[ set-uh-sahyd ]

  1. something, as land or profits, set aside for a particular purpose.

  2. a tract of federal lands set aside as a wildlife refuge, oil exploration site, etc.

  1. a tract of farmland on which commercial crops or a specific crop will not be grown, as part of a federal plan to decrease production in order to maintain or increase prices.

  2. a specified amount or percentage of an industry's production set aside, especially for government use: Ten percent of gasoline production is a set-aside for emergency use by the state.

  3. a government contract awarded, as to a minority-owned business, without competitive bidding.

  1. pertaining to or constituting a set-aside: set-aside provisions of the new law.

Origin of set-aside

First recorded in 1940–45; noun, adj. use of verb phrase set aside Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for set aside

set aside

verb(tr, adverb)
  1. to reserve for a special purpose; put to one side

  2. to discard, dismiss, or quash

    • (in the European Union) a scheme in which a proportion of farmland is taken out of production in order to reduce surpluses or maintain or increase prices of a specific crop

    • (as modifier): set-aside land

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 set-aside


Separate and reserve for a special purpose, as in We have to set aside some chairs for latecomers. [Early 1700s] Also see set by.

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