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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for insets
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • The insets are held by the buttons and taken from their places.

  • Shapes: Solids, insets: The procedure is always in the three stages mentioned.

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

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • Artistic designs are made by combining the small pieces of the various geometric insets.

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

  • So insets of fine white net were put in the eye-holes and the dainty white masks were really pretty affairs.

    Two Little Women Carolyn Wells
  • 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
  • These however are clearly set off as insets in the unity of the Egyptian scene.

    Essays on the Greek Romances Elizabeth Hazelton Haight
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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