serv- (slave)

(Latin: servire, to serve, to be a slave; slave; slavery)

From Latin servire, to be a slave, to serve; from servus, slave, which is an Etruscan loan word. Of course, the modern use of "serve" has gone beyond the "slavery" aspect, but we are considering the etymology of the words which apparently came from the original idea of "slavery".

This Latin serv- is not related to another serv-, -serve which means "to save, to preserve".

deserve, deserves, deserving, deserved
1. To have acquired, and so to have, a rightful claim to: "He deserves another chance."

Every defendant in court deserves a fair trial."

2. To be entitled to, in return for services or meritorious actions; or sometimes, for ill deeds and qualities; to be worthy to have: "She doesn't deserve the award."

"He has earned a well-deserved vacation for all of the work he has done."

3. To have earned something or be worthy of something: "The volunteer deserved a medal for coming up with a solution so quickly."

"The guide said that anyone who doesn't use the free map when traveling in the mountains deserves to get lost."

4. Etymology: from the early 13th century, from Old French deservir and Modern French desservir, "to deserve, to be worthy of, to earn, to merit"; from Latin deservire "to serve well"; from de-, "completely" + servire, "to serve".
1. A statement meaning that what happens is right: "The books are deservedly popular with readers."

"Jim won first prize, and deservedly so."

2. In a way which is justly and fully earned or merited: "The coach was deservedly popular with his team."

"She was deservedly praised for her generosity in helping the poor get food."

disserve, disserves, disserving, disserved
To fail to serve, to do injury or mischief to, to damage, to treat badly, to hurt, to harm: "He disserved you by refusing to help you."

"Do you think he will disserve you again?"

1. An action that causes harm or difficulty: "You have done a disservice to the people by not cooperating with the mayor."
2. To do something that makes the opinions of people about someone or something not to be as good as it should be: "To describe her as merely a journalist is to do her a disservice."

"She did a great disservice to the professionals at the day-care center when she referred to them as 'babysitters'."

"Calling her lazy and uncaring does the nurse a great disservice."

3. An action that is intended to help others but which turns out badly: "He did a disservice to readers by providing the wrong information even though he sincerely thought he was doing the right thing."
Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.
Translation: "No man is free who is a slave to the flesh [body]."

From Seneca, who may have been referring to those who indulged in the unbridled pursuit of pleasure and other physical excesses.

Paratae servire.
Prepared to serve.

Motto of Colby-Sawyer College, New London, New Hampshire, USA.

1. An agricultural worker, especially in feudal Europe, who cultivated land belonging to a landowner, and who was bought and sold with the land.
2. An agricultural worker under various similar systems; especially, in the 18th century and the 19th century Russia and eastern Europe.
3. Someone who is in bondage or servitude.
4. Etymology: from the late 15th century, "slave"; from Middle French (about 1400 to 1600) serf; from Latin servum, servus, "slave".

It fell from use in the original sense of "slave" by the 18th century. The meaning of "lowest class of cultivators of the soil in continental European countries" came from the 1610's.

serf, surf, surf
serf (SURF) (noun)
Someone in feudal times who was bound in servitude and who lived and worked on a estate which was usually owned by someone from the upper class: The serf worked hard, hoping that some day he would be able to rise to a higher social level and own property.
surf (SURF) (noun)
A wave of the sea that breaks onto the shore: Jamie could hear the sound of the surf lashing and pounding on the beach from his resort hotel.
surf (SURF) (verb)
1. To ride the large waves of the sea towards the shore by using a specially designed board: Janet's boyfriend tried to surf the big billows of ocean water in Hawaii.
2. To go on the internet or to watch television for recreation, education, or entertainment; frequently changing the site or channel: James likes to surf the internet looking for information that can provide sources of information for his university classes.

He felt like a serf having to work so much all week; so, it was a relief on the weekend when he could surf the internet and learn some new things.

In feudal societies, a system of servitude for those who are bound to a hereditary plot of land and to the will of his landlord and who could be sold or otherwise transferred to someone else with the land.

Serfs differed from slaves in that slaves could be bought and sold without reference to the land; however, serfs changed lords only when the land they worked on changed to ownership.

Serfdom was the enforced labor of serfs on the fields of landowners, in return for protection and the right to work on their leased fields; and it involved not only work in fields, but also various other activities; such as, forestry, mining, transportation (both land and river), and various crafts.

sergeant, serjeant
1. Someone who serves another, especially someone employed to do household jobs; such as, cooking, cleaning, and serving meals.
2. Someone in public employ.
1. To work for someone.
2. To be useful or helpful for a particular purpose.
1. Word done by someone for another; such as, a job, a duty, a punishment, or a favor.
2. A system or operation by which people are provided with something they need, e.g., public transportation, or the organization that runs such a system.
serviceable (adjective), more serviceable, most serviceable
1. Able to be maintained easily: The washing machine was serviceable in that it could be cleaned and decalcified easily!
2. Possible of being repaired and not discarded: If ever Sandy's watch doesn't show the correct time, she shouldn't throw it way because it certainly is serviceable and probably only needs a new battery!
3. Suitable for use; usable; helpful: The coffee machine Jane had was not new or modern, but totally serviceable and practical.
4. Disposed to be worn well; durable: The jacket Susan has on for gardening is made of very strong fabric, is very serviceable with many pockets, and will last a very long time!