Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

deserve - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] deserve pronunciation in British English /dɪˈzɜː(r)v/
Word Forms
present tense
present participledeserving
past tensedeserved
past participledeserved
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    if you deserve something, it is right that you get it, for example because of the way you have behaved

    After five hours on your feet you deserve a break.

    After the way he treated Millie, he deserves whatever happens to him.

    deserve to do something:

    I work hard, and I think I deserve to be well paid.

  2. 2
    if a thing deserves something such as your time or attention, you should give time or attention to doing it

    Their suggestions were treated with the contempt they deserved.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


to teach someone

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play