—v.i. 1. to act as a servant.
2. to wait on table, as a waiter.
3. to offer or have a meal or refreshments available, as for patrons or guests: Come early, we're serving at six. 4. to offer or distribute a portion or portions of food or a beverage, as a host or hostess: It was her turn to serve at the faculty tea. 5. to render assistance; be of use; help.
6. to go through a term of service; do duty as a soldier, sailor, senator, juror, etc.
7. to have definite use: This cup will serve as a sugar bowl. 8. to answer the purpose: That will serve to explain my actions. 9. (in tennis, badminton, handball, etc.) to put the ball or shuttlecock in play with a stroke, swing, or hit.
10. to be favorable, suitable, or convenient, as weather or time.
11. Eccles.to act as a server.
—v.t. 1. to be in the service of; work for.
2. to be useful or of service to; help.
3. to go through (a term of service, imprisonment, etc.).
4. to render active service to (a sovereign, commander, etc.).
5. to render obedience or homage to (God, a sovereign, etc.).
6. to perform the duties of (a position, an office, etc.): to serve his mayoralty. 7. to answer the requirements of; suffice: This will serve our needs for the moment. 8. to contribute to; promote: to serve a cause. 9. to wait upon at table; act as a waiter or waitress to.
10. to carry and distribute (portions of food or drink) to a patron or a specific table, as a waiter or waitress.
11. to act as a host or hostess in offering (a person) a portion of food or drink: May I serve you with some tea and cake? 12. to act as a host or hostess in offering or distributing (a portion or portions of food or drink) to another: They served tea and cake to their guests. 13. to provide with a regular or continuous supply of something.
14. (in tennis, badminton, handball, etc.) to put (the ball or shuttlecock) in play.
15. to treat in a specified manner: That served him ill. 16. Law. a. to make legal delivery of (a process or writ).
b. to present (a person) with a writ.
17. to gratify (desire, wants, needs, etc.).
18. (of a male animal) to mate with; service.
19. to operate or keep in action (a gun, artillery, etc.).
20. Naut.to wrap (a rope) tightly with small stuff, keeping the turns as close together as possible.
21. serve one right, to treat one as one deserves, esp. to punish justly: It will serve you right if she never speaks to you again.
—n. the act, manner, or right of serving, as in tennis.