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verb re·serve \ri-ˈzərv\

Simple Definition of reserve

  • : to make arrangements so that you will be able to use or have (something, such as a room, table, or seat) at a later time

  • : to keep (something) for a special or future use

  • : to choose to do (something) at a later time

Full Definition of reserve


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to hold in reserve :  keep back <reserve grain for seed> b :  to set aside (part of the consecrated elements) at the Eucharist for future use c :  to retain or hold over to a future time or place :  defer <reserve one's judgment on a plan> d :  to make legal reservation of

  3. 2 :  to set or have set aside or apart <reserve a hotel room>

re·serv·able play \-ˈzər-və-bəl\ adjective

Examples of reserve

  1. We reserved a hotel room.

  2. This table is reserved for someone else.

  3. The seats are reserved under my name.

  4. We will reserve this wine for a special occasion.

  5. She usually reserved her best dishes for very important dinners.

Origin of reserve

Middle English, from Anglo-French reserver, from Latin reservare, literally, to keep back, from re- + servare to keep — more at conserve

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of reserve

keep, observe, celebrate, commemorate mean to notice or honor a day, occasion, or deed. keep stresses the idea of not neglecting or violating <kept the Sabbath by refraining from work>. observe suggests marking the occasion by ceremonious performance <not all holidays are observed nationally>. celebrate suggests acknowledging an occasion by festivity <traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge dinner>. commemorate suggests that an occasion is marked by observances that remind one of the origin and significance of the event <commemorate Memorial Day with the laying of wreaths>.

keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control <keep this while I'm gone>. retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss <managed to retain their dignity even in poverty>. detain suggests a delay in letting go <detained them for questioning>. withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go <withheld information from the authorities>. reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use <reserve some of your energy for the last mile>.



noun re·serve

Simple Definition of reserve

  • : a supply of something that is stored so that it can be used at a later time

  • : a military force that is additional to the regular forces and that is available if it is needed

  • : an area of land where animals and plants are given special protection

Full Definition of reserve

  1. 1 :  something reserved or set aside for a particular purpose, use, or reason: as a (1) :  a military force withheld from action for later decisive use —usually used in plural (2) :  forces not in the field but available (3) :  the military forces of a country not part of the regular services; also :  reservist b :  a tract (as of public land) set apart :  reservation

  2. 2 :  something stored or kept available for future use or need :  stock

  3. 3 :  an act of reserving :  qualification

  4. 4 a :  restraint, closeness, or caution in one's words and actions b :  forbearance from making a full explanation, complete disclosure, or free expression of one's mind

  5. 5 archaic :  secret

  6. 6 a :  money or its equivalent kept in hand or set apart usually to meet liabilities b :  the liquid resources of a nation for meeting international payments

  7. 7 :  substitute

  8. 8 :  reserve price

  9. 9 :  a wine made from select grapes, bottled on the maker's premises, and aged differently from the maker's other wines of the same vintage

in reserve
  1. :  held back for future or special use

Examples of reserve

  1. He had to call upon his inner reserves of strength to keep going.

  2. <the salesclerk showed great reserve in dealing with the unreasonable demands of the angry customer>


First Known Use of reserve


RESERVE Defined for Kids



verb re·serve \ri-ˈzərv\

Definition of reserve


  1. 1 :  to arrange to have set aside and held for someone's use <I called to reserve a hotel room.>

  2. 2 :  to keep in store for special use <She believed that Sundays should be reserved for family activities. — Carl Hiaasen, Hoot>

  3. 3 :  to keep from using until a future time <We need to reserve our strength.>

  4. 4 :  to hold over to a future time or place <Reserve judgment until you know the facts.>



noun re·serve

Definition of reserve

  1. 1 reserves plural :  military forces held back or available for later use

  2. 2 :  an area of land set apart <a nature reserve>

  3. 3 :  caution in words and behavior

  4. 4 :  something stored for future use <oil reserves>

  5. 5 :  an act of setting something aside for future use

Seen and Heard

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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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