service

1 of 4

noun (1)

ser·​vice ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio)
1
a
: the occupation or function of serving
in active service
b
: employment as a servant
entered his service
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
6
a
: 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)
7
a
: 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

service

2 of 4

verb

serviced; servicing

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
servicer noun

service

3 of 4

adjective

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
4
a
: providing services
the service trades—from filling stations to universities John Fischer
b
: offering repair, maintenance, or incidental services

service

4 of 4

noun (2)

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

Example Sentences

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

Word History

Etymology

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."

Verb

derivative of service entry 1

Adjective

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."

First Known Use

Noun (1)

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

Verb

1602, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (2)

1530, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near service

Cite this Entry

“Service.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/service. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

service 1 of 2

noun

ser·​vice ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio)
1
a
: the occupation or function of serving
in active service
b
: employment as a servant
entered the queen's service
2
a
: the work or action performed by one that serves
gives good service
b
: help entry 2 sense 1, use, benefit
be of service to them
c
: availability for use
I'll place a car at your service
3
: a religious ceremony or rite
the burial service
4
a
: the act of serving
b
: a helpful act : good turn
did us a service
c
: useful labor that does not produce goods
usually used in plural
charge for professional services
5
: a set of articles for a particular use
a tea service
6
a
: a branch of public employment or the people working in it
the consular service
b
: a nation's armed forces
called into the service
7
: an organization for supplying some public demand or keeping up and repairing something
television sales and service
service adjective

service

2 of 2

verb

serviced; servicing
: to work at taking care of and repairing
service cars

Medical Definition

service

noun

ser·​vice ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce service (audio)
: a branch of a hospital medical staff devoted to a particular specialty
pediatric service

Legal Definition

service 1 of 2

noun

ser·​vice
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.

2
a
: 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

service

2 of 2

transitive verb

serviced; servicing
: 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

Biographical Definition

Service

biographical name

Ser·​vice ˈsər-vəs How to pronounce Service (audio)
Robert William 1874–1958 Canadian writer

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