sub·​serve (ˌ)səb-ˈsərv How to pronounce subserve (audio)
subserved; subserving; subserves

transitive verb

: to promote the welfare or purposes of
: to serve as an instrument or means in carrying out

Examples of subserve in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These auditory and reward network pathways likely subserve the mind’s ability to form predictions and expectations during music listening. Grace Leslie, Scientific American, 18 Sep. 2021 Specific networks of neurons in the brain subserve the formation of human beliefs; neurodegenerative disorders disrupt these networks, leading to distorted beliefs that often have no basis in observable reality. Serggio Lanata, Scientific American, 22 Feb. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subserve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin subservire to serve, be subservient, from sub- + servire to serve

First Known Use

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of subserve was in 1661

Dictionary Entries Near subserve

Cite this Entry

“Subserve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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