Our betters tell us they are our humble servants, but understand us to be their slaves.Swift.
(Serv"ant), v. t. To subject. [Obs.] Shak.
(Serv"ant*ess), n. A maidservant. [Obs.] Wyclif.
(Serv"ant*ry) n. A body of servants; servants, collectively. [R.]
(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. Conserve, Desert merit, Dessert, Observe, Serf, Sergeant.]
1. To work for; to labor in behalf of; to exert one's self continuously or statedly for the benefit of; to do
service for; to be in the employment of, as an inferior, domestic, serf, slave, hired assistant, official helper,
etc.; specifically, in a religious sense, to obey and worship.
God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit.Rom. i. 9.
Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.Gen. xxix.
No man can serve two masters.Matt. vi. 24.
Had I but served my God with half the zealShak.
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me
naked to mine enemies.
2. To be subordinate to; to act a secondary part under; to appear as the inferior of; to minister to.
Bodies bright and greater should not serveMilton.
The less not bright.
3. To be suitor to; to profess love to. [Obs.]
To serve a lady in his beste wise.Chaucer.
4. To wait upon; to supply the wants of; to attend; specifically, to wait upon at table; to attend at meals; to
supply with food; as, to serve customers in a shop.
Others, pampered in their shameless pride,Dryden.
Are served in plate and in their chariots ride.
5. Hence, to bring forward, arrange, deal, or distribute, as a portion of anything, especially of food prepared
for eating; often with up; formerly with in.
Bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.Shak.
Some part he roasts, then serves it up so dressed.Dryde.
6. To perform the duties belonging to, or required in or for; hence, to be of use to; as, a curate may serve
two churches; to serve one's country.