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search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Origin of SETI
First recorded in 1975-80


a combining form meaning “bristle”; used in the formation of compound words:
< Latin sēti-, saeti-; see seta, -i- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for SETI
Historical Examples
  • Was not the temple of SETI more indebted to him than to any one?

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • Every teacher in these institutions belonged to the priesthood of the House of SETI.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • The temple of SETI proper was a massive structure of limestone.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • "They said so in the temple of SETI, whence I have just come," replied Paaker.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • "So sure as the king Rameses is the son of SETI," he answered.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • Did I threaten to beg my father to take me from the school of SETI or not?

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • I must and will punish you—and I do so by requesting you to leave the House of SETI this very day.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • In the halls and work-rooms of the House of SETI there was unusual stir.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • I shall leave the House of SETI, and ask the kolchytes to take me into their guild.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • "Bring him to the steps of the temple of Amon," said SETI to the Nubians who held him fast.

    Moon of Israel H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for SETI


noun acronym
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence; the attempt to detect signals, esp radiowaves or light, from an intelligent extraterrestrial source
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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SETI in Culture
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) [(set-ee)]

A program devoted to the search for signals from other parts of the galaxy that would indicate the presence of advanced technological civilizations. Over the years, it has sometimes been funded by NASA, sometimes by private organizations.

Note: SETI involves scanning radio waves for signals, but it has found none to date.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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