over·​serve | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsərv How to pronounce overserve (audio) \
overserved; overserving; overserves

Definition of overserve

1 transitive : to provide (someone or something) with more of a product, service, etc., than is needed or appropriate : overservice He admitted older viewers were overserved by the BBC … .— John Plunkett
2 transitive + intransitive : to serve too much food or drink to someone especially : to serve too much alcohol to someone … state authorities cited Horseshoe Casino for overserving a patron who troopers said was drunk when he caused a fatal crash later that night. — Pat LaFleur Police say Griffin was arrested for his own safety rather than given misdemeanor citations. A friend of Griffin's said he had been overserved, according to multiple reports. ESPN.com "It's easy to take a horrific criminal act and associate it with an earlier crime," such as overserving alcohol, he [Jonathan Turley] said. — Deanna Paul … airlines in general benefit from serving free alcohol in part because it is a depressant that, in reasonable amounts, combines with cabin air to sedate passengers. … The trick, of course, is not to overserve, since too much booze can make people rowdy or disruptive. The Economist — see also overserved

First Known Use of overserve

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overserve

Time Traveler for overserve

Time Traveler

The first known use of overserve was in 1836

See more words from the same year

Statistics for overserve

Cite this Entry

“Overserve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overserve. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

Comments on overserve

What made you want to look up overserve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!