set-to

[ set-too ]
/ ˈsɛtˌtu /

noun, plural set-tos.

a usually brief, sharp fight or argument.

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Origin of set-to

First recorded in 1735–45; noun use of verb phrase set to

Definition for set to (2 of 2)

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)

synonym study for set

1. See put. 70. See circle.

usage note for set

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 ).

OTHER WORDS FROM set

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

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH set

set sit (see usage note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for set to (1 of 3)

set to

verb (intr, adverb)

to begin working
to start fighting

noun set-to

informal a brief disagreement or fight

British Dictionary definitions for set to (2 of 3)

set1
/ (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

British Dictionary definitions for set to (3 of 3)

set2
/ (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

Medical definitions for set to

set
[ sĕt ]

v.

n.

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

Scientific definitions for set to

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 to (1 of 2)

set to

1

Apply oneself, begin, work energetically, as in We set to revamping our policy on child care, or She set to studying for the bar exam. [Early 1400s]

2

Begin fighting, as in Both of them were furious, and they set to immediately. [First half of 1700s]

Idioms and Phrases with set to (2 of 2)

set

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