General English


  • verb of a male animal, to mate with a female


  • verb to be used for a purpose


  • verb to be enough food for a particular number of people


  • verb to deal with (a customer), to do a type of work
  • verb to give someone a legal document that requires them to do something
  • verb to spend a period of time in prison after being sentenced to imprisonment


  • verb to give a person food or drink
  • verb to be useful or helpful to a person or group
  • verb to have a particular effect or result


  • verb to be employed in the armed forces


  • verb to spend time as a member of a committee or as Member of Parliament


  • noun an act of serving the ball or shuttlecock
  • verb to begin a point by launching the ball or shuttlecock towards an opponent


  • verb to bring food or drink to a customer
  • verb to deal with a customer in a shop or bar
  • verb to make enough food for

Origin & History of “serve”

Latin servus ‘slave’ has been a rich source of English vocabulary. It is the direct ancestor of serf (15th c.) (and of the second syllable of concierge (17th c.)). but it is its derivatives that have made the most numerous contributions. From the verb servīre ‘serve’ come deserve, dessert, sergeant, servant (13th c.), serve, and serviette (15th c.) (but not, despite the similarity, conserve, observe, preserve, reserve, etc, which go back to the unrelated Latin servāre ‘keep, protect’). Servītium ‘slavery’ has provided service (12th c.) and its derivative serviceable (14th c.), while from servīlis ‘slavish’ comes servile (14th c.).