serve (one) right

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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. Don't you find it rather unseemly for a man of his age and station to set his cap for a girl who's barely of voting age?
See also: right, serve

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.
See also: right, serve

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]
See also: one, right, serve

serve (someone) right

To be deserved under the circumstances: Punish him; it will serve him right for what he has done to you.
See also: right, serve