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[noun in-set; verb in-set] /noun ˈɪnˌsɛt; verb ɪnˈsɛt/
something inserted; insert.
a small picture, map, etc., inserted within the border of a larger one.
the act of setting in.
a piece of cloth or other material set into a garment, usually as an ornamental panel.
verb (used with object), inset, insetting.
to set in or insert, as an inset:
to inset a panel in a dress.
to insert an inset in:
to inset a mounting with jewels.
Origin of inset
before 900; Middle English insetten to insert, Old English insettan to initiate; see in-1, set
Related forms
insetter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for insets
Historical Examples
  • The insets are held by the buttons and taken from their places.

  • The circle is filled in with a red pencil, the square with blue (insets).

  • The insets which we present simply call the attention to a given form.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • An important item of the same change is to be found in the management of the insets, or some of them.

  • He then began to turn to the cylinders and the insets, the simpler objects, and showed interest in every part of the system.

  • In the school for deficients I had made and applied these insets in the same form used by my illustrious predecessors.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • I had great numbers of these insets made in graduations of colour and in an infinite variety of form.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • The insets for teaching colour were all circles, those used for teaching form were all painted blue.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • It was furnished with a cover so arranged that it would contain six of the square frames with their insets.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • We proceed to take out the insets, mix them upon the table, and then invite the child to put them back in place.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
British Dictionary definitions for insets


verb (ɪnˈsɛt) -sets, -setting, -set
(transitive) to set or place in or within; insert
noun (ˈɪnˌsɛt)
something inserted
  1. a small map or diagram set within the borders of a larger one
  2. another name for insert (sense 4)
a piece of fabric inserted into a garment, as to shape it or for decoration
a flowing in, as of the tide
Derived Forms
insetter, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for insets



1550s, "influx of water, place where water flows in," from in + set (n.2). Meaning "extra pages of a book, etc." is from 1875; that of "small map in the border of a larger one" is from 1881.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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