[verb, adjective pree-set; noun pree-set]
verb (used with object), pre·set, pre·set·ting.
  1. to set beforehand.
  2. to set (an electric or electronic appliance) to become activated at a designated time: We preset the coffeemaker to go on at 6 a.m.
  3. to adjust (a connector, switch, or the like) so that when activated it will perform a designated function: The tuning buttons on the radio are preset to my favorite FM stations.
  1. set in advance: a preset radio adjusted to receive certain stations.
  2. (of the guidance system of a missile or the course of flight it determines) set before launching to reach a specific destination without any alteration in response to signals from the ground.
  1. a knob or button that activates a preset appliance: Just push the preset and coffee will be ready when you get up.
  2. a similar device on a radio that can be activated to tune in a preselected station.

Origin of preset

First recorded in 1930–35; pre- + set
Related formspre·set·ta·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for preset

Contemporary Examples of preset

Historical Examples of preset

  • His eye swept his panel, to see if anything had been preset.

    Next Door, Next World

    Robert Donald Locke

  • I preset two forward radiators for forty kilometers at low condensation, with a three kilometer radius at surface.


    Everett B. Cole

  • Were an apology necessary for the preset work, such statements as these would be amply sufficient.

  • The gyros on each projectile had been preset for a circular flight of fifteen minutes' duration.

    Sabotage in Space

    Carey Rockwell

British Dictionary definitions for preset


verb -sets, -setting or -set (tr)
  1. to set (a timing device) so that something begins to operate at the time specified
  1. electronics a control, such as a variable resistor, that is not as accessible as the main controls and is used to set initial conditions
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

Word Origin and History for preset

also pre-set, 1934 (adj.); 1946 (v.); from pre- + set (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper