verb (used with object), re·served, re·serv·ing.



kept in reserve; forming a reserve: a reserve fund; a reserve supply.
of or relating to the animal awarded second place in livestock shows: the reserve champion steer.

Nearby words

  1. resentful,
  2. resentment,
  3. reserpine,
  4. reservation,
  5. reservationist,
  6. reserve air,
  7. reserve bank,
  8. reserve buoyancy,
  9. reserve capacity,
  10. reserve clause


    in reserve, put aside or withheld for a future need; reserved: money in reserve.
    without reserve,
    1. without restraint; frankly; freely.
    2. (of articles at auction) without limitation as to the terms of sale, especially with no stipulated minimum price.

Origin of reserve

1325–75; Middle English reserven (v.) < Middle French reserver < Latin reservāre to keep back, retain, equivalent to re- re- + servāre to save

1. husband, hold, store. See keep. 8. supply. 14. taciturnity, constraint, coldness.

Related formsre·serv·a·ble, adjectivere·serve·less, adjectivenon·re·serv·a·ble, adjectivenon·re·serve, noun, adjective

Can be confusedre-serve reserve



verb (used with or without object), re-served, re-serv·ing.

to serve again.

Origin of re-serve

First recorded in 1865–70; re- + serve

Can be confusedre-serve reserve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reserve

British Dictionary definitions for reserve


verb (tr)

to keep back or set aside, esp for future use or contingency; withhold
to keep for oneself; retainI reserve the right to question these men later
to obtain or secure by advance arrangementI have reserved two tickets for tonight's show
to delay delivery of (a judgment), esp in order to allow time for full consideration of the issues involved


  1. something kept back or set aside, esp for future use or contingency
  2. (as modifier)a reserve stock
the state or condition of being reservedI have plenty in reserve
a tract of land set aside for the protection and conservation of wild animals, flowers, etca nature reserve
Also called: reservation Canadian an area of land set aside, esp (in the US and Canada) for American or Canadian Indian peoples
Australian and NZ an area of publicly owned land set aside for sport, recreation, etc
the act of reserving; reservation
a member of a team who only plays if a playing member drops out; a substitute
(often plural)
  1. a part of an army or formation not committed to immediate action in a military engagement
  2. that part of a nation's armed services not in active service
coolness or formality of manner; restraint, silence, or reticence
  1. a portion of capital not invested (a capital reserve) or a portion of profits not distributed (a revenue or general reserve) by a bank or business enterprise and held to meet legal requirements, future liabilities, or contingencies
  2. (often plural)liquid assets held by an organization, government, etc, to meet expenses and liabilities
without reserve without reservations; fully; wholeheartedly
Derived Formsreservable, adjectivereserver, noun

Word Origin for reserve

C14: from Old French reserver, from Latin reservāre to save up, from re- + servāre to keep



(tr) to serve again
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

Word Origin and History for reserve
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for reserve




To keep back, as for future use or for a special purpose.
To set or cause to be set apart for a particular person or use.


Something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose.


Held back, set aside, or saved.
Forming a reserve.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.