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. You tripped while making fun of those kids? Serves you right!
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

it serves someone right


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.
See also: right, serve, someone

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.
See also: right, serve, somebody

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
References in classic literature ?
It will serve her right, she will be confused, but you will see her 'God's folk.
And it'll serve her right for shooting off her big mouth about what is obviously a very big problem in their marriage.
The Radio WM disc jockey outraged listeners by ranting: "If she gets her head chopped off, it will serve her right.
It'd serve her right if they all suddenly remembered they had a pile of paperwork they had to be doing.