1 give sb food or drink

Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve immediately.

be ready to

Cover and chill the salad until ready to serve.


They served a wonderful meal to more than 50 delegates.


The delegates were served with a wonderful meal.

Serve the lamb with new potatoes and green beans.

dinner is served

‘Dinner is served!’ Katie announced.

serve sth chilled, serve sth cold, serve sth hot

The quiche can be served hot or cold.

2 work
faithfully, loyally, well

She served the family faithfully for many years (= as a servant).


Let us know how we can better serve your needs.


She is currently serving as special adviser to the American Ambassador.

continue to

I shall continue to serve as a trustee.


She served in the medical corps.

to serve in the army/military/navy


I currently serve on the Board of Directors.

to serve on the committee/jury/panel


He served under President Reagan in the 1980s.

if memory serves you, if memory serves (you) correctly, if memory serves you right

If memory serves me right, we arrived on June 22, which was a Tuesday.

serve in a … capacity, serve in this/that capacity

She has served in an advisory capacity for a number of groups.

serve on active duty (esp. AmE)

He served on active duty in the US Marine Corps.

serve with distinction

He served with distinction in the First World War.

3 be useful
merely, only, simply

This only served to complicate the situation further.

mainly, mostly, primarily

The Declaration served primarily as a propaganda piece.


This strategy has always served him well.


The texts ultimately serve as springboards for the artists' imagination.

Serve is used with these nouns as the subject: ↑cafe, ↑clinic, ↑dining room, ↑felon, ↑inmate, ↑landlord, ↑lift, ↑main, ↑officer, ↑pastor, ↑recipe, ↑restaurant, ↑servant, ↑soldier, ↑staff, ↑troops, ↑veteran, ↑waiter, waitress
Serve is used with these nouns as the object: ↑ace, ↑alcohol, ↑beer, ↑buffet, ↑cause, ↑church, ↑client, ↑clientele, ↑cocktail, ↑congregation, ↑country, ↑crown, ↑cuisine, ↑customer, ↑dessert, ↑detention, ↑dish, ↑drink, ↑end, ↑fare, ↑fault, ↑food, ↑function, ↑god, ↑guest, ↑interest, ↑justice, ↑king, ↑liquor, ↑lord, ↑lunch, ↑mankind, ↑market, ↑master, ↑menu, ↑nation, ↑need, ↑niche, ↑notice, ↑profession, ↑public, ↑purpose, ↑refreshment, ↑role, ↑seafood, ↑sentence, ↑snack, ↑soup, ↑stint, ↑summons, ↑suspension, ↑tea, ↑term, ↑turkey, ↑warrant, ↑wine, ↑writ

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Serve — Serve, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Served}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Serving}.] [OE. serven, servien, OF. & F. servir, fr. L. servire; akin to servus a servant or slave, servare to protect, preserve, observe; cf. Zend har to protect, haurva protecting. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • serve — → serf ● serf, serve adjectif (latin servus, esclave) Relatif à l état des serfs : Des hommes de condition serve. Littéraire. Qui fait preuve d une soumission complète à l égard d autrui. ● serf, serve (homonymes) adjectif (latin servus, esclave) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • serve — [sɜːv ǁ sɜːrv] verb 1. [transitive] COMMERCE to supply customers with a particular product or service or with something they need: • The firm plans to open a London office to serve clients with investments and businesses in Europe. • JAL Group… …   Financial and business terms

  • serve — [sʉrv] vt. served, serving [ME serven < OFr servir < L servire, to serve < servus, servant, slave: see SERF] 1. to work for as a servant 2. a) to do services or duties for; give service to; aid; assist; help b) to give obedience and… …   English World dictionary

  • serve — vt served, serv·ing 1: to deliver, publish, or execute (notice or process) as required by law no notice of any such request was ever served on the husband National Law Journal 2: to make legal service upon (the person named in a process): inform… …   Law dictionary

  • serve — late 12c., to render habitual obedience to, from O.Fr. servir to serve, from L. servire to serve, originally be a slave, related to servus slave, perhaps from an Etruscan word (Cf. Etruscan proper names Servi, Serve). Meaning to attend to (a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Serve — Serve, v. i. 1. To be a servant or a slave; to be employed in labor or other business for another; to be in subjection or bondage; to render menial service. [1913 Webster] The Lord shall give thee rest . . . from the hard bondage wherein thou… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • serve — ► VERB 1) perform duties or services for. 2) be employed as a member of the armed forces. 3) spend (a period) in office, in an apprenticeship, or in prison. 4) present food or drink to. 5) attend to (a customer in a shop). 6) be of use in… …   English terms dictionary

  • serve — [v1] aid, help; supply arrange, assist, attend to, be of assistance, be of use, care for, deal, deliver, dish up*, distribute, do for, give, handle, hit, minister to, nurse, oblige, play, present, provide, provision, set out, succor, wait on,… …   New thesaurus

  • Serve — may refer to: * Serve (tennis) * Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment * Providing a non material good, as in the work of a servant * Supplying customers with food and drink, as in the work of a food server * Delivering a legal or… …   Wikipedia

  • serve up — (something) to offer something. The TV miniseries will be serving up five hour long programs. Hitchcock served up a pitch that Perez hit over the fence for a home run. Filmgoers demand realism, and Lee serves it up without flash or tricks in his… …   New idioms dictionary

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