serve (something) to (someone or something)
1. To provide or present some food or beverage to someone, some group, some organization, etc. I can't believe you would serve veal to your guests without making sure no one had a problem with it! Honey, would you go out and serve some wine to our guests while I finish preparing dinner?
2. To provide or present a formal notice or announcement to someone, some group, some organization, etc. I can't believe he served an eviction notice to his tenants just a week before Christmas. Federal investigators served a search warrant to the multinational tech company in a crackdown on tax evasion.
serve to do (something)
To have the function or purpose of doing something. The lighting in the scene serves to underscore the character's emotional turmoil. These are just examples—they serve to give you a sense of what the exam will look like.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
serve something to someone
1. to present someone with something to eat or drink. The host served the snacks to everyone and left the room to work on the salad. The snacks were served to everyone in attendance.
2. to officially deliver something, such as a subpoena, to someone. The sheriff at the door was there to serve a subpoena to Fred. She served the papers to the person who lived there.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.