Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[dih-zur-ving] /dɪˈzɜr vɪŋ/
qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one's actions, qualities, or situation:
the deserving poor; a deserving applicant.
meriting; worthy:
a criminal deserving of a lifetime sentence.
Origin of deserving
First recorded in 1570-80; deserve + -ing2
Related forms
deservingly, adverb
deservingness, noun
self-deserving, adjective
undeserving, adjective
undeservingly, adverb
undeservingness, noun


[dih-zurv] /dɪˈzɜrv/
verb (used with object), deserved, deserving.
to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation:
to deserve exile; to deserve charity; a theory that deserves consideration.
verb (used without object), deserved, deserving.
to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense, etc.:
to reward him as he deserves; an idea deserving of study.
1250-1300; Middle English deserven < Anglo-French, Old French deservir, Latin dēservīre to devote oneself to the service of, equivalent to dē- de- + servīre to serve
Related forms
deserver, noun
predeserve, verb (used with object), predeserved, predeserving.
1. rate, warrant, justify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for deserving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Rare, indeed, is it to find a deserving peasant without them in France!

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • And indeed, as I have often said, never was there a young creature so deserving of our love.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Once they were deserving of our protection; now they even neglect to ask it.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew Josephine Preston Peabody
  • Yes, I gave money to some people who, it seems, were not deserving of it.

  • I hope it is deserving the acceptance of the illustrious Caeri.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
British Dictionary definitions for deserving


often postpositive and foll by of. worthy, esp of praise or reward
(rare) a merit or demerit; desert
Derived Forms
deservingly, adverb
deservingness, noun


(transitive) to be entitled to or worthy of; merit
(obsolete) (intransitive) foll by of. to be worthy
Derived Forms
deserved, adjective
deservedness (dɪˈzɜːvɪdnɪs) noun
deserver, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French deservir, from Latin dēservīre to serve devotedly, from de- + servīre to serve
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for deserving



early 13c., from Old French deservir (Modern French desservir) "deserve, be worthy of, earn, merit," from Latin deservire "serve well," from de- "completely" (see de-) + servire "to serve" (see serve). From "be entitled to because of good service" (a sense found in Late Latin), meaning generalized c.1300 to "be worthy of." Related: Deserved; deserving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with deserving
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for deserving

Word Value for deserving

Scrabble Words With Friends