noun (1)
ser·​vice | \ ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio) \

Definition of service

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : the occupation or function of serving in active service
b : employment as a servant entered his service
2a : the work performed by one that serves good service
b : help, use, benefit glad to be of service
c : contribution to the welfare of others
d : disposal for use I'm entirely at your service
3a : a form followed in worship or in a religious ceremony the burial service
b : a meeting for worship often used in plural held evening services
4 : the act of serving: such as
a : a helpful act did him a service
b : useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity usually used in plural charge for professional services
c : serve
5 : a set of articles for a particular use a silver tea service
6a : an administrative division (as of a government or business) the consular service
b : one of a nation's military forces (such as the army or navy)
7a : a facility supplying some public demand telephone service bus service
b : a facility providing maintenance and repair television service
8 : the materials (such as spun yarn, small lines, or canvas) used for serving a rope
9 : the act of bringing a legal writ, process, or summons to notice as prescribed by law
10 : the act of a male animal copulating with a female animal
11 : a branch of a hospital medical staff devoted to a particular specialty obstetrical service


serviced; servicing

Definition of service (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

: to perform services for: such as
a : to repair or provide maintenance for serviced the furnace
b : to meet interest and sinking fund payments on service government debt
c : to perform any of the business functions auxiliary to production or distribution of
d of a male animal : serve sense 10



Definition of service (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : of or relating to the armed services
2 : used in serving or supplying delivery men use the service entrance
3 : intended for hard or everyday use
4a : providing services the service trades—from filling stations to universities— John Fischer
b : offering repair, maintenance, or incidental services


noun (2)
ser·​vice | \ ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio) \

Definition of service (Entry 4 of 4)

: an Old World tree (Sorbus domestica) resembling the related mountain ashes but having larger flowers and larger edible fruit also : a related Old World tree (S. torminalis) with bitter fruits

Other Words from service


servicer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for service

Synonyms: Noun (1)

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of service in a Sentence

Verb I need to get my car serviced. The shop services sewing machines and old typewriters. The company was unable to service the loan. The bookstore primarily services people looking for out-of-print books. Adjective spent his time in the army as a correspondent for service newspapers

First Known Use of service

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1602, in the meaning defined above


1718, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (2)

1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for service

Noun (1)

Middle English service, servise "state of serving or being at someone's command, position in a household, duty which a tenant is owed to a lord, assistance, form followed in Christian worship, provision of food at a table," borrowed from Anglo-French (also continental Old French), borrowed from Medieval Latin servitium, going back to Latin, "condition of being a slave, servitude," (in plural) "slaves as a class," from servus "slave" + -itium -ice — more at serve entry 1

Note: The Latin noun broadened its meaning in post-classical Latin (and in loans into vernacular languages), so that it effectually functioned as a deverbal noun corresponding to servīre "to serve entry 1."


derivative of service entry 1


from attributive use of service entry 1

Noun (2)

probably respelling by folk-etymological association with service entry 1 of serves, plural of serve "the tree Sorbus domestica, its fruit," going back to Middle English cerve, cirve, serve, going back to Old English syrfe (weak noun), borrowed from Vulgar Latin *sorbea, from Latin sorbum "fruit of Sorbus domestica and related species" (of uncertain origin) + -ea, noun derivative of -ea, feminine of -eus -eous

Note: Latin sorbum has been compared with a group of words in East Slavic and Baltic, as Russian sorobalína "blackberry (Rubus sp.)," regional serbalína, serebrína "dog rose," and Lithuanian serbentà, serbénta "black currant (Ribes nigrum)," serbeñtas, ser͂bentas "red currant (Ribes rubrum)," and sirbstù, sir͂bti "to ripen." In the older literature these are linked with an assemblage of words allegedly going back to an Indo-European root *ser-, *sor-, *sr̥- "red, reddish," joined to an assortment of root extensions (compare Lithuanian sar͂tas "bay [of horses]" and other Baltic examples in E. Fraenkel, Litauisches etymologisches Wörterbuch). More recently, M. de Vaan (Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Brill, 2011) is skeptical of such a relationship and suggests at best a non-Indo-European etymon *sVrb- meaning "berry."

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Time Traveler for service

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

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Last Updated

23 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Service.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for service


ser·​vice | \ ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio) \

Kids Definition of service

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : help entry 2 sense 1, use Can I be of service to you?
2 : a religious ceremony the Sunday service a funeral service
3 : the occupation or function of serving or working as a servant
4 : the work or action of helping customers This restaurant gives quick service.
5 : a helpful or useful act : good turn My neighbor did me a service by retrieving my dog.
6 : a set of dishes or silverware a silver tea service
7 : an organization that provides something to the public the postal service
8 : a nation's armed forces During the war, Dad was called into the service.
9 : an organization or business that supplies some public demand or provides maintenance and repair for something bus service television sales and service


serviced; servicing

Kids Definition of service (Entry 2 of 2)

: to work on in order to maintain or repair It's time to have my vehicle serviced.


ser·​vice | \ ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio) \

Medical Definition of service

: a branch of a hospital medical staff devoted to a particular specialty pediatric service



Legal Definition of service

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of delivering to or informing someone of a writ, summons, or other notice as prescribed by law after service of process — see also notice by publication at notice, substituted service, summons

Note: Although service of process is primarily the means for a court to exert personal jurisdiction over a person, some form of service (as by publication of notice in a newspaper) is also usually required for exercise of in rem or quasi in rem jurisdiction.

2a : useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity usually used in pl. payment for services rendered
b : the maintenance or repair of tangible property machinery for the service and improvement of the residence


transitive verb
serviced; servicing

Legal Definition of service (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide services for: as
a : to meet interest and sinking fund payments on (debt) didn't have the cash flow to service a large loan
b : to collect payments and maintain a payment schedule for (a loan) especially after sale of the loan to a secondary mortgage market (as the Federal National Mortgage Association) — compare originate

Service biographical name

Ser·​vice | \ ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce Service (audio) \

Definition of Service

Robert William 1874–1958 Canadian writer

More from Merriam-Webster on service

Nglish: Translation of service for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of service for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about service

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