verb (used with object), set, set·ting.
- to fit, as words to music.
- to arrange for musical performance.
- to arrange (music) for certain voices or instruments.
- to arrange the scenery, properties, lights, etc., on (a stage) for an act or scene.
- to prepare (a scene) for dramatic performance.
- to arrange (type) in the order required for printing.
- to put together types corresponding to (copy); compose in type: to set an article.
verb (used without object), set, set·ting.
- the bending out of the points of alternate teeth of a saw in opposite directions.
- a permanent deformation or displacement of an object or part.
- a tool for giving a certain form to something, as a saw tooth.
- the number of couples required to execute a quadrille or the like.
- a series of movements or figures that make up a quadrille or the like.
- a group of pieces played by a band, as in a night club, and followed by an intermission.
- the period during which these pieces are played.
- the direction of a wind, current, etc.
- the form or arrangement of the sails, spars, etc., of a vessel.
- suit(def 12).
- to begin on; start.
- to undertake; attempt.
- to assault; attack.
- to cause to be hostile or antagonistic.
- to compare or contrast: The advantages must be set against the disadvantages.
- to reserve for a particular purpose.
- to cause to be noticed; distinguish: Her bright red hair sets her apart from her sisters.
- to put to one side; reserve: The clerk set aside the silver brooch for me.
- to dismiss from the mind; reject.
- to prevail over; discard; annul: to set aside a verdict.
- to hinder; impede.
- to turn the hands of (a watch or clock) to show an earlier time: When your plane gets to California, set your watch back two hours.
- to reduce to a lower setting: Set back the thermostat before you go to bed.
- to write or to copy or record in writing or printing.
- to consider; estimate: to set someone down as a fool.
- to attribute; ascribe: to set a failure down to bad planning.
- to put in a position of rest on a level surface.
- to humble or humiliate.
- to land an airplane: We set down in a heavy fog.
- (in horse racing) to suspend (a jockey) from competition because of some offense or infraction of the rules.
- to give an account of; state; describe: He set forth his theory in a scholarly report.
- to begin a journey; start: Columbus set forth with three small ships.
- to begin to prevail; arrive: Darkness set in.
- (of winds or currents) to blow or flow toward the shore.
- to cause to become ignited or to explode.
- to begin; start.
- to intensify or improve by contrast.
- to begin a journey or trip; depart.
- Also set upon.to attack or cause to attack: to set one's dog on a stranger.
- to instigate; incite: to set a crew to mutiny.
- to begin a journey or course: to set out for home.
- to undertake; attempt: He set out to prove his point.
- to design; plan: to set out a pattern.
- to define; describe: to set out one's arguments.
- to plant: to set out petunias and pansies.
- to lay out (the plan of a building) in actual size at the site.
- to lay out (a building member or the like) in actual size.
- to make a vigorous effort; apply oneself to work; begin.
- to begin to fight; contend.
- to put upright; raise.
- to put into a high or powerful position.
- to construct; assemble; erect.
- to be assembled or made ready for use: exercise equipment that sets up in a jiffy.
- to inaugurate; establish.
- to enable to begin in business; provide with means.
- Informal.to make a gift of; treat, as to drinks.
- Informal.to stimulate; elate.
- to propound; plan; advance.
- to bring about; cause.
- to become firm or hard, as a glue or cement: a paint that sets up within five minutes.
- to lead or lure into a dangerous, detrimental, or embarrassing situation, as by deceitful prearrangement or connivance.
- to entrap or frame, as an innocent person in a crime or a criminal suspect in a culpable circumstance in order to achieve an arrest.
- to arrange the murder or execution of: His partner set him up with the mob.
- Bridge.to establish (a suit): to set up spades.
Origin of set
Synonyms for set
Sit is chiefly intransitive and does not take an object: Let's sit here in the shade. Its past tense and past participle are sat : They sat at the table for nearly two hours. Have they sat down yet? Transitive uses of sit include “to cause to sit” ( Pull up a chair and sit yourself down ) and “to provide seating for” ( The waiter sat us near the window ).
verb (intr, preposition)
verb sets, setting or set (mainly tr)
- the width of the body of a piece of type
- the width of the lines of type in a page or column
- the cut of the sails or the arrangement of the sails, spars, rigging, etc, of a vessel
- the direction from which a wind is blowing or towards which a tide or current is moving
Word Origin for set
- Also called: classa 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
- (in some formulations) a class that can itself be a member of other classes
- the number of couples required for a formation dance
- a series of figures that make up a formation dance
- a band's or performer's concert repertoire on a given occasionthe set included no new numbers
- a continuous performancethe Who played two sets
verb sets, setting or set
Word Origin for set
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.
Begin, start, as in How do we set about solving this puzzle? [c. 1600]
In addition to the idioms beginning with set
- set about
- set against
- set an example
- set apart
- set a precedent
- set aside
- set at
- set at rest
- set back
- set back on one's heels
- set back the clock
- set by
- set down
- set eyes on
- set fire to
- set foot
- set forth
- set forward
- set in
- set in motion
- set in one's ways, be
- set off
- set on
- set on a pedestal
- set one back
- set one back on one's feet
- set one's back up
- set one's cap for
- set one's face against
- set one's heart on
- set one's mind at rest
- set one's mind on
- set one's seal on
- set one's sights on
- set one's teeth on edge
- set on fire
- set out
- set right
- set sail
- set store by
- set straight
- set the pace
- set the record straight
- set the scene for
- set the table
- set the wheels in motion
- set the world on fire
- set to
- set tongues wagging
- set to rights
- set up
- set up housekeeping
- set upon
- set up shop
- all set
- dead set against
- get set
- get (set) someone's back up
- get (set) the ball rolling
- lay (set) eyes on
- on a pedestal, set
- smart set
- tongues wagging, set
Also see underput.