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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

serve someone right

be someone's deserved punishment or misfortune.
See also: right, serve, someone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

serve someone right

tv. to be just what someone deserves. It would serve you right if you lost your money.
See also: right, serve, someone
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
"Serves us right; brothers and sisters should n't have secrets from each other."
If our memory serves us right, Camanag has won the Aliw trophy several times in the past and his being recognized annually simply proves that real talent is consistent and age is never a deterrent to be the best in whatever one decides to put his heart into.
"No one died, the driver managed to be pulled out unharmed." Serves us right for asking.
Serves us right for tolerating DPWH engineers who spend their loot in casinos and sabungan (cockpit).
"If they are not made then it serves us right. It is our national sport to kick the can down the road," he said.
If our mammary serves us right, Lady Gaga sought action against Icecreamists in 2011 over their breast-milk flavour, Baby Gaga.
Klopp, now second bottom of the Bundesliga, said: "That we stand here like complete idiots serves us right. We now have three weeks which we will use to come back a different team."
It serves us right for watching Jackanory instead of Johnny Ball when we were younger.
If memory serves us right, Hunnam claimed he was taking the part seriously and wanted to look good in the suits.
"If we give away daft penalties then it serves us right. But we also deserve a clean sheet every single game because that's what refereeing the law is.
Dennis told the examiner: "It serves us right for getting married in January.
Well, it serves us right prompted reader Davie Duncan to email this contribution to the campaign.
Serves us right, because not everything in the world of equality is best for us.
Peter said: "People said it serves us right for living here, but we bought this house on the council's promise it would be a good place to live, our mistake was to belive them.
The economy will get worse, but it serves us right."