serve a purpose

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serve a purpose

To fit or satisfy the necessary requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve some aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't very flashy, but this old truck ought to serve a purpose somewhere on the ranch. I hope that my lessons served a purpose in my students' lives.
See also: purpose, serve

Serve a (useful) purpose

to be useful in accomplishing some purpose. This large book should serve a useful purpose. We can use it for a doorstop.
See also: purpose, serve

serve a purpose

Also, serve one's or the purpose . Be useful, meet the needs or requirements, satisfy, as in I don't know why they've added all this information but it probably serves a purpose, or It often serves his purpose to be vague, or We don't have a spading fork but this shovel should serve the purpose. This idiom was first recorded in 1513.
See also: purpose, serve
References in classic literature ?
We need only confess that we do not know the purpose of the European convulsions and that we know only the facts- that is, the murders, first in France, then in Italy, in Africa, in Prussia, in Austria, in Spain, and in Russia- and that the movements from the west to the east and from the east to the west form the essence and purpose of these events, and not only shall we have no need to see exceptional ability and genius in Napoleon and Alexander, but we shall be unable to consider them to be anything but like other men, and we shall not be obliged to have recourse to chance for an explanation of those small events which made these people what they were, but it will be clear that all those small events were inevitable.
By discarding a claim to knowledge of the ultimate purpose, we shall clearly perceive that just as one cannot imagine a blossom or seed for any single plant better suited to it than those it produces, so it is impossible to imagine any two people more completely adapted down to the smallest detail for the purpose they had to fulfill, than Napoleon and Alexander with all their antecedents.
Adam, leaving his wife free to follow her own desires with regard to Lilla and her grandfather, busied himself with filling the well-hole with the fine sand prepared for the purpose, taking care to have lowered at stated intervals quantities of the store of dynamite, so as to be ready for the final explosion.
No organ will be formed, as Paley has remarked, for the purpose of causing pain or for doing an injury to its possessor.
He had seemed to love it little in the years when every penny had its purpose for him; for he loved the purpose then.
It has either dropped from the writer's pen in pure ignorance, or it has been carefully set where it appears to serve the purpose of a snare.
This instrument was designed for the purpose of rendering visible on the surface of the moon any object exceeding nine feet in diameter.
The length of this tube is forty-eight feet, and the diameter of its object-glass six feet; it magnifies 6,400 times, and required an immense erection of brick work and masonry for the purpose of working it, its weight being twelve and a half tons.
Blifil bowed and stammered, and looked like a fool; but Western, without giving him time to form a speech for the purpose, answered, "Well, well, I am to blame, if you will, I always am, certainly; but come, let the girl be fetched back again, or let Mr Blifil go to her.
It is natural to regard desire as in its essence an attitude towards something which is imagined, not actual; this something is called the END or OBJECT of the desire, and is said to be the PURPOSE of any action resulting from the desire.
An animal is said to "desire" the purpose of a behaviour cycle while the behaviour-cycle is in progress.
All primitive desire is unconscious, and in human beings beliefs as to the purposes of desires are often mistaken.
It is not to be wondered at, that a government instituted in times so inauspicious, should on experiment be found greatly deficient and inadequate to the purpose it was intended to answer.
The recommendatory act of Congress is in the words following: "WHEREAS, There is provision in the articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, for making alterations therein, by the assent of a Congress of the United States, and of the legislatures of the several States; and whereas experience hath evinced, that there are defects in the present Confederation; as a mean to remedy which, several of the States, and PARTICULARLY THE STATE OF NEW YORK, by express instructions to their delegates in Congress, have suggested a convention for the purposes expressed in the following resolution; and such convention appearing to be the most probable mean of establishing in these States A FIRM NATIONAL GOVERNMENT:
It may be collected from their proceedings, that they were deeply and unanimously impressed with the crisis, which had led their country almost with one voice to make so singular and solemn an experiment for correcting the errors of a system by which this crisis had been produced; that they were no less deeply and unanimously convinced that such a reform as they have proposed was absolutely necessary to effect the purposes of their appointment.