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[dih-zur-ving] /dɪˈzɜr vɪŋ/
qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one's actions, qualities, or situation:
the deserving poor; a deserving applicant.
meriting; worthy:
a criminal deserving of a lifetime sentence.
Origin of deserving
1570-80; deserve + -ing2
Related forms
deservingly, adverb
deservingness, noun
self-deserving, adjective
undeserving, adjective
undeservingly, adverb
undeservingness, noun


[dih-zurv] /dɪˈzɜrv/
verb (used with object), deserved, deserving.
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), deserved, deserving.
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.
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
Related forms
deserver, noun
predeserve, verb (used with object), predeserved, predeserving.
1. rate, warrant, justify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for deserving
  • There will be billions more people wanting and deserving to boost themselves out of poverty.
  • Many people serve these by making themselves seem more important and more deserving of public wealth.
  • As has been pointed out, there are many other hazards more deserving of concern.
  • It's an interesting and important question deserving rational, unbiased examination.
  • After all, they are deserving of my undivided attention.
  • But if you're anyone else, apparently, you're not deserving of that.
  • Sometimes though there are creative standouts that are deserving of a singular mention.
  • Fortunately, this air of superiority is largely deserving.
  • There are other tiny portables that are more deserving of your money.
  • So the courts are set up to award monetary damages to compensate deserving plaintiffs for injury done by defamation.
British Dictionary definitions for deserving


often postpositive and foll by of. worthy, esp of praise or reward
(rare) a merit or demerit; desert
Derived Forms
deservingly, adverb
deservingness, noun


(transitive) to be entitled to or worthy of; merit
(obsolete) (intransitive) foll by of. to be worthy
Derived Forms
deserved, adjective
deservedness (dɪˈzɜːvɪdnɪs) noun
deserver, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French deservir, from Latin dēservīre to serve devotedly, from de- + servīre to serve
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deserving



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with deserving
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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