set-back

[ set-bak ]
/ ˈsɛtˌbæk /

noun

Surveying. the interval by which a chain or tape exceeds the length being measured.

Nearby words

  1. set up housekeeping,
  2. set up shop,
  3. set upon,
  4. set width,
  5. set-aside,
  6. set-in,
  7. set-in sleeve,
  8. set-jetting,
  9. set-off,
  10. set-to

Origin of set-back

special use of setback

Origin of set

before 900; (v.) Middle English setten, Old English settan; cognate with Old Norse setja, German setzen, Gothic satjan, all < Germanic *satjan, causative of *setjan to sit1; (noun) (in senses denoting the action of setting or the state of being set) Middle English set, set(t)e, derivative of the v. and its past participle; (in senses denoting a group) Middle English sette < Old French < Latin secta sect (in later use influenced by the v. and Middle Low German gesette set, suite)

Related formsin·ter·set, verb (used with object), in·ter·set, in·ter·set·ting.mis·set, verb, mis·set, mis·set·ting.self-set, adjective

Can be confusedset sit (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonym study

1. See put. 70. See circle.

Usage note

The verbs set and sit1 are similar in form and meaning but different in grammatical use. Set is chiefly transitive and takes an object: Set the dish on the shelf. Its past tense and past participle are also set : Yesterday he set three posts for the fence. The judge has set the date for the trial. Set also has some standard intransitive uses, as “to pass below the horizon” ( The sun sets late in the northern latitudes during the summer ) and “to become firm, solid, etc.” ( This glue sets quickly ). The use of set for sit, “to be seated,” is nonstandard: Pull up a chair and set by me.
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 ).

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for set back

set back

verb (tr, adverb)

to hinder; impede
informal to cost (a person) a specified amount

noun setback

anything that serves to hinder or impede
a recession in the upper part of a high building, esp one that increases the daylight at lower levels
Also called: offset, setoff a steplike shelf where a wall is reduced in thickness

set

1
/ (sɛt) /

verb sets, setting or set (mainly tr)

noun

adjective


Word Origin for set

Old English settan, causative of sittan to sit; related to Old Frisian setta, Old High German sezzan

set

2
/ (sɛt) /

noun

verb sets, setting or set

(intr) (in square dancing and country dancing) to perform a sequence of steps while facing towards another dancerset to your partners
(usually tr) to divide into setsin this school we set our older pupils for English

Word Origin for set

C14 (in the obsolete sense: a religious sect): from Old French sette, from Latin secta sect; later sense development influenced by the verb set 1

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 set back
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for set back

set

[ sĕt ]

v.

n.


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for set back

set

[ sĕt ]

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with set back

set back

1

Slow down the progress of, hinder, as in The project was set back by the frequent absences of staff members. [First half of 1500s]

2

Cost, as in That car set me back twenty thousand dollars. [Colloquial; c. 1900]

3

Change to a lower level or earlier time, as in We set back the thermostat whenever we go on vacation, or On October 10 we have to set back the clocks. [First half of 1600s] Set back the clock is also used figuratively to mean “return to an earlier era,” as in He wished he could set back the clock to those carefree high-school days. Also see set forward.

set

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

also see:

  • 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.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.