Definition of service in English:



  • 1The action of helping or doing work for someone.

    ‘millions are involved in voluntary service’
    • ‘He is also a member of York Rotary Club, where he is a strong supporter of voluntary service to the community of York.’
    • ‘When it comes to voluntary service, he never hesitated to lead from the forefront.’
    • ‘For voluntary service to the community there was no better family and Nick was a leader in that field.’
    • ‘After this he undertook voluntary military service in the fortress artillery.’
    • ‘Whatever the level of voluntary service, we want to hear from you.’
    • ‘He said she had given many years of outstanding service to Castlebar Social Services.’
    • ‘Both Michael and Patrick were well liked and highly valued employees who gave loyal service to the company.’
    • ‘With more than six decades of voluntary service to her credit, she has not yet called it a day.’
    • ‘It is usually difficult for a institution to run totally on voluntary service, without any funding.’
    • ‘Danny DeVito presented the Cecil B DeMille Award to Michael Douglas for his years of service to the industry.’
    • ‘The Father Cullen Medal was presented to Patsy Toolan for recognition of long term service to the centre.’
    act of assistance, good turn, favour, kindness, helping hand
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act of assistance.
      ‘he has done us a great service’
      ‘he volunteered his services as a driver’
      • ‘In the future he may well take time out again to volunteer his services in other countries.’
      • ‘Mr Wallace volunteered his services to the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall on Friday afternoon.’
      • ‘My old mate and her younger sister volunteered their services for the operation.’
      • ‘Maybe he will volunteer his services for such a worthy enterprise.’
      • ‘The service would like to thank all the volunteers for their services as collectors.’
      • ‘Fans unable to get tickets may be able to watch the game after all by volunteering their services as a steward.’
      • ‘He can volunteer his services for road safety campaigns in schools and colleges.’
      • ‘I also feel that some who might volunteer their services could easily be put off by reading the daily Court File.’
      • ‘He also urged them to continue volunteering their services as it would help them gain necessary skills.’
      • ‘CDF Gen Peter Cosgrove has encouraged members to volunteer their services with the appeal.’
      • ‘Sedge volunteered his services and I want to say how grateful I am for his endeavours.’
      • ‘Peg Hayden, who offered her services selling raffle tickets, assisted these ladies’
      • ‘He even moved out of his rented room to the dormitory, offering his services as a volunteer.’
      • ‘Member Services Officer Shawn Hunsdale volunteered his services to assist the ACHSA.’
      • ‘I would volunteer my services in some small way, for example shopping for her or just having a chat.’
      • ‘Many local opticians and dentists volunteered their services to help the children.’
      • ‘The local Foróige Youth Club is looking for adults to volunteer their services once a week to help in the operation of the club.’
      • ‘Proud mums made the decorative costumes and one even volunteered her services as a pianist.’
      • ‘It is hoped that more people will come forward and volunteer their services to help run this great amenity.’
      • ‘Instead, they donate some staff time and services to assist in its operation.’
      act of assistance, good turn, favour, kindness, helping hand
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Assistance or advice given to customers during and after the sale of goods.
      ‘they aim to provide better quality of service’
      • ‘If we are to effectively eliminate this whole sector of retail sale and service, we must be prepared to fill up the vacuum.’
      • ‘It will outsource customer service and claims handling and will use the internet to market itself.’
      • ‘This allows for better customer service, fewer income errors, and improved collection times.’
      • ‘It also enables Tusker's customer support team to deliver the highest level of service and advice.’
      • ‘Do you ever wonder what's going on while you're waiting on hold for customer service?’
      • ‘This will allow it to continue to sink all its money into sales and service.’
      • ‘Maybe the customers will accept the water hike if they also see continuous effort to improve service.’
      • ‘Product design and quality has fallen behind and customer service has fallen behind competitors.’
      • ‘This has allowed its branch network to focus on customer service and sales.’
      • ‘I also suspect that the quality of service would have improved as the company got to know me better.’
      • ‘Part of customer service is the great feeling that you get when you see that you've made a difference.’
      • ‘The firm lives and dies by customer service, easy accessibility, and global reach.’
      • ‘After all, he didn't have to spend five and a half hours doing customer service.’
      • ‘There's no doubt that strong customer service is integral to a healthy business.’
      • ‘He is determined to retain the major water customers by improving service and offering advice on water and waste management.’
      • ‘Edel aims to provide experienced advice and professional service to all her customers.’
      • ‘Sherriff's main aims, he said, are to increase shareholder value and customer service.’
      • ‘The third step is to ensure that after sales service is in keeping with your promise.’
      • ‘The most common jobs posted at his site are those in customer service, marketing and sales.’
      • ‘A key factor in these contract wins has been the assurance of a local and experienced post sales support service.’
    3. 1.3 The action or process of serving food and drinks to customers.
      ‘they complained of poor bar service’
      • ‘The level of service, food and comfort makes it money well spent.’
      • ‘You'd think that the lack of customers would mean speedy service at the bar.’
      • ‘It was a shame to be there on an off night, but the upside was quick and friendly service from the bar staff.’
      • ‘Like us they were enjoying the elegant surroundings, attentive service and delicious food.’
      • ‘Recently redecorated, it has spectacular bathrooms, stylish food and impeccable service.’
      • ‘With excellent service and first class food, I shall certainly be returning.’
      • ‘There is very little to find fault at Sokrates - it has fine food, good service and atmosphere.’
      • ‘Our chances of getting the best food and the best service were good.’
      • ‘The service and food were good as always, but this room is not accessible to elderly and handicapped people.’
      • ‘But he did not expect to be refused service by bar staff when he arrived at the pub with some friends near closing time, he said.’
      • ‘Good food, good service and good prices were popular reasons for visiting this popular Italian restaurant.’
      • ‘A great dining experience depends on good food and service, but being a good guest also can enhance it.’
      • ‘The restaurant at the top was surprisingly large, and the food and service were excellent.’
      • ‘I noted the name, booked a table and was surprised to find lukewarm food and chilly service.’
      • ‘You'll return to the establishment again and again because the food and service was so good.’
      • ‘We had to teach them everything from service to food to cleaning, even personal hygiene.’
      • ‘Of course, it could try distinguishing itself with amazing food, service and ambience.’
      • ‘The friendly service, the superb food and the stunning location all add up to money well spent.’
      • ‘The fact the he is a regular customer speaks volumes for the quality of the food and friendly service.’
      • ‘All in all, Delight is a restaurant with a nice atmosphere, decent service and good food.’
      waiting, waitressing, waiting at table, serving of food and drink, attendance, serving
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    4. 1.4
      ‘service is included in the final bill’
      short for service charge
      • ‘Average prices are for a three-course meal for one, without wine, but including service and cover charge.’
    5. 1.5 A period of employment with a company or organization.
      ‘he retired after 40 years' service’
      • ‘This relief benefits employees who have high earnings and long periods of service.’
      • ‘The period of their service was reduced, and some were repatriated before their contracts had expired.’
      • ‘The government planned to replace required military service with a voluntary army.’
      • ‘This protection applies regardless of the employee's length of service.’
      • ‘She has a valid point - the award has been given to others whose service is shorter than hers.’
      • ‘They see the fees as payment for service, even if they agree that activism is required.’
      • ‘The period of service must, however, be lawful employment.’
      • ‘A 1696 scheme for registering seamen for limited periods of service was abandoned in 1711.’
      • ‘Pay records would show no service during this time period because he was not paid!’
      • ‘Relocation expenses, guaranteed by law after a minimum period of service, are the answer.’
      • ‘The pay criteria included factors such as mobility, training, and length of service of employees.’
      work, employment, employ, labour, performance of one's duties
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6 Employment as a servant.
      ‘the pitifully low wages gained from domestic service’
      See also in service below
      • ‘Similarly, women in domestic service as housekeepers or parlour maids had to make a choice between work and marriage.’
      • ‘The majority of immigrants in domestic service here are Filipino women in their twenties.’
      • ‘In fact, they disappear into prostitution, street markets or domestic service.’
      • ‘Women could also get work in the fields and on farms, but some preferred domestic service.’
      • ‘Youths and young men predominated in some spheres of employment, such as domestic service in Natal and the Transvaal.’
      • ‘Children in domestic service work long hours, isolated from friends and family.’
      • ‘Together, maids and social reformers began to call for a restructuring of domestic service.’
      • ‘Migrant women often find employment in domestic service, which is growing in significance.’
      • ‘She had once worked in domestic service for the future Edward VIII, who was then Prince of Wales.’
      • ‘Women also work as farm laborers, but work in domestic service is more highly valued.’
      • ‘These articles gave evidence of the changes occurring in domestic service in the early twentieth century.’
      • ‘Those employed in domestic service will be able to claim the amount they earn as a tax deduction.’
      • ‘The early part of her working career was spent locally in domestic service.’
      • ‘The genealogy of domestic service in India can be traced as far back as the Vedic times.’
      • ‘A religious fanatic, of Devon farming stock, Joanna was in domestic service in Exeter.’
      • ‘They made little headway in the two main sectors of women's employment, domestic service and textiles.’
    7. 1.7 The use which can be made of a machine.
      ‘the computer should provide good service for years’
      use, usage
      View synonyms
  • 2A system supplying a public need such as transport, communications, or utilities such as electricity and water.

    ‘a regular bus service’
    • ‘The board currently provides a dispute resolution service on a voluntary basis.’
    • ‘The money they raise will help us fund further services, assisting more local people living with cancer.’
    • ‘Essential public services, like water supply, have no place in trade agreement agenda of the WTO.’
    • ‘Making money, however, is not what the supervised child contact service is all about.’
    • ‘There is also a day care service where patients are brought in and get excellent treatment.’
    • ‘I believe a two-tier medical service is needed, similar to the rest of Europe.’
    • ‘The money raised will be used towards the costs of the centre's support service.’
    • ‘They also offer a shopping service to assist home care clients unable to do their own shopping.’
    • ‘More victims of sex attacks in Swindon will be able to seek help from a support service when it expands later this year.’
    • ‘The country is still a mess, with deteriorating services like water and electricity.’
    • ‘All that will be required of them is to pay for services like water, electricity and refuse removal.’
    • ‘However, no one seems to notice, or even to care, that this service is no longer available.’
    • ‘The burglars usually pose as workers for utility services, such as water, gas or electricity and target elderly householders.’
    • ‘An efficient, reliable postal service is essential to the smooth running of the nation's affairs.’
    • ‘This single piece of legislation will deprive many local communities of an adequate postal service.’
    • ‘Caidee has not yet returned to school and the issue has been referred to the education welfare service.’
    • ‘Student support services are essential to help enhance the success of prospective teachers.’
    • ‘I am sure these new services will also assist in tackling the current traffic situation in and around the town centre.’
    • ‘By March, 1976, the mothers had organised a school bus service to serve the new school.’
    • ‘We have the full backing of the education welfare service and are working together to address the problem.’
    amenity, facility, resource, utility, solution
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    1. 2.1 A public department or organization run by the government.
      ‘the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’
      • ‘It was nice to see Margaret Hodge speaking out in favour of public services last week.’
      • ‘The probation service aims to reduce offending and protect the public.’
      • ‘If the probation service is unsuccessful, O'Connell will become homeless.’
      • ‘A guarantee has been given that there will be no job losses if plans to merge key public services into one giant organisation goes ahead.’
      • ‘This meant visiting the probation service, in Victoria Avenue, Southend.’
      • ‘One of the great losses under this Government is an effective employment service.’
      • ‘Third, land values are in part due to the presence of good government and valuable public services.’
      • ‘It would also mean moving the probation service from its present offices, in Union Lane, to the new centre.’
      • ‘He said services within the department were operating normally.’
      • ‘Tony Hargreaves, presiding, congratulated Simms on a glowing report by the probation service.’
      • ‘The intelligence departments of both services ran Special Service Organizations.’
      • ‘The report from the probation service said that Bates had done the 25 hours in good time and without any trouble.’
      • ‘The move follows similar recruitment drives by MI5, the domestic intelligence service.’
      • ‘David Fraser, who worked for the probation service, has written a book, A Land Fit for Criminals.’
      • ‘They are exhibited in a statement and were formulated by the prison service rather than the Department of Health.’
      • ‘He also ordered the probation service to supervise her for a year.’
      • ‘The case was adjourned until August 29 for pre-sentence reports to be prepared by the probation service.’
      • ‘At this point there is no effort to co-ordinate services across Government Departments.’
      • ‘He had missed the November appointment because of a family bereavement and had asked his mother to contact the probation service.’
      • ‘The pension service and the fiscal department considered her as dead for a rather long period.’
    2. 2.2the services The armed forces.
      ‘service personnel’
      ‘troops from all branches of the services’
      • ‘It has had an effect on me, as a person who has served in the services.’
      • ‘Are the services anticipating the changing nature of future conflict in their wargaming?’
      • ‘The lessons that all the services are learning will help provide us with what we need to prepare for the future.’
      • ‘For those interested in other career fields, the services are hiring as well.’
      • ‘His appointment signaled a renaissance of the warrior ethic throughout the services.’
      • ‘It shall also allocate the numerical strength of the Reserves to the services and combat arms.’
      • ‘The men in uniform, the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, are veterans of the services.’
      • ‘He met his wife, who has also served in the Territorial Army and Auxiliary Air Force, through the services.’
      armed forces, armed services, forces, military
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3servicesBritish An area with parking beside a major road supplying gasoline, refreshments, and other amenities to motorists.
      • ‘All the services, the roads, the car parks for the new passenger terminal and the cargo building will be completed in July.’
      • ‘He was parked in the services at Rainton, near Ripon, when he was approached by a man who forced him to drive northbound up the A1.’
      • ‘The local roads, services, amenities, houses and schools are not large enough.’
  • 3A ceremony of religious worship according to a prescribed form; the prescribed form for such a ceremony.

    ‘a funeral service’
    • ‘Carolyn and bridegroom Richard Coombs were told their reception could not go ahead after the church marriage service.’
    • ‘In response, the unions called off the mass memorial service that was originally scheduled last year.’
    • ‘A short service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day was held in Skipton and Settle.’
    • ‘His wife was trapped in the house and the intruders threatened to kill her if the worship service continued.’
    • ‘They can also get access to a further 22 spaces in a nearby overflow car park during bigger services.’
    • ‘The Archbishop led a short service, followed by a prayer of blessing and dedication for the new meeting facilities.’
    • ‘Here his followers would gather in the mornings and afternoons for religious services.’
    • ‘He himself attended worship services at the first Protestant church in Mexico City, established not long after he took power.’
    • ‘It is important to understand what pastors and religious leaders do in services of healing.’
    • ‘Each donor received a copy of the page and memorial card, and was invited to the short remembrance service at the Dumers Lane hospice.’
    • ‘One of the team's goals is to pray during worship services for the church's leaders and ministry.’
    • ‘A short prayer service will be held immediately afterwards in the church.’
    • ‘One tends to find greater respect for the liturgical nature of our common worship in Anglican services.’
    • ‘Worship services held in Amish homes reaffirm the moral order of Amish life.’
    • ‘The service included hymns specially chosen by Ian's family, and prayers led by his father, Roy.’
    • ‘They had a short service in the town's Civic Hall before marching back through the park.’
    • ‘I point out that the wedding is a service of worship in which God is the focus and our goal is to please Him.’
    • ‘Therefore, his religious services in the morning and evening used to be a major event each day.’
    • ‘Its worship services have hitherto been held in the garage of the pastor's home.’
    • ‘In Iraq, British soldiers celebrated Easter in a series of regimental services at military bases in the country.’
    ceremony, ritual, rite, observance, ordinance
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  • 4A periodic routine inspection and maintenance of a vehicle or other machine.

    ‘he took his car in for service’
    ‘they phoned for service on their air conditioning’
    • ‘By some good fortune we made it to Vals on time, then proceeded to our hotel where we had a bite to eat and then gave the car a service with Jim and the gang.’
    • ‘I had to take my car in for a service after squash and had meant to check under the seats in case it had slipped out of my pocket, but forgot.’
    • ‘It had failed to refill the gearbox with oil during the pre-delivery service of the car.’
    overhaul, servicing, maintenance check, routine check, check
    View synonyms
  • 5with modifier A set of matching dishes and utensils used for serving a particular meal.

    ‘a dinner service’
  • 6(in tennis and other racket sports) the action or right of serving to begin play.

    • ‘We are on the balls of our feet, like tennis players awaiting service, anxiously twiddling our sticks.’
    1. 6.1 A serve.
      • ‘Jenkins served the first four services of the third game, picking up one ace in the process of doing so.’
  • 7Law
    The formal delivery of a document such as a writ or summons.

    • ‘Personal service of a summons to witness upon Perry was the correct way to compel his attendance to be examined.’
    • ‘There is an email address which has been used to communicate with him as well as the formal service of his last known address.’
    • ‘All steps required for service of the document shall be effected as soon as possible.’
    • ‘There was nothing to prevent personal service on the Defendants at Wentworth Drive, the address given on the Claim Form.’
    • ‘The claimants issued their writ and effected service in accordance with their undertakings.’


  • 1Perform routine maintenance or repair work on (a vehicle or machine)

    ‘have your car serviced regularly’
    • ‘Hugin was held by the Commission to be in breach of Article 86 by refusing to supply spare parts for its cash registers to Liptons, which competed with Hugin in servicing Hugin's machines.’
    • ‘I am amazed at the number of farmers who have not serviced their tractor in 2003.’
    • ‘Ensure that your car is regularly serviced and check your tyre pressures regularly.’
    • ‘While in the Senior Service Mr Allingham serviced aircraft and acted as a spotter for submarines and mines during the Battle of Jutland.’
    • ‘Kruger urged motorists to use their cars sensibly, have their vehicles serviced regularly and form lift clubs where possible.’
    • ‘Chris has done all the outside maintenance and ground care and even taught himself how to service tractors in order to save costs!’
    • ‘The ability to service his machines properly and promptly is also important to Roaden.’
    • ‘You may get a locally trained technician to service the machines and robotics.’
    • ‘He was reimbursed only a small amount on account of his disbursements for the use of his car in servicing the machines.’
    • ‘Make sure gas appliances are serviced regularly.’
    • ‘You will need to have the car taken to the garage that services your fleet vehicle.’
    • ‘The electrical and plumbing systems were checked, a new gas boiler was installed, the lifts were serviced and repaired, and the fire safety equipment was also checked and repaired or replaced.’
    • ‘The aircraft were serviced, checked over carefully and winterized before being ferried north.’
    • ‘For one week he worked for a tailor, then was employed as a kitchen hand, later drove a truck, serviced machinery and sold construction equipment.’
    • ‘When he first set up in business he serviced washing machines and vacuum cleaners, but soon moved over to specialising in selling light fittings and lamp shades.’
    • ‘Abrey advised people not to wait for the summer to service their machines but rather to do them in winter.’
    • ‘We had the rear brake serviced by Magura during a tech seminar, and it performed excellently.’
    • ‘Be sure that there is a program in place to review and service vehicles prior to each use.’
    • ‘He had his motorcycle serviced by the respondent.’
    • ‘Flanik's father, who serviced vending machines as a side occupation, was shot to death during a robbery when Flanik was 14.’
    overhaul, servicing, maintenance check, routine check, check
    overhaul, check, check over, go over, give a maintenance check to, maintain, keep in good condition
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Supply and maintain systems for public utilities and transportation and communications in (an area)
      ‘the town is small but well serviced’
      • ‘It should be located in areas well serviced by public transportation and provide a variety of services close by.’
      • ‘The area is well serviced by a number of bus routes.’
      • ‘Other cities only allow new development in areas already serviced by mass transit.’
      • ‘Most roads and bridges servicing plantations were washed out.’
      • ‘Local areas are well serviced by trains and buses.’
      • ‘The estate is serviced by well constructed roads, and one can see electricity lines running through the site.’
      • ‘The department has never depended on Wasa for water in the areas serviced by the salt water main system.’
      • ‘The majority of these houses are far too scattered to be serviced by public transport, she added.’
      • ‘The air carried only the faintest whiff of sewage, as this section serviced a wealthy area of the city and was consequently well maintained.’
      • ‘The last step is to ascertain the actual cost of construction of the Northway in the area being serviced.’
      • ‘Obviously some time was spent on marketing efforts to find new sites, to set up new sites and to service old sites.’
      • ‘The pipeline will service rural areas en route and will enable new group water schemes to go ahead.’
      • ‘Previously Lawley and Orange Farm were serviced by the fire station in Eldorado Park, some eight kilometres away’
      • ‘Each of these areas is well serviced by tram, bus and underground metro line.’
      • ‘There are a number of bus routes servicing the area, including a feeder bus service direct from Blackrock Dart station.’
      • ‘They only agreed to start servicing the area after numerous calls from the residents there, Singh said.’
      • ‘It complements other public services, such as the transport system that services it.’
      • ‘The areas serviced by the transport initiative include Scartaglen, Firies, Brosna, Kilflynn, Ballylongford and Knockanure.’
      • ‘Local shops servicing a small area reduce the need to travel.’
      • ‘Rural areas are serviced by a thinly spread system of aid posts and small health centers.’
    2. 1.2 Perform a service or services for (someone)
      ‘the state's biggest health maintenance organization servicing the poor’
      • ‘We have 84,000 people who will be serviced by that organisation.’
    3. 1.3 Pay interest on (a debt)
      ‘taxpayers are paying $250 million just to service that debt’
      • ‘Therefore, countries had to increase production of commodities in order to service their debts.’
      • ‘Instead, the national debt is simply serviced with the amount of interest paid in any year being a function of the size of the debt and the interest rates on the appropriate debt instruments.’
      • ‘Remember it is pointless keeping too much surplus money in a savings account if you are also servicing debt at a higher rate of interest.’
      • ‘Negative numbers can mean the company is servicing debt but can also mean the company is making dividend payments and stock repurchases, which investors might be glad to see.’
      • ‘Deutsche Bank expresses concern at the association's ability to service the escalating debt.’
  • 2(of a male animal) mate with (a female animal)

    • ‘The farmer then gauges the progress by the number of ewes with coloured hindquarters, indicating which of his flock have been serviced.’
    • ‘It has been known for one male to service 40 females, but it all depends on his size and strength.’
    • ‘The queen bee is serviced by her male drones, and then she kills them off one by one.’
    • ‘It is then that Jane reads about how bulls never service the same cow twice.’
    • ‘Almost all the world's big owners, including the Queen and the Aga Khan, send their horses to be serviced at Coolmore.’
    1. 2.1vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse with or give sexual gratification to (someone)


  • be at someone's service

    • Be ready to assist someone whenever possible.

      • ‘As soon as dinner is done, I will be at your service.’
      • ‘Well, Ann, I've been at his service for 40 years, and we've never been apart.’
      • ‘The members of her group were supposed to be at her service and not the other way around.’
      • ‘He had me stay at the house to be at Sammy 's service for the three weeks he was there, cooking whatever he dreamed of.’
      • ‘Our staff is at your service for any further information you may require.’
      • ‘I continued to meet Mrs. Kennedy's conditions by being at her service at seven o'clock every morning, going to school every day, completing my chores in the afternoon, and never being caught doing anything illegal.’
      • ‘Let me register and sign, and whenever you want I'll be at your service.’
  • be of service

    • Be available to assist someone.

      • ‘This allows service providers to be of service.’
      • ‘Of course, if you're unsure about what you're viewing, Moodie and the rest of the gallery staff are often more than happy to be of service.’
      • ‘I believe I can't really be of service to anyone else unless I've got my own ducks in a row.’
      • ‘‘I'm glad to be of service,’ Skerry says sarcastically.’
      • ‘‘My goal is to actually be of service, not just to hold onto my position,’ she said.’
      • ‘I was glad to be of service in the Oklahoma Bug Relocation Program.’
      • ‘‘I believe I can be of service to you here,’ she said.’
      • ‘We hope to be of service to Catholics, busy parents in particular, who are concerned about what their children may be watching.’
      • ‘Yet he is happy where he is, being of service and working with others.’
      • ‘Her year there was an adventure that finally brought together her nursing and desire to be of service in the missionary field.’
      help, assist, benefit, be helpful, be of assistance, be beneficial, be advantageous, be of benefit, serve, advantage, be useful, be of use, be profitable, profit, be valuable, be of worth, do someone a good turn
      View synonyms
  • in service

    • 1In or available for use.

      • ‘The Heritage Lottery Fund is to put the cash towards the cost of getting the Vulcan bomber back in service for air shows.’
      • ‘One lift was taken out of service for replacement; the other was left in service.’
      • ‘Six of the ships have been delivered and are in service in Asia-European services.’
      • ‘It is not expected to be in service until late spring.’
      • ‘She said they had hoped to have had the new ambulance in service before now but the conversion had taken longer than had been expected.’
      • ‘The LCH class now has the distinction of being in commission longer than any other ship still in service.’
      • ‘But it should be remembered that for the first two and a half years of the war they were far in advance of anything in service in any other nation.’
      • ‘Firstly, buses in service obviously need extra journey time.’
      • ‘It is not uncommon to have guns produced for America's previous wars in service today.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, after 27 years, there will be no supersonic planes in service for commercial airlines after tonight.’
    • 2Employed as a servant.

  • out of service

    • Not available for use.

      • ‘ScottishPower's generation unit at Hunter in Utah is out of service for four to six months while repairs are completed.’
      • ‘The elevator's out of service, so we have to walk up seven flights to visit the heart doctor.’
      • ‘However, the refit, which has kept the historic craft out of service since last December, was much more than just a paint job.’
      • ‘The Surrey is currently out of service for annual maintenance.’
      • ‘The ferry was able to continue its journey and return to Kirkwall on one engine, but will be out of service for several weeks, said Mr Henderson.’
      • ‘Aurora will be repaired at either a UK or German shipyard and will be out of service for about five weeks.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman for the Royal Bank of Scotland said the Nessgate cash machine was currently out of service because of vandalism.’
      • ‘His route planned, Hamilton arrived at his preferred stop to find the elevator out of service.’
      • ‘Even so, it's a shame to see such a beautiful aircraft go out of service with no prospect that we'll ever see anything quite like it in my lifetime.’
      • ‘Normally I wouldn't have bothered mentioning this, because I would have assumed that the server was out of service temporarily.’
      out of order, not working, not in working order, not functioning, broken, broken-down, out of commission, acting up, unserviceable, faulty, defective, non-functional, inoperative, in disrepair
      View synonyms
  • see service

    • 1Serve in the armed forces.

      ‘he saw service in both world wars’
      • ‘Later he served in the army and saw service in Germany.’
      • ‘Charles was educated as a soldier and saw service in the Swedish army from 1642 to 1645 during the Thirty Years War.’
      • ‘He joined the Russian Imperial Fleet and saw service during the Russo-Japanese War in Port Arthur - a port that was to fall to the Japanese.’
      • ‘He joined the Marines as a teenager, and saw service in the wars of 1776-83.’
      • ‘The first two squadrons to see service were 302 and the famous 303 squadron, the latter based at Northolt just outside London.’
      • ‘A Cambridge graduate and former lieutenant colonel in the Royal Tank Regiment, Crawford, 49, saw service in the 1991 Gulf war.’
      • ‘He joined the Welsh Guards at 18 and, before sailing with the Falklands Task Force, saw service in Berlin, Northern Ireland and Kenya.’
      • ‘By 1865, desperation forced the Confederate Congress to authorize black combat troops, although the war ended before any saw service.’
      • ‘He served as a platoon commander with the British Army for 10 years, and saw service in Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘During the second world war, he saw service in the East African campaign and later in the desert.’
      1. 1.1Be used.
        ‘the building later saw service as a blacksmith's shop’
        • ‘The Lux range first saw service at the Open championship in Kent earlier this year where they were tested out by the millionaires of world golf, who pronounced themselves satisfied.’
        • ‘At first the Gannet was used in submarine detection but in the mid-1960s the advanced early warning version was developed, and saw service until 1977.’
        • ‘The ten-ton Saracen, fitted with a Browning turret-mounted machine gun and a BREN anti-aircraft gun, first saw service in Malaya and was a common sight in Northern Ireland.’
        • ‘The helicopter last saw service in Antarctica and is equipped with a full de-icing rig and a power winch.’
        • ‘The magnificent steam engine last saw service in 1976 at the Mardy Colliery, on the outskirts of the town it was named after in the Rhondda Valley.’


Old English (denoting religious devotion or a form of liturgy), from Old French servise or Latin servitium ‘slavery’, from servus ‘slave’. The early sense of the verb (mid 19th century) was ‘be of service to, provide with a service’.