Middle English Dictionary Entry

servī̆s(e n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) A state of being bound to undertake tasks for someone or at someone's direction; employment, employ; ~ of, a state of service to (sb.); his (youre) ~, a state of service to him (you); in his ~, at his direction, at his command; (b) labor performed or undertaken for another; a particular task so performed; performance of certain tasks or of a particular task; also fig.; (c) an assigned duty or task; a priestly duty or office quot.:c1384; an appointed period of labor; (d) the functioning of a bodily part; necessarie ~, vital activity; (e) obedience required by service to another, submission, deference, display of reverence; willingness or desire to be of service.
(a) The occupation or labor of an attendant servant, attendance upon a person or upon God; service in a household, domestic service; obeien ~, to obey the commands of a person attended; (b) a particular kind of personal service; a position in a household; also, an occasion of personal service; also, a particular household task.
(a) Service or employment in a lord's court or administration; the occupation or position of a retainer; duty or labor undertaken in a lord's service; a position as retainer, an office in a lord's court; also fig.; also, a legal excuse for nonappearance in a suit, as caused by labor in the king's service [quot.: 1472-3]; (b) the labor of a retainer, attendance as a member of a retinue; also fig.; don ~, to labor for (a lord, king); also fig.; (c) feudal allegiance, fealty, homage; ~ of feute; worldi ~, ?obeisance by the people of the world; don (yelden) ~, to do homage, acknowledge feudal obligations; (d) military service, esp. by a knight; employment as a soldier or knight; a deed of knightly service; ~ of werre.
(a) Customary service: the duty, either in labor or rent payment, which a tenant owes to his lord by reason of his fee or estate; also in fig. context; ertheli (seculere, worldli) ~; (b) ~ fleshliche, a service of labor; ~ in-ward, duty owed to one's immediate feudal superior; ~ outwarde, forein ~, duty owed to persons other than one's immediate feudal superior, or outside the manor; kinges (real) ~, duty which a tenant owes the crown, esp. scutage [see also king n.1b.(e)]; knight ~, q.v.; rente ~, service as rent, or money paid in lieu; (c) a duty by which a person occupies an elevated status or position; (d) a feudal holding; also fig.
Service as a lover, suit; devotion; under ~, in thrall to (a woman).
Slavery, servitude, bondage; also fig.; labor in servitude; also, the condition of serfdom; servage ~, slavery; don his lord ~, to do (sth.) at his lord's bidding.
(a) Assistance, help; a helpful act, requested favor; don ~ (to, to be of help or assistance to (sb.); be at (a person's) disposal, comply with (a person's) wishes; (b) benefit, advantage, use; in thi ~, for your benefit; don ~, to be serviceable to (sb.); (c) what is needed, what is wanted.
(a) Normal life or conduct in conformity to God's will, piety, pious behavior or activity; chirche(s ~, attendance in the Temple; (b) special activity beyond what is normal in the service of God; also, a work of supererogation; (c) labor or activity undertaken in devotion to the Virgin Mary or to a saint; (d) life or conduct in accordance with the will of the devil, an idol, or a pagan god; sinful conduct; loves (venus) heigh ~, life devoted to loving, courtly love; mannes ~, secular affairs; martes heigh ~, deeds of knighthood, battle, etc.; (e) sexual intercourse, conjugal relations; ~ of venus, fleshes ~.
(a) Christian worship, esp. the Mass; also fig.; ~ of seintes, worship honoring saints; divine (goddes, messe, prestes) ~; his ~, the mass he is obliged to celebrate; also, the mass he is obliged to attend; thi ~, the Eucharist offered by you; the mass you are obliged to celebrate; don ~, to say mass; also, say mass (for sb.); ?also, conduct a prayer service for (children) [quot.: Cursor 28283]; don ~ of, observe (a feast) in a commemorative mass; don ~ to, offer mass in honor of (Christ, a saint); seien (singen) ~; (b) a specific service of worship: a ceremony of marriage or baptism, funeral service, etc.; also fig.; also, a mass honoring a particular saint; don ~, to assist at or attend a service of interment [quot.: 1463]; (c) the text or ritual prescribed for a service of worship; also, an anthem [quot.: ?c1425]; (d) the Divine Office; also fig.; ~ divine, divine ~; a text of the Divine Office; also, the Saturday and Little Office of Our Lady; don ~, to observe the service of the hours of the breviary; (e) service of worship according to Jewish law, sacrifice; service in the Temple; also, service for the dead according to Jewish ritual; don ~, to offer sacrifice; carry out a ritual for (the people); (f) service of worship to the devil, an idol, or a pagan god; a ceremony of pagan worship; a funeral or memorial service observing pagan ritual; (g) in cpds. and combs.: ~ doinge (seiinge), the conducting of a service of worship; saying mass; ~ endinge, the conclusion of mass; ~ time, the time at or during which a worship service occurs; the ~ while, during mass.
(a) Provision of food; the sequence of dishes served in a meal, menu; an allotment of food or drink, a ration; quantity of food; ~ of, provision of (a kind of food); galoun ~; (b) a course or a dish forming part of a meal; (c) service at table, attendance during a meal; a point or detail of service at table; also, the manner of serving a dish [quot.: a1450]; double ~, ?attendance at table by two servants [cp. sengli adv.(c)]; ?a double provision of the food served [= (a) above]; (d) irchouns in ~, the name of a culinary dish made to resemble a hedgehog; (e) ?the accouterments of service at table; ~ of trencheres, a set of trenchers.
In misc. senses: (a) law legal delivery, service; (b) payment for service, wages; requital for assistance or benefit received; divine retribution; (c) a servant; (d) the word 'service'.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • (c1452) Complaint Scrope in Scrope Castle Combe279 : Item, whan I was comyn to hym, it plesed hym than of his grace to showe me so good faderhoode, that I was right glad to wayte opon hym to do hym servyce.
  • Note: Additional quote(s)
  • (c1452) Complaint Scrope in Scrope Castle Combe279 : Item, he bought me ayene, and than was I serteyn yeris under his governaunce, in siche penurie that I was fayne to selle a place in Kent called Hevre for v.c. marcs, and therewith I put myself into service with my lord of Gloucestre.
  • Note: New phrase