from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To be worthy of; merit. See Synonyms at earn1.
  • intransitive v. To be worthy or deserving.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To be entitled to, as a result of past actions; to be worthy to have.
  • v. To earn, win.
  • v. To reward, to give in return for service.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To be worthy of recompense; -- usually with ill or with well.
  • transitive v. To earn by service; to be worthy of (something due, either good or evil); to merit; to be entitled to
  • transitive v. To serve; to treat; to benefit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To merit; be worthy of; incur, as something either desirable or undesirable, on account of good or bad qualities or actions; more especially, to have a just claim or right to, in return for services or meritorious actions; be justly entitled to, as wages or a prize.
  • To serve or treat well; benefit.
  • To repay by service; return an equivalent for (service rendered).
  • To require; demand the attention of.
  • To merit; be worthy or deserving: as, he deserves well of his country.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be worthy or deserving


Middle English deserven, from Old French deservir, from Latin dēservīre, to serve zealously : dē-, intensive pref.; see de- + servīre, to serve; see serve.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French deservir, from Latin dēservīre, from de- + servīre. (Wiktionary)



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