[ set-uhp ]
/ ˈsɛtˌʌp /
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See synonyms for: setup / set-ups on Thesaurus.com



Is It "Setup" Or "Set Up"?

Is the term setup one word or two? Does anyone know? Help!

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Origin of setup

First recorded in 1600–10; noun use of verb phrase set up

usage note for setup

See login.

Other definitions for setup (2 of 2)

[ set-uhp ]
/ ˈsɛtˌʌp /

  1. station (def. 14a).
  2. a surveying instrument precisely positioned for observations from astation.
  3. a gap between the end of a chain or tape being used for a measurement and the point toward which it is laid.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition of setup?

A setup is an arrangement of something. A setup is also an act or instance of getting things ready. A situation designed to trick or trap someone is also called a setup. The word setup has several other senses as a noun.

When you say that you like someone’s setup, you like the way they have arranged or organized things, such as how you organized your bedroom. When a person is talking about a setup, they usually refer to furniture or equipment, such as that new gaming computer, headset, and controller you’ve been dreaming about. This sense of setup is most often used informally.

  • Used in a sentence: I bought a new desk chair to improve my home office setup.

An act of organizing things up or getting a place ready is also called a setup.

  • Real-life examples: Plays and theatre performances involve a lengthy setup by the crew to get everything ready. A new computer often has to perform an initial setup during which it installs the operating software and other programs before you can use it.
  • Used in a sentence: I helped with the setup of the circus tent this morning.

Setup can also mean a trap or a situation designed to ensnare or fool someone.

  • Real-life examples: Police often create setups designed to catch criminals committing crimes or trick them into confessing into hidden microphones. Pranksters and comedy shows often film people who are fooled by silly setups.
  • Used in a sentence: I figured out that the meeting was a setup and managed to get out of there before the cops showed up.

Where does setup come from?

The first records of setup come from around 1600. It is a noun formed from the verb phrase to set up.

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What are some other forms related to setup?

  • setups (plural noun)

What are some synonyms for setup?

What are some words that share a root or word element with setup

What are some words that often get used in discussing setup?

How is setup used in real life?

Setup is a common word most often used to mean an arrangement.

Try using setup!

Is setup used correctly in the following sentence?

We spent hours moving furniture around until we finally made a bedroom setup that we both liked.

How to use setup in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for setup

set up

verb (adverb, mainly tr)
noun setup
adjective set-up
physically well-built
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with setup

set up


Place in an upright position, as in I keep setting up this lamp but it won't stay up. [c. 1200]


Elevate, raise; also, put in a position of authority or power, as in They set him up as their leader. [Late 1300s]


Put oneself forward, claim to be, as in He set himself up as an authority on the banking system. [Mid-1800s]


Assemble, erect, make ready for use, as in They set up the sound system last night. [c. 1200]


Establish, found, as in They set up a new charity for the homeless. [Early 1400s]


Establish in business by providing capital or other backing, as in His father set her up in a new dental practice. [First half of 1500s]


Treat someone to drinks, pay for drinks, as in Please let us set you up tonight. [Colloquial; late 1800s]


Stimulate or exhilarate, as in That victory really set up our team. [c. 1600]


Lay plans for, as in I think they set up the kidnapping months ago. [First half of 1900s]


Prepare someone for a deception or trickery or joke, as in They set up their victim for the usual real estate scam, or Her friends set her up so that she was the only person in costume. [Mid-1900s]


Cause, bring about, as in The new taxes set up howls of protest. [Mid-1800s]

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