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.
- (tr) to be entitled to or worthy of; merit
- (intr foll by of) obsolete to be worthy
early 13c., from Old French deservir (Modern French desservir) “deserve, be worthy of, earn, merit,” from Latin deservire “serve well,” from de- “completely” (see de-) + servire “to serve” (see serve). From “be entitled to because of good service” (a sense found in Late Latin), meaning generalized c.1300 to “be worthy of.” Related: Deserved; deserving.
see one good turn deserves another.