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serve (one's) purpose

To fit or satisfy someone's requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve someone's aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't a very pretty car, but it should serve our purpose just fine. Child: "But mom, I want a smartphone!" Mother: "Nonsense, the cell phone you already have serves your purpose just fine."
See also: purpose, serve

serve the purpose

To fit or satisfy the necessary requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve some aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't a very pretty car, but it should serve the purposes of our mission. Child: "But mom, I want a smartphone!" Mother: "Nonsense, the cell phone you have serves the purpose just fine."
See also: purpose, serve

serve (one) the same sauce

To treat one the same way that one has treated you—usually poorly. Of course she's not invited to the dinner party! She didn't invite me to her last soiree, so I'm serving her the same sauce.
See also: same, sauce, serve

serve two masters

To simultaneously tend to or support or devote oneself to two different—often conflicting—responsibilities, pursuits, ideas, or people. It comes from the Biblical phrase, "No man can serve two masters." You need to decide if you are married to your wife or to your work because you simply cannot serve two masters.
See also: master, serve, two

serve a purpose

To fit or satisfy the necessary requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve some aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't very flashy, but this old truck ought to serve a purpose somewhere on the ranch. I hope that my lessons served a purpose in my students' lives.
See also: purpose, serve

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 time

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.
See also: serve, time

serve up (something)

1. To provide, offer, or distribute a meal or dish of food. This place serves up the best steaks in the state. The cafeteria is serving up pizza today. Every year we volunteer to serve up Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless.
2. To provide or offer some experience. They serve up an authentic medieval experience that is a joy from beginning to end. He tried serving up a few jokes to engage the audience, but they all fell flat.
See also: serve, up

serve (one's) time

To spend the amount of time in jail as 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.
See also: serve, time

serve up on a plate

To give or relinquish something to someone very easily, without him or her having to work very hard to get or achieve it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "serve" and up." The team's defense has been atrocious today, serving a victory to their opponents up on a plate. If we can get the government to subsidize our project, we'll have our yearly earnings served up to us on a plate.
See also: on, plate, serve, up

serve on (something)

To be an official member of some body that carries out specific duties or tasks. Serving on a board of directors carries some legal responsibilities you can't take too lightly, but it is a great way to boost your résumé. I served on the president's finance committee for three years before moving to the private sector.
See also: on, serve

serve out (something)

To complete the required amount of time for some service. The senator announced that he would not be seeking reelection, but that he would serve out the rest of his time in office. Because of good behavior, the inmate was allowed to serve out the rest of her prison sentence in minimum security.
See also: out, serve

Serve a (useful) purpose

to be useful in accomplishing some purpose. This large book should serve a useful purpose. We can use it for a doorstop.
See also: purpose, serve

serve time

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.
See also: serve, time

serve a purpose

Also, serve one's or the purpose . Be useful, meet the needs or requirements, satisfy, as in I don't know why they've added all this information but it probably serves a purpose, or It often serves his purpose to be vague, or We don't have a spading fork but this shovel should serve the purpose. This idiom was first recorded in 1513.
See also: purpose, serve

serve time

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]
See also: serve, time

serve two masters

If a person or organization tries to serve two masters, they try to be loyal to two opposing principles, beliefs or organizations. An organization such as the BBC can either make a profit or provide an excellent public service. It cannot, however, be asked to serve two masters. Note: This expression is used in the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: `No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.' (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)
See also: master, serve, two

serve two masters

take orders from two superiors or follow two conflicting or opposing principles or policies at the same time.
This phrase alludes to the warning given in the Bible against trying to serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).
See also: master, serve, two

serve two ˈmasters

(usually used in negative sentences) support two opposing parties, principles, etc. at the same time: Government ministers are not allowed to work for private companies as nobody can serve two masters at once.This expression comes from the Bible.
See also: master, serve, two
References in periodicals archive ?
Lenaers is currently serving as commanding general, United States Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Warren, Mich.
Not surprisingly, given the focus on serving workers' compensation claimants, over 96 percent of clients had at least some work experience.
She is also active in her community, serving on the Meewasin Valley Authority board of directors, the Chamber of Commerce business education committee, and St.
We have a huge emphasis on fresh fish and seafood, with half of it coming from Hawaii,'' he adds, noting that such fare accounts for up to 65 percent of the creations sold in the 200-seat restaurant serving from 300 to 450 meals nightly.
Rigby joins Zogenix with over 16 years of pharmaceutical experience, most recently serving as Vice President of Business Development for Aradigm, Corp.
All can go together either in advance or just before serving - and many take advantage of the microwave oven.
The company recently announced the expansion of the LexisNexis File & Serve offering with the addition of LexisNexis(R) Service of Process - physically serving documents - and inclusion of court transcripts to its database of court records.
Fuhrman, who just catered an all-Italian shower, recommends serving lunch with great salads that present themselves well, such as an Italian chicken salad made with chicken breast pieces, peppers, asparagus tips and baby peas and dressed with a mayonnaise-based dressing with Italian seasonings.
His background is primarily in the area of corporate finance, previously serving as head of investment banking for Baird, Patrick & Co.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Former United States Representative Jack Quinn (R-NY) became president of Cassidy & Associates after serving in Congress for twelve years.
Spread 1/2 of fromage blanc in bottom of a small glass serving bowl.
Restructured as a Limited Liability Company effective September 1, 2004, today Golden Oval Eggs is a leader in the liquid egg industry, ranked among the top 10 processors, serving customers throughout the United States and Canada.
To save time and for convenience, we'd suggest serving slices with store-bought peppermint or mint-chip ice cream or other flavors like coffee Heath Bar crunch or mocha-chip.