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  Dictionary Definition of serve

verb, served, serving, noun

-- verb (i)
1. to act as a servant.
2. to wait at table; hand food to guests.
3. to render assistance; help.
4. to go through a term of service; do duty as a soldier, sailor, councillor, juror, etc.
5. to have definite use; be of use.
6. to answer the purpose: that will serve to explain my actions.
7. to be favourable, suitable, or convenient, as weather, time, etc.
8. Tennis, etc. to put the ball in play.
9. Ecclesiastical to act as server.
-- verb (t)
10. to be in the service of; work for.
11. to render service to; help.
12. to go through (a term of service, imprisonment, etc.).
13. to render active service to (a king, commander, etc.).
14. to render obedience or homage to (God, a sovereign, etc.).
15. to perform the duties of (an office, etc.): to serve his mayoralty.
16. to be useful or of service to.
17. to answer the requirements of; suffice.
18. to contribute to; promote.
19. to wait upon; set food before.
20. to set (food) on a table.
21. to act as a host or hostess in presenting (someone) with food or drink: may I serve you with some savouries?
22. to act as a host or hostess in offering (food or drink) to someone: she served cocktails to her guests.
23. to provide with a regular or continuous supply of something.
24. to treat in a specified manner: his car served him well.
25. to gratify (desire, etc.).
26. (of a male animal) to mate with.
27. Tennis, etc. to put (the ball) in play.
28. Law a. to make legal delivery of (a process or writ). b. to present (a person) with a writ.
29. to operate or work (a gun, etc.).
30. Nautical, etc. to bind or wind (a rope, etc.) with small cord or the like, as to strengthen or protect it.
-- noun
31. the act, manner, or right of serving, as in tennis.
32. a portion of food; a serving.
33. Colloquial a strong rebuke; a tongue lashing: she gave him a real serve when he came home drunk.
-- phrase
34. serve out, to distribute.
[ME serven, from OF servir, from L servire