[ dih-zurv ]
/ dɪˈzɜrv /

verb (used with object), de·served, de·serv·ing.

to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation: to deserve exile; to deserve charity; a theory that deserves consideration.

verb (used without object), de·served, de·serv·ing.

to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense, etc.: to reward him as he deserves; an idea deserving of study.

Origin of deserve

1250–1300; Middle English deserven < Anglo-French, Old French deservir, Latin dēservīre to devote oneself to the service of, equivalent to dē- de- + servīre to serve


de·serv·er, noun pre·de·serve, verb (used with object), pre·de·served, pre·de·serv·ing.

Example sentences from the Web for deserve

British Dictionary definitions for deserve

/ (dɪˈzɜːv) /


(tr) to be entitled to or worthy of; merit
(intr foll by of) obsolete to be worthy

Derived forms of deserve

deserved, adjective deservedness (dɪˈzɜːvɪdnɪs), noun deserver, noun

Word Origin for deserve

C13: from Old French deservir, from Latin dēservīre to serve devotedly, from de- + servīre to serve

Idioms and Phrases with deserve


see one good turn deserves another.