public service

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public service (countable and uncountable, plural public services)

  1. (countable) A service performed for the public good.
    This has been a public service announcement from the Advertising Council.
    • 1702, Examen Miscellaneum [], Preface:
      A Hypocrite may put on the World in many specious Duties, to the Ruin of the Public, but never can be a Condidate[sic] for Fame, without doing a Public Service, a general Good ev’n by the very Hypocrisy []
  2. (countable) A service such as health care, transport, or waste removal provided to the general public, often by the government.
    • 2013 May 17, George Monbiot, “Money just makes the rich suffer”, in The Guardian Weekly[1], volume 188, number 23, page 19:
      In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. The welfare state is dismantled. Essential public services are cut so that the rich may pay less tax. […]
  3. (countable) The organisation, department or business providing such a service.
  4. (uncountable) Government employment, especially in the civil service.
    • 1971, Lyndon Johnson, “‘I feel like I have already been here a year’”, in The Vantage Point[2], Holt, Reinhart & Winston, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 18:
      In spite of more than three decades of public service, I knew I was an unknown quantity to many of my countrymen and to much of the world when I assumed office.
    • 2022 June 7, Meg Hillier, “Standards in Public Life”, in parliamentary debates (House of Commons)‎[3], volume 715, column 676:
      We know that there are people in much lower offices in public service who adhere to those principles without question and without problems. Does my right hon. Friend find it regrettable that the Prime Minister does not?

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From English public service.


public service c (uncountable)

  1. public broadcasting; public sector television and radio broadcasters regarded as a collective.
    Vi värnar public service och ger stöd för kommersiell journalistik i hela landet.
    We uphold public broadcasting and support commercial journalism in the whole country.