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[seth] /sɛθ/
the third son of Adam. Gen. 4:25.
a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “substitute.”.


[set] /sɛt/
noun, Egyptian Religion.
the brother and murderer of Osiris, represented as having the form of a donkey or other mammal and regarded as personifying the desert.
Also, Seth [seyt] /seɪt/ (Show IPA). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Seth
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British Dictionary definitions for Seth


(Old Testament) Adam's third son, given by God in place of the murdered Abel (Genesis 4:25)


verb (mainly transitive) sets, setting, set
to put or place in position or into a specified state or condition: to set a book on the table, to set someone free
(also intransitive; foll by to or on) to put or be put (to); apply or be applied: he set fire to the house, they set the dogs on the scent
to put into order or readiness for use; prepare: to set a trap, to set the table for dinner
(also intransitive) to put, form, or be formed into a jelled, firm, fixed, or rigid state: the jelly set in three hours
(also intransitive) to put or be put into a position that will restore a normal state: to set a broken bone
to adjust (a clock or other instrument) to a position
to determine or establish: we have set the date for our wedding
to prescribe or allot (an undertaking, course of study, etc): the examiners have set ``Paradise Lost''
to arrange in a particular fashion, esp an attractive one: she set her hair, the jeweller set the diamonds in silver
(of clothes) to hang or fit (well or badly) when worn
Also set to music. to provide music for (a poem or other text to be sung)
(printing) Also set up. to arrange or produce (type, film, etc) from (text or copy); compose
to arrange (a stage, television studio, etc) with scenery and props
to describe or present (a scene or the background to a literary work, story, etc) in words: his novel is set in Russia
to present as a model of good or bad behaviour (esp in the phrases set an example, set a good example, set a bad example)
foll by on or by. to value (something) at a specified price or estimation of worth: he set a high price on his services
(foll by at) to price (the value of something) at a specified sum: he set his services at £300
(also intransitive) to give or be given a particular direction: his course was set to the East
(also intransitive) to rig (a sail) or (of a sail) to be rigged so as to catch the wind
(intransitive) (of the sun, moon, etc) to disappear beneath the horizon
to leave (dough, etc) in one place so that it may prove
to sharpen (a cutting blade) by grinding or honing the angle adjacent to the cutting edge
to displace alternate teeth of (a saw) to opposite sides of the blade in order to increase the cutting efficiency
to sink (the head of a nail) below the surface surrounding it by using a nail set
(computing) to give (a binary circuit) the value 1
(of plants) to produce (fruits, seeds, etc) after pollination or (of fruits or seeds) to develop after pollination
to plant (seeds, seedlings, etc)
to place (a hen) on (eggs) for the purpose of incubation
(intransitive) (of a gun dog) to turn in the direction of game, indicating its presence
(Scot & Irish) to let or lease: to set a house
(bridge) to defeat (one's opponents) in their attempt to make a contract
a dialect word for sit
set eyes on, to see
the act of setting or the state of being set
a condition of firmness or hardness
bearing, carriage, or posture: the set of a gun dog when pointing
the fit or hang of a garment, esp when worn
the scenery and other props used in and identifying the location of a stage or television production, film, etc
(printing) Also called set width
  1. the width of the body of a piece of type
  2. the width of the lines of type in a page or column
  1. the cut of the sails or the arrangement of the sails, spars, rigging, etc, of a vessel
  2. the direction from which a wind is blowing or towards which a tide or current is moving
(psychol) a temporary bias disposing an organism to react to a stimulus in one way rather than in others
a seedling, cutting, or similar part that is ready for planting: onion sets
a blacksmith's tool with a short head similar to a cold chisel set transversely onto a handle and used, when struck with a hammer, for cutting off lengths of iron bars
See nail set
the direction of flow of water
a mechanical distortion of shape or alignment, such as a bend in a piece of metal
the penetration of a driven pile for each blow of the drop hammer
a variant spelling of sett
fixed or established by authority or agreement: set hours of work
(usually postpositive) rigid or inflexible: she is set in her ways
unmoving; fixed: a set expression on his face
conventional, artificial, or stereotyped, rather than spontaneous: she made her apology in set phrases
(postpositive; foll by on or upon) resolute in intention: he is set upon marrying
(of a book, etc) prescribed for students' preparation for an examination
Word Origin
Old English settan, causative of sittan to sit; related to Old Frisian setta, Old High German sezzan


a number of objects or people grouped or belonging together, often forming a unit or having certain features or characteristics in common: a set of coins, John is in the top set for maths
a group of people who associate together, esp a clique: he's part of the jet set
(maths, logic)
  1. Also called class. a collection of numbers, objects, etc, that is treated as an entity: 3, the moon is the set the two members of which are the number 3 and the moon
  2. (in some formulations) a class that can itself be a member of other classes
any apparatus that receives or transmits television or radio signals
(tennis, squash, badminton) one of the units of a match, in tennis one in which one player or pair of players must win at least six games: Graf lost the first set
  1. the number of couples required for a formation dance
  2. a series of figures that make up a formation dance
  1. a band's or performer's concert repertoire on a given occasion: the set included no new numbers
  2. a continuous performance: the Who played two sets
verb sets, setting, set
(intransitive) (in square dancing and country dancing) to perform a sequence of steps while facing towards another dancer: set to your partners
(usually transitive) to divide into sets: in this school we set our older pupils for English
Word Origin
C14 (in the obsolete sense: a religious sect): from Old French sette, from Latin sectasect; later sense development influenced by the verb set1
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 Seth

masc. proper name, Biblical third son of Adam, literally "set, appointed," from Hebrew Sheth, from shith "to put, set." The Gnostic sect of Sethites (2c.) believed Christ was a reappearance of Seth, whom they venerated as the first spiritual man.



Old English settan (transitive) "cause to sit, put in some place, fix firmly; build, found; appoint, assign," from Proto-Germanic *(bi)satjan "to cause to sit, set" (cf. Old Norse setja, Swedish sätta, Old Saxon settian, Old Frisian setta, Dutch zetten, German setzen, Gothic satjan), causative form of PIE *sod-, variant of *sed- "to sit" (see sit (v.)). Also cf. set (n.2).

Intransitive sense from c.1200, "be seated." Used in many disparate senses by Middle English; sense of "make or cause to do, act, or be; start" and that of "mount a gemstone" attested by mid-13c. Confused with sit since early 14c. Of the sun, moon, etc., "to go down," recorded from c.1300, perhaps from similar use of the cognates in Scandinavian languages. To set (something) on "incite to attack" (c.1300) originally was in reference to hounds and game.



"fixed," c.1200, sett, past participle of setten "to set" (see set (v.)). Meaning "ready, prepared" first recorded 1844.



"collection of things," mid-15c., from Old French sette "sequence," variant of secte "religious community," from Medieval Latin secta "retinue," from Latin secta "a following" (see sect). "[I]n subsequent developments of meaning influenced by SET v.1 and apprehended as equivalent to 'number set together'" [OED]. The noun set was in Middle English, but only in the sense of "religious sect" (late 14c.), which likely is the direct source of some modern meanings, e.g. "group of persons with shared status, habits, etc." (1680s).

Meaning "complete collection of pieces" is from 1680s. Meaning "group of pieces musicians perform at a club during 45 minutes" (more or less) is from c.1925, though it is found in a similar sense in 1580s. Set piece is from 1846 as "grouping of people in a work of visual art;" from 1932 in reference to literary works.


Egyptian god, from Greek Seth, from Egyptian Setesh.



"act of setting; condition of being set" (of a heavenly body), mid-14c., from set (v.) or its identical past participle. Many disparate senses collect under this word because of the far-flung meanings assigned to the verb:

"Action of hardening," 1837; also "manner or position in which something is set" (1530s), hence "general movement, direction, tendency" (1560s); "build, form" (1610s), hence "bearing, carriage" (1855); "action of fixing the hair in a particular style" (1933).

"Something that has been set" (1510s), hence the use in tennis (1570s) and the theatrical meaning "scenery for an individual scene in a play, etc.," recorded from 1859. Other meanings OED groups under "miscellaneous technical senses" include "piece of electrical apparatus" (1891, first in telegraphy); "burrow of a badger" (1898). Old English had set "seat," in plural "camp; stable," but OED finds it "doubtful whether this survived beyond OE." Cf. set (n.1).

Set (n.1) and set (n.2) are not always distinguished in dictionaries; OED has them as two entries, Century Dictionary as one. The difference of opinion seems to be whether the set meaning "group, grouping" (here (n.2)) is a borrowing of the unrelated French word that sounds like the native English one, or a borrowing of the sense only, which was absorbed into the English word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Seth in Medicine

set (sět)
v. set, set·ting, sets

  1. To put in a specified position; place.

  2. To put into a specified state.

  3. To put into a stable position.

  4. To fix firmly or in an immobile manner.

  5. To become fixed or hardened; coagulate.

  6. To bring the bones of a fracture back into a normal position or alignment.

  1. The act or process of setting.

  2. The condition resulting from setting.

  3. A permanent firming or hardening of a substance.

  4. The carriage or bearing of a part of the body.

  5. A particular psychological state, usually of anticipation or preparedness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Seth in Science
A collection of distinct elements that have something in common. In mathematics, sets are commonly represented by enclosing the members of a set in curly braces, as {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}, the set of all positive integers from 1 to 5.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for Seth



Ready; prepared: We were all set to go (1844+)


  1. The group of pieces musicians perform during about a 45-minute period at a club, show, etc: Clarinetist Scott opened his set (1590+)
  2. An improvisatory musical interchange of about half an hour (1960s+ Jazz musicians)
  3. A small party or friendly conversational gathering; scene: Don't stop belly rubbing just because we showed on the set (1960s+ Black & jazz talk)
  4. A discussion; rap: He never said get those Panthers out all through the whole set (1960s+ Black)
  5. A narcotic dose of two Seconals2 and one amphetamine (1960s+ Narcotics)
  6. A gang or subgang: Mr Shakur was initiated into the Eight Trays, a ''set'' of the Crip gang based in his neighborhood (1990s+ Street gang)

Related Terms

the bubblegum set, the jet set

[first noun sense in modern use since about 1925]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with Seth
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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