzhou Daily reported that Shi Chunlong, 20, who organised the incident, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Hou Bin, who pulled out of the attack after helping to plan it, will serve 12 years.
  11. (nautical) To wind spun yarn etc. tightly around (a rope or cable, etc.) so as to protect it from chafing or from the weather.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ serve” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

serve

  1. first-person singular present subjunctive of servir
  2. third-person singular present subjunctive of servir

Anagrams[edit]


Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

serve f

  1. plural form of serva

Verb[edit]

serve

  1. third-person singular present indicative of servire

Latin[edit]

Noun[edit]

serve m

  1. vocative singular of servus