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Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

American Dictionary
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Serve

SERVE, verb transitive serv. [Latin servio. This verb is supposed to be from the noun servus, a servant or slave, and this from servo, to keep.]

1. To work for; to bestow the labor of body and mind in the employment of another.

Jacob loved Rachel and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy youngest daughters. Genesis 29:15.

No man can serve two masters. Matthew 6:24.

2. To act as the minister of; to perform official duties to; as, a minister serves his prince.

Had I served God as diligently as I have served the king, he would not have given me over in my gray hairs. Cardinal Woolsey.

3. To attend at command; to wait on.

A goddess among gods, ador'd and serv'd

By anbels numberless, thy daily train. Milton.

4. To obey servilely or meanly. be not to wealth a servant.

5. To supply with food; as, to be served in plate.

6. To be subservient or subordinate to.

Bodies bright and greater should not serve

The less not bright. Milton.

7. To perform the duties required in; as, the curate served two churches.

8. To obey; to perform duties in the employment of; as, to serve the king or the country in the army or navy.

9. To be sufficient, or to promote; as, to serve one's turn, end or purpose.

10. To help by good offices; as, to serve one's country.

11. To comply with; to submit to.

They think herein we serve the time, because thereby we either hold or seek preferment. Hooker.

12. To be sufficient for; to satisfy; to content.

One half pint bottle serves them both to dine,

And is at once their vinegar and wine. Pope.

13. To be in the place of any thing to one. A sofa serves the Turks for a seat and a couch.

14. To treat; to requite; as, he served me ungratefully; he served me very ill; We say also, he served me a trick, that is he deceived me, or practiced an artifice on me.

15. In Scripture and theology, to obey and worship; to act in conformity to the law of a superior, and treat him with due reverence.

Fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and truth. As for me and my house, we will serve the lord. Joshua 24:14.

16. In a bad sense, to obey; to yeild compliance or act according to.

Serving divers lusts and treasures. Titus 3:1.

17. To worship; to render homage to; as, to serve idols or false gods.

18. To be a slave to; to be in bondage to.

19. To serve one's self of, to use; to make use of; a Gallicism, [se sevir de.]

I will serve myself of this concession. Chillingworh.

20. To use; to manage; to apply. The guns are well served.

21. In seamen's language, to wind something round a rope to prevent friction.

To serve up, to prepare and present in a dish; as, to serve up a sirloin of beef in plate; figuratively, to prepare.

To serve in, as used by Shakespeare, for to bring in, as meat by an attendant, I have never to be used in America.

To serve out, to distribute in portions; as, to serve out provisions to soldiers.

To serve a writ, to read it to the defendant; or to leave an attested copy at his usual place of abode.

To serve an attachment, or writ of attachment, to levy it on the or goods by seizure; or to seize.

To serve an execution, to levy it on lands, goods or person by seizure or taking possession.

To serve a warrant, to read it, and to seize the person against whom it is issued.

In general, to serve a process, is to read it so as to give due notice to the party concerned, or to leave an attested copy with him or his attorney, or at his usual place of abode.

To serve an office, to discharge a public duty. [This phrase, I believe, is not used in America. We say, a man serves in an office, that is, serves the public in an office.]

SERVE, verb intransitive serv.

1. To be a servant or slave.

The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve Isaiah 14:3.

2. To be employed in labor or or other business for another.

3. To be in subjection.

4. To wait; to attend; to perform domestic offices to another.

5. To perform duties, as in the army, navy or in any office. An officer serves five years in India, or under a particular commander. The late scretary of the colony, and afterwards state, of Connecticut, was annually appointed, and served in the office sixty years.

6. To answer; to accomplish the end.

She feared that all would not serve. Sidney.

7. To be sufficient for a purpose.

This little brand will serve to light your fire. Dryden.

8. To suit; to be convenient. Take this, and use it as occasion serves.

9. To conduce; to be of use.

Our victory only served to lead us on to other visionary prospects. Swift.

10. To officiate or minister; to do the honors of; as, to serve at a public dinner.