serve (one's) time
To spend the amount of time in jail that is required by one's prison sentence. After serving his time, the assailant will be deported back to his home country. There's no need to harass him; he served his time and paid his debt to society.
To spend time in jail as part of a prison sentence. The CEO is now serving time for his role in defrauding thousands of customers. No way am I getting involved with your scheme. I have no interest in serving time again.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
to spend a certain amount of time in jail. The criminal served ten years in jail. After the felon served his time, he was released from prison.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Undergo a prison sentence; also, work at a particular task, especially an undesirable one. For example, We couldn't hire him when we learned that he had served time for robbery, or I applied for a transfer after serving time in that chaotic department. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
do/serve ˈtime(informal) be in prison: He had done time for robbing a bank. ♢ Two of the gang are serving time for murder.
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