serve out

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serve out

1. To serve something, especially food or drink, to those present. (In each usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "serve" and "out.") I volunteer in a soup kitchen on the weekends, serving out food to those who have fallen on hard times. Will you go out into the parlor and begin serving drinks out, Tom?
2. To issue, distribute, or allot something, especially that which is deserved but unwelcome or unpleasant. We need to convince Congress to send in troops to the region so we can serve out some justice against the monsters committing these atrocities. In all of his plays, he serves punishment out to his characters in particularly cruel and ironical ways.
3. To complete the required amount of time for some service, usually as in elected positions or jail sentences. The senator was unable to serve out his full term in office due to health complications. Because of good behavior, the inmate was allowed to serve out the rest of her prison sentence in minimum security.
4. In tennis, to win an entire set or match while remaining in the serving position. I always have trouble serving out my sets. I might have a great streak going, but I invariably seem to crack under the pressure and give up the serve.
See also: out, serve
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

serve something out

to carry out one's duty or responsibility for the whole time, all the way to the end. She was unable to serve her term out. The convict served out his sentence in solitary confinement.
See also: out, serve
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

serve out

v.
To complete some period of service: The criminal served out his sentence in a minimum security prison. After she serves out her term as governor, she will probably run for the Senate.
See also: out, serve
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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