tr.v. re·served, re·serv·ing, re·serves
1. To keep back, as for future use or for a special purpose: The hospital reserves certain drugs for the most serious cases.
2. To set or cause to be set apart for a particular person or use: reserved a seat on the next flight out. See Synonyms at book1.
3. To keep or secure for oneself; retain: I reserve the right to disagree. See Synonyms at keep.
a. Something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose: a runner with a reserve of energy for the final lap.
b. An amount of capital that is not invested or otherwise used in order to meet probable demands, such as withdrawals by bank depositors or claims on insurance policies.
a. Lack of enthusiasm, as from a misgiving or doubt: supported the idea without reserve.
b. Self-restraint in expression or bearing; reticence or coolness: maintained a dignified reserve throughout the ceremony.
3. A reservation of public land: a forest reserve.
4. An amount of a mineral, fossil fuel, or other resource known to exist in a particular location and to be exploitable: the discovery of large oil reserves.
a. A fighting force kept uncommitted until strategic need arises.
b. The part of a country's armed forces not on active duty but subject to call in an emergency.
c. A member of either of these forces: the army's active reserves.
a. A group of players that play only as substitutes for starters in games or are kept from playing for some reason.
b. One of these players.
Held in or forming a reserve: a reserve supply of food.
Kept back, set aside, or saved.
[Middle English reserven, from Old French reserver, from Latin reservāre, to keep back : re-, re- + servāre, to keep; see ser-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.