verb re·serve \ri-ˈzərv\

: 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

transitive verb
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
:  to set or have set aside or apart <reserve a hotel room>
re·serv·able \-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

Related to RESERVE


noun, often attributive

: 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

:  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
:  something stored or kept available for future use or need :  stock
:  an act of reserving :  qualification
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
archaic :  secret
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
:  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
:  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

May 22, 2015
nepotism Hear it
favoritism based on kinship
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears