Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
Are verbs "to serve" identical in meaning in these three examples?
You should be able to answer that. Dictionaries are not giving out the laws of nature- they are trying to describe meaning or words in words, which is all they have. A better question would be to ask whether there was some sort of common thread. I can see a common thread, but that doesn't make it identical. Science can express many things in formula. Language is by its very nature less exact. If dictionaries were as exact as a mathematical formula, they would all use exactly the same words in all definitions. A word's usage in context may be similar to more than one of the given definitions- the definitions are just trying to capture as many possibilities as they can