verb (used with object), serv·iced, serv·ic·ing.


    at someone's service, ready to be of help or use to someone; at one's disposal: You will have an English-speaking guide at your service.
    be of service, to be helpful or useful: If we can be of service, do not hesitate to call.

Origin of service

before 1100; Middle English (noun) < Old French < Latin servitium servitude, equivalent to serv(us) slave + -itium -ice; replacing Middle English servise, late Old English serfise ceremony < Old French servise, variant of service
Related formsun·serv·iced, adjective




a service tree, especially Sorbus domestica.
the shadbush.

Origin of service

1520–30; earlier serves, plural of obsolete serve service tree; Middle English; Old English syrfe < Vulgar Latin *sorbea, derivative of Latin sorbus sorb1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for services

Contemporary Examples of services

Historical Examples of services

  • In the midst of this generosity, the services of Geta and Milza were not forgotten.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I can bear witness to the value of her services in South Carolina and Florida.

  • I can only say that if my services are required I shall be found ready and willing.

  • In the afternoon, services were held in the chapel downstairs.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The services of the priest had then to be dispensed with for weeks, even months, at a time.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

British Dictionary definitions for services


pl n

work performed for remuneration
the services the armed forces
(sometimes singular) economics commodities, such as banking, that are mainly intangible and usually consumed concurrently with their productionCompare goods (def. 2)
a system of providing the public with gas, water, etc



Robert (William). 1874–1958, Canadian poet, born in England; noted for his ballad-like poems of gold-rush era Yukon, such as 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew'; his books include Songs of a Sourdough (1907)




an act of help or assistance
an organized system of labour and material aids used to supply the needs of the publictelephone service; bus service
the supply, installation, or maintenance of goods carried out by a dealer
the state of availability for use by the public (esp in the phrases into or out of service)
a periodic overhaul made on a car, machine, etc
the act or manner of serving guests, customers, etc, in a shop, hotel, restaurant, etc
a department of public employment and its employeescivil service
employment in or performance of work for anotherhe has been in the service of our firm for ten years
the work of a public servant
  1. one of the branches of the armed forces
  2. (as modifier)service life
the state, position, or duties of a domestic servant (esp in the phrase in service)
the act or manner of serving food
a complete set of dishes, cups, etc, for use at table
public worship carried out according to certain prescribed formsdivine service
the prescribed form according to which a specific kind of religious ceremony is to be carried outthe burial service
a unified collection of musical settings of the canticles and other liturgical items prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer as used in the Church of England
  1. the act, manner, or right of serving a ball
  2. the game in which a particular player serveshe has lost his service Often shortened to: serve
(in feudal law) the duty owed by a tenant to his lord
the serving of a writ, summons, etc, upon a person
nautical a length of tarred marline or small stuff used in serving
(of male animals) the act of mating
(modifier) of, relating to, or for the use of servants or employees
(modifier) serving the public rather than producing goods

verb (tr)

to provide service or services
to make fit for use
to supply with assistance
to overhaul (a car, machine, etc)
(of a male animal) to mate with (a female)
British to meet interest and capital payments on (debt)
See also services

Word Origin for service

C12 servise, from Old French, from Latin servitium condition of a slave, from servus a slave




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 services



c.1100, "celebration of public worship," from Old French servise "act of homage; servitude; service at table; Mass, church ceremony," from Latin servitium "slavery, condition of a slave, servitude," also "slaves collectively," from servus "slave" (see serve (v.)).

Meaning "act of serving, occupation of an attendant servant" is attested from c.1200, as is that of "assistance, help; a helpful act." From c.1300 as "provision of food; sequence of dishes served in a meal;" from late 14c. as "service at table, attendance during a meal." Meaning "the furniture of the table" (tea service, etc.) is from mid-15c.

Meanings "state of being bound to undertake tasks for someone or at someone's direction; labor performed or undertaken for another" are mid-13c. Sense of "service or employment in a court or administration" is from c.1300, as is that of "military service (especially by a knight); employment as a soldier;" hence "the military as an occupation" (1706).

Also in Middle English "sexual intercourse, conjugal relations" (mid-15c.; service of Venus, or flesh's service). Service industry (as distinct from production) attested from 1938. A service station originally was a gas stop that also repaired cars.



1893, "to provide with service," from service (n.1). Meaning "perform work on" first recorded 1926. Related: Serviced; servicing.



type of tree or berry, extended form of serve (perhaps via Middle English plural serves being taken as a singular), from Old English syrfe, Old French sorbe, both from Vulgar Latin *sorbea, from Latin sorbus (see sorb).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

services in Culture


Work done for others as an occupation or business. (Compare goods.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with services


see at someone's service; break someone's serve (service); lip service; of service to someone; press into service.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.