Definition of deserve in US English:



[with object]
  • Do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)

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


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