[suh b-surv]

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

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subserve

Historical Examples of subserve

  • 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.


    Effie Afton

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

British Dictionary definitions for subserve


verb (tr)

to be helpful or useful to
obsolete to be subordinate to

Word Origin for subserve

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