serve (one) right(redirected from serve them right)
serve (one) right
To be or deliver the appropriate or deserved consequence(s) for one's improper actions. It serves John right that Dave threw him out of his party last night. He was acting like such a jerk! My girlfriend broke up with me after she found out I had been cheating on her. Serves me right, I suppose. You tripped while making fun of those kids? Serves you right!
serve someone right
[for an act or event] to punish someone fairly (for doing something). John copied off my test paper. It would serve him right if he fails the test. It'd serve John right if he got arrested.
serve one right
Be deserved under the circumstances. For example, That punishment serves him right after what he's done to you. It is also put as serves you right, as in It wasn't accepted? Serves you right for applying so late. These idioms use serve in the sense of "treat in a specified manner," in this case, justly. [Late 1500s]
it serves someone rightor
serves someone right
COMMON If you say it serves someone right or serves someone right when something unpleasant happens to them, you mean that it is their own fault and you have no sympathy for them. Matt Walker has retired early from his day's surfing with a broken board. It serves him right, he says, for trying to surf bad water. Serves her right for being so stubborn.
serve somebody ˈright (for doing something)(informal) used to say that something that has happened to somebody is their own fault and they deserve it: After the way you’ve treated her, it will serve you right if she never speaks to you again! ♢ I told you the dog would bite if you teased it. It serves you right.
serve (someone) right
To be deserved under the circumstances: Punish him; it will serve him right for what he has done to you.