1. Either of two Mediterranean trees (Sorbus domestica or S. torminalis) in the rose family, having clusters of white flowers, saw-toothed leaves, and edible brownish fruit.
2. See serviceberry.
[From Middle English serves, pl. of serve, the service tree, from Old English syrfe, from Vulgar Latin *sorbea, from Latin sorbus.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.