public service


Definition of public service 

1 : the business of supplying a commodity (such as electricity or gas) or service (such as transportation) to any or all members of a community

2 : a service rendered in the public interest

3 : governmental employment especially : civil service

Examples of public service in a Sentence

The cost of public services is on the rise. The station is running antismoking commercials as a public service. The company is heavily involved in public service. He works in public service. She has devoted her life to public service.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In cases where public services used to be particularly bad, contracting out has made a clear difference. The Economist, "Britain’s outsourcing model, copied around the world, is in trouble," 28 June 2018 This would be offered as a free public service; nobody could be turned away for a minimum balance or any other reason. David Dayen, The New Republic, "Give Everyone Government Bank Accounts," 13 June 2018 Does the cost of being a politician deter some of lesser means from pursuing public service? Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a point about housing for Congress," 21 Nov. 2018 Conditions of Barreno’s sentence and probation include 75 hours of public service work, no contact with persons involved in the incident and a $750 fine as well as court costs. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Former North Chicago cop pleads guilty to patronizing a prostitute," 28 June 2018 And that is the way the senator from Iowa has conducted himself throughout a lifetime dedicated to public service. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Read the full transcript of Sen. Collins’s speech announcing she’ll vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh," 5 Oct. 2018 Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gave remarks to honor the late Senator, paying his respects to the McCain family and honoring McCain's lifelong dedication to public service. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Paul Ryan Gave a Poignant Speech at John McCain's Memorial Service," 31 Aug. 2018 In 1994, California Republican Gov. Pete Wilson embraced Proposition 187 — which denied public services to undocumented immigrants — as a way to gin up turnout for his reelection campaign. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Under Trump, Americans are becoming more supportive of immigration," 22 June 2018 Republicans led by Pete Wilson, who was governor at the time, backed the ballot initiative, which sought to deny public services to undocumented immigrants. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, "How Latino Voting Power Will Count in the California Primary," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'public service.' 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 public service

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for public service

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for public service

The first known use of public service was in 1576

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More Definitions for public service

public service


English Language Learners Definition of public service

: the business of supplying something (such as electricity, gas, or transportation) to the members of a community

: something that is done to help people rather than to make a profit

: work that someone does as part of a government : the work done by public servants

More from Merriam-Webster on public service

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with public service Encyclopedia article about public service

Comments on public service

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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