Dictionary: SER'RU-LATE – SES'AME, or SES'A-MUM

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Finely serrate; having very minute notches. – Martyn.

SER'RY, v.t. [Fr. serrer.]

To crowd, to press together. [Not used.] – Milton.

SE'RUM, n. [L.]

  1. The thin transparent part of the blood.
  2. The thin part of milk; whey.


A digitigrade carnivorous mammal of the cat genus, the Felix Serval of Southern Africa. It is a middle sized species with a long tail and black spots.

SER'VANT, n. [Fr. from L. servans, from servo, to keep or hold; properly one that waits, that is, stops, holds, attends, or one that is bound.]

  1. A person, male or female, that attends another for the purpose of performing menial offices for him, or who is employed by another for such offices or for other labor, and is subject to his command. The word is correlative to master. Servant differs from slave, as the servant's subjection to master is voluntary, the slave's is not. Every slave servant, but every servant is not a slave. Servants are of various kinds; as, household or domestic servants, menial servants; laborers, who are hired by the day, week or other term, and do not reside with their employers, or if they board in the same house, are employed abroad and not in domestic services; apprentices, who are bound for a term of years to serve a master, for the purpose of learning his trade or occupation. In a legal sense, stewards, factors, bailifs and other agents, are servants for the time they are employed in such character, as they act in subordination to others.
  2. One in a state of subjection.
  3. In Scripture, a slave; a bondman; one purchased for money, and who was compelled to serve till the year of jubilee; also, one purchased for a term of years. – Exod. xxi.
  4. The subject of a king; as, the servants of David or of Saul. The Syrians because servants to David. – 2 Sam. viii.
  5. A person who voluntarily serves another or acts as his minister; as, Joshua was the servant of Moses, and the apostles the servants of Christ. So Christ himself is called a servant, Isa. xlii. Moses is called the servant of the Lord, Deut. xxxiv.
  6. A person employed or used as an instrument in accomplishing God's purposes of mercy or wrath. So Nebuchadnezzar is called the servant of God. – Jer. xxv.
  7. One who yields obedience to another. The saints are called the servants of God, or of righteousness; and the wicked are called the servants of sin. – Rom. vi.
  8. That which yields obedience, or acts in subordination as an instrument. – Ps. cxix.
  9. One that makes painful sacrifices in compliance with the weakness or wants of others. – 1 Cor. ix.
  10. A person of base condition or ignoble spirit. – Eccles. x.
  11. A word of civility. I am, sir, your humble or obedient servant. Our betters tell us they are our humble servants, but understand us to be their slaves. – Swift. Servant of servants, one debased to the lowest condition of servitude. – Gen. ix.

SERV'ANT, v.t.

To subject. [Not in use.] – Shak.

SERVE, v.i. [serv.]

  1. To be a servant or slave. The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve. – Is. xliii.
  2. To be employed in labor or other business for another. – Gen. xxix.
  3. To be in subjection. – Is. xliii.
  4. To wait; to attend; to perform domestic offices to another. – Luke x.
  5. To perform duties, as in the army, navy, or in any office. An officer serves five years in India, or under a particular commander. The late secretary of the colony, and afterward state, of Connecticut, was annually appointed, and served in the office sixty years.
  6. To answer; to accomplish the end. She feared that all would not serve. – Sidney.
  7. To be sufficient for a purpose. This little brand will serve to light your fire. – Dryden.
  8. To suit; to be convenient. Take this, and use it as occasion serves.
  9. To conduce; to be of use. Our victory only served to lead us on to further visionary prospects. – Swift.
  10. To officiate or minister; to do the honors of; as, to serve at a public dinner.

SERVE, v.t. [serv; Fr. servir; It. servire; Sp. servir; from L. servio. This verb is supposed to be from the noun servus, a servant or slave, and this from servo, to keep. If servus originally was a slave, he was probably so named from being preserved and taken prisoner in war, or more probably from being bound, and perhaps from the Shemitic צור, צרר, to bind. But the sense of servant is generally a waiter, one who attends or waits, and from the sense of stopping, holding, remaining.]

  1. To work for; to bestow the labor of body and mind in the employment of another. Jacob loved Rachel and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. – Gen. xxix. No man can serve two masters. – Matth. vi.
  2. To act as the minister of; to perform official duties to; as, a minister serves his prince. Had I served God as diligently as I have served the king, he would not have given me over in my gray hairs. – Cardinal Wolsey.
  3. To attend at command; to wait on. A goddess among gods, ador'd and serv'd / By angels numberless, thy daily train. – Milton.
  4. To obey servilely or meanly. Be not to wealth a servant. – Denham.
  5. To supply with food; as, to be served in plate. – Dryden.
  6. To be subservient or subordinate to. Bodies bright and greater should not serve / The less not bright. – Milton.
  7. To perform the duties required in; as, the curate served churches.
  8. To obey; to perform duties in the employment of; as, to serve the king or the country in the army or navy.
  9. To be sufficient to, or to promote; as, to serve one's turn, end or purpose. – Locke.
  10. To help by good offices; as, to serve one's country. – Tate.
  11. To comply with; to submit to. They think herein we serve the time, because thereby we either hold or seek preferment. – Hooker.
  12. To be sufficient for; to satisfy; to content. One half pint bottle serves them both to dine, / And is at once their vinegar and wine. – Pope.
  13. To be in the place of any thing to one. A sofa serves the Turks for a seat and a couch.
  14. To treat; to requite; as, he served me ungratefully; he served me very ill. We say also, he served me a trick, that is, he deceived me, or practiced an artifice upon me.
  15. In Scripture and theology, to obey and worship; to act in conformity to the law of a superior, and treat him with due reverence. Fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Josh. xxiv.
  16. In a bad sense, to obey; to yield compliance or act according to. Serving, divers lusts and pleasures. – Tit. iii.
  17. To worship; to render homage to; as, to serve idols or false gods. – Ezek. xx.
  18. To be a slave to; to be in bondage to. – Gen. xv.
  19. To serve one's self of, to use; to make use of; a Gallicism, [se servir de.] I will serve myself of this concession. – Chillingworth.
  20. To use; to manage; to apply. The guns were well served.
  21. In seamen's language, to wind something round a rope to prevent friction. To serve up, to prepare and present in a dish; as, to serve up a sirloin of beef in plate; figuratively, to prepare. To serve in, as used by Shakspeare, for to bring in, as meat by an attendant, I have never known to be used in America. To serve out, to distribute in portions; as, to serve out provisions to soldiers. To serve a writ, to read it to the defendant; or to leave an attested copy at his usual place of abode. To serve an attachment, or writ of attachment, to levy it on the person or goods by seizure; or to seize. To serve an execution, to levy it on lands, goods, or person by seizure or taking possession. To serve a warrant, to read it, and to seize the person against whom it is issued. In general, to serve a process, is to read it so as to give due notice to the party concerned, or to leave an attested copy with him or his attorney, or at his usual place of abode. To serve an office, to discharge a public duty. [This phrase, I believe, is not used in America. We say, a man serves in an office, that is, serves the public in an office.]

SERV'ED, pp.

Attended; waited on; worshiped; levied.

SERV'ICE, n. [Fr. It. servizio; Sp. servicio; from L. servitium.]

  1. In a general sense, labor of body or of body and mind, performed at the command of a superior, or in pursuance of duty, or for the benefit of another. Service is voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary service is that of hired servants, or of contract, or of persons who spontaneously perform something for another's benefit. Involuntary service is that of slaves, who work by compulsion.
  2. The business of a servant; menial office. – Shak.
  3. Attendance of a servant. – Shak.
  4. Place of a servant; actual employment of a servant; as to be out of service. – Shak.
  5. Any thing done by way of duty to a superior. This poem was the last piece of service I did for my master king Charles. – Dryden.
  6. Attendance on a superior. Madam, I entreat true peace of you, / Which I will purchase with my duteous service. – Shak.
  7. Profession of respect uttered or sent. Pray do my service to his majesty. – Shak.
  8. Actual duty; that which is required to be done in an office; as, to perform the services of a clerk, a sherif, or judge.
  9. That which God requires of man; worship; obedience. God requires no man's service upon hard and unreasonable terms. – Tillotson.
  10. Employment; business; office; as, to qualify a man for public service.
  11. Use; purpose. The guns are not fit for public service.
  12. Military duty by land or sea; as, military or naval service.
  13. A military achievement. – Shak.
  14. Useful office; advantage conferred; that which promotes interest or happiness. Medicine often does no service to the sick; calumny is sometimes of service to an author.
  15. Favor. To thee a woman's services are due. – Shak.
  16. The duty which a tenant owes to his lord for his fee. Personal service consists in homage and fealty, &c.
  17. Public worship, or office of devotion. Divine service was interrupted.
  18. A musical church composition consisting of choruses, trios, duets, solos, &c.
  19. The official duties of a minister of the Gospel, as in church, at a funeral, marriage, &c.
  20. Course; order of dishes at table. There was no extraordinary service seen on the board. – Hakewill.
  21. A set or number of vessels ordinarily used together; as, a service of plate or glass.
  22. In seamen's language, the materials used for serving a rope, as spun yarn, small lines, &c.
  23. A tree and its fruit, of the genus Pyrus or Sorbus. The wild service is of the genus Cratægus. Service of a writ, process, &c., the reading of it to the person to whom notice is intended to be given, or the leaving of an attested copy with the person or his attorney, or at his usual place of abode. Service of an attachment, the seizing of the person or goods according to the direction. The service of an execution, the levying of it upon the goods, estate, or person of the defendant.


  1. That does service; that promotes happiness, interest, advantage, or any good; useful; beneficial; advantageous. Rulers may be very serviceable to religion by their example. The attentions of my friends were very serviceable to me when abroad. Rain and manure are serviceable to land.
  2. Active; diligent; officious. I know thee well, a serviceable villain. [Unusual.] – Shak.


  1. Usefulness in promoting good of any kind; beneficialness. All actions being for some end, its aptness to be commanded or forbidden must be founded upon its serviceableness or disserviceableness to some end. – Norris.
  2. Officiousness; readiness to do service. – Sidney.


In a serviceable manner.

SERV'I-ENT, a. [L. serviens.]

Subordinate. [Not in use.] – Dyer.

SERV'ILE, a. [Fr. from L. servilis, from servio, to serve.]

  1. Such as pertains to a servant or slave; slavish; mean; such as proceeds from dependence; as, servile fear; servile obedience.
  2. Held in subjection; dependent. Ev'n fortune rules no more a servile land. – Pope.
  3. Cringing; fawning; meanly submissive; as, servile flattery. She must bend the servile knee. – Thomson.


  1. Meanly; slavishly; with base submission or obsequiousness.
  2. With base deference to another; as, to copy servilely; to adopt opinions servilely.


  1. Slavery; the condition of a slave or bondman. To be a queen in bondage, is more vile / Than is a slave in base servility. – Shak.
  2. Mean submission; baseness; slavishness.
  3. Mean obsequiousness; slavish deference; as, the common servility to custom; to copy manners or opinions with servility.

SERV'ING, ppr.

Working for; acting in subordination to; yielding obedience to; worshiping; also, performing duties; as, serving in the army.


A female servant; a menial.


A male servant; a menial.


A religious order instituted in Tuscany in 1233.

SERV'I-TOR, n. [It. servitore; Sp. servidor; Fr. serviteur; from L. servio, to serve.]

  1. A servant; an attendant. – Hooker.
  2. One that acts under another; a follower or adherent. – Davies.
  3. One that professes duty and obedience. – Shak.
  4. In the university of Oxford, a student who attends on another for his maintenance and learning; such as is called in Cambridge, a sizer. – Encyc.


The office of a servitor. – Boswell.

SERV'I-TUDE, n. [Fr. from L. servitudo or servitus; It. servitù. See Serve.]

  1. The condition of a slave; the state of involuntary subjection to a master; slavery; bondage. Such is the state of the slaves in America. A large portion of the human race are in servitude.
  2. The state of a servant. [Less common and less proper.]
  3. The condition of a conquered country.
  4. A state of slavish dependence. Some persons may be in love with splendid servitude. – South.
  5. Servants, collectively. [Not in use.] – Shak. Beloe.

SES'AME, or SES'A-MUM, n. [Fr. sesame; It. sesamo; L. sesama; Gr. σεσαμη, σησαμον.]

Oily grain; a genus of annual herbaceous plants, from the seeds of which an oil is expressed. One species of it is cultivated in Carolina, and the blacks use the seeds for food. It is called there bene. Encyc. Stoe.