deserve

verb
de·​serve | \ di-ˈzərv How to pronounce deserve (audio) \
deserved; deserving

Definition of deserve

transitive verb

: to be worthy of : merit deserves another chance

intransitive verb

: to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital … have become recognized as they deserve.— T. S. Eliot a worse punishment than he deserved

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Other Words from deserve

deserver noun

Synonyms for deserve

Synonyms

earn, merit, rate

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Choose the Right Synonym for deserve

deserve, merit, and earn mean to be worthy of something. deserve is used when a person should rightly receive something good or bad because of his or her actions or character. A hard worker deserves to be rewarded. merit is used when someone or something is especially worthy of reward, punishment, or consideration. These students merit special praise. earn is used when a person has spent time and effort and gets what he or she deserves. You've earned a long vacation.

Examples of deserve in a Sentence

the team really deserved that victory after the way they played

Recent Examples on the Web

Everyone, mothers especially, deserve swift and effective mental health care. Minhae Shim Roth, Glamour, "Postpartum Depression Treatment Made Me Feel Helpless—Women Deserve Better Options," 25 Mar. 2019 There’s also a wonderful garden by Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami that deserves its own story. David Netto, Town & Country, "From "Coffin Storage" to Seaside Retreat: Inside an Incredible Home in Amagansett," 19 Mar. 2019 Mother’s Day is dedicated to our favorite person in the world who deserves just that, the entire world. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "20 Mother's Day Instagram Captions to Celebrate Your Supermom," 14 Mar. 2019 These are serious arguments that deserve a thoughtful response in a book about the assault on expertise. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics: The Government We ‘Like’," 22 Feb. 2019 Here are eight other emergency landings that deserve your attention. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "8 Emergency Landings That Rival the 'Miracle on the Hudson'," 15 Jan. 2019 Timmer, like other Ars staffers, appreciated how the film took high-level scientific initiatives and discoveries that deserve more attention, then wrapped them in relatable teen stories: growing up, fitting in, and surviving a high-stakes contest. Sam Machkovech And Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Films for the discerning nerd: Ars picks the best of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Instead, One Day at a Time kept its focus on the Alvarez family, especially single mother Penelope (Justina Machado, in a performance that deserved to win at least one award) and her mother (the great Rita Moreno). Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The 7 best TV shows of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Elegant, bespoke beds for the regal pup who deserves a palace—or at least a bed that's even cozier and fancier than your own. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "These Elegant Bespoke Dog Beds Are About To Become Your New Obsession," 31 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deserve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deserve

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for deserve

Middle English, from Anglo-French deservir, from Latin deservire to devote oneself to, from de- + servire to serve

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Statistics for deserve

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deserve

The first known use of deserve was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for deserve

deserve

verb

English Language Learners Definition of deserve

used to say that someone or something should or should not have or be given something often followed by to + verb

deserve

verb
de·​serve | \ di-ˈzərv How to pronounce deserve (audio) \
deserved; deserving

Kids Definition of deserve

: to have earned because of some act or quality

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More from Merriam-Webster on deserve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deserve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deserve

Spanish Central: Translation of deserve

Nglish: Translation of deserve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deserve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on deserve

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