c.1100, "celebration of public worship," from O.Fr. servise
, from L. servitium
"slavery, servitude," from servus
"slave" (see serve
). Meaning "act of serving" is attested from 1230. Sense of "duty of a military man" first recorded 1580s, hence "the military as an occupation" (1706). Meaning "the furniture of the table" (tea service,
etc.) is from mid-15c. Serving
"a helping of food" is from 1769. Serviceable
"ready to serve" is from early 14c.
Edgar: I know thee well: a serviceable villain,
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.
"King Lear," Act IV, Scene vi