Definition of deserve in English:

deserve

verb

[with object]
  • Do something or have or show qualities worthy of (a reaction which rewards or punishes as appropriate)

    ‘the referee deserves a pat on the back’
    with infinitive ‘we didn't deserve to win’
    • ‘Tomorrow's shorter distance is a bit of a worry, but he deserves attention all the same.’
    • ‘Like him, Alice is very brave and deserves a chance for a bone marrow transplant.’
    • ‘If you know of a group which deserves this recognition, make sure you nominate them.’
    • ‘He deserves some reward for all the hard work he puts in and now he just has to be more selfish.’
    • ‘When an offence deserves a lesser sentence, let that sentence also be passed in open court.’
    • ‘That is the measure of his achievement and for it he deserves our heartfelt praise and thanks.’
    • ‘No problem, she works hard and she deserves a little bit of quality time to relax.’
    • ‘There is no quick fix or simple solution and the Executive deserves credit for the start it has made.’
    • ‘Everyone deserves a second chance, and people like him really do need to be helped.’
    • ‘If you are to be placed in such a position, you deserve a fair hearing in court.’
    • ‘Now he has two or three years to really show that he deserves our faith in him.’
    • ‘This week, it is an honour to be able to praise someone who really deserves it.’
    • ‘The car was very good and the team did a fantastic job and really deserve a win.’
    • ‘The original text for this piece is not mine, but it's so good it deserves reproduction.’
    • ‘There will always be debate about who deserves honours, all of it highly subjective.’
    • ‘Irate shareholders wondered exactly what he had delivered to deserve such a reward.’
    • ‘The vessel does sterling work for the community and deserves recognition for this.’
    • ‘He has a job where most people will not even know he's part of the staff, he deserves a pat on the back.’
    • ‘Gemma deserves justice from the community if people can only be brave enough to come forward.’
    • ‘It can get too much for her though and those are the times she deserves a hug more than anyone else I know.’
    merit, earn, warrant, rate, justify, be worthy of, be entitled to, have a right to, have a claim on, be qualified for, be good enough for
    well earned, well deserved, earned, merited, warranted, justified, justifiable
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • deserve a medal

    • Have done something considered especially praiseworthy or heroic.

      ‘as a psychiatric nurse he deserves a medal, anyway’
      • ‘The one we have now really is a pillar of the community and he deserves a medal for his years of hard work.’
      • ‘This lady, who in my opinion deserves a medal, her family, and the decent law-abiding people of this country, have been seriously let down by the legal system and by the police.’
      • ‘I think he deserves a medal or a plaque or at least a holiday.’
      • ‘The firefighters were amazing, and the gas man deserves a medal.’
      • ‘‘I was so impressed with the organisation of the car park and the buses. Whoever organised it deserves a medal as do all the staff who were so positive and helpful,’ he said.’
  • deserve well (or ill) of

    • Be worthy of good (or bad) treatment at the hands of.

      • ‘In ancient Greece a crown of olive-twigs was the highest distinction of a citizen who had deserved well of his country.’
      • ‘‘Zola’, he said, ‘deserves well of his country for not having lost faith in its ability to rule by law’ and concluded, ‘he was a moment in the history of human conscience.’’
      • ‘The names of those who deserve well of their country would swell this report to too great dimensions.’
      • ‘All honor to the volunteers of the Confederacy - they deserve well of their country.’
      • ‘We hope that you will agree that she has, indeed, served us well and deserves well of us in return.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French deservir, from Latin deservire ‘serve well or zealously’.

Pronunciation

deserve

/dɪˈzəːv/