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[suh b-surv] /səbˈsɜrv/
verb (used with object), subserved, subserving.
to be useful or instrumental in promoting (a purpose, action, etc.):
Light exercise subserves digestion.
Obsolete. to serve as a subordinate.
Origin of subserve
1610-20; < Latin subservīre, equivalent to sub- sub- + servīre to serve Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for subserve
Historical Examples
  • There were higher crimes they might attain to, and grander interests they might subserve.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • Such records may, in various ways, subserve the cause of emancipation.

  • The former includes all structure that is adapted to subserve some function.

    Form and Function E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell
  • But I'm willing you should use my name, darling, to subserve your timidity.

    Eventide Effie Afton
  • Let it be shown that barbarism ought not to subserve civilization.

  • It is just that barbarism should subserve civilization; that Wrong should subserve Right.

  • I answer, that it is right that barbarism should subserve civilization.

  • Everything was done to subserve the faith and suppress heresy.

    Colleges in America John Marshall Barker
  • We differ from them in that we have no material ends to subserve.

    The Blind Spot Austin Hall
  • You could make chemistry, for instance, subserve the needs of commerce, couldn't you?

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for subserve


verb (transitive)
to be helpful or useful to
(obsolete) to be subordinate to
Word Origin
C17: from Latin subservīre to be subject to, from sub- + 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
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