- a check to progress; a reverse or defeat: The new law was a setback.
- Architecture. a recession of the upper part of a building from the building line, as to lighten the structure or to permit a desired amount of light and air to reach ground level at the foot of the building.
- an act or instance of setting back: A nightly setback of your home thermostats can save a great deal of fuel.
- Also set-back. a downward temperature adjustment of a thermostat, especially performed automatically, as by a timer.
Origin of setback
First recorded in 1665–75; noun use of verb phrase set back
- Surveying. the interval by which a chain or tape exceeds the length being measured.
- setback(def 4).
Origin of set-back
special use of setback
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for setback
This is hardly the “setback for gay marriage” that some enthusiastic headline-writers have proclaimed.Gay Marriage Chaos Begins
November 11, 2014
It meant more to our father to see us deal with a setback and try to bounce back than to watch how we handled our successes.‘Calamity Jill’ Rises Again: Fired New York Times Editor Returns to the Public Stage
May 19, 2014
Seneca encouraged followers to possess the strength of immunity to setback, but never withheld his human touch.New Year’s Reading List: Books to Transform Your Sad Life
January 1, 2014
The deal it not only a setback for Putin—it also signals a comeback for the EU as well.E.U. Fight Club: Russia Dukes It Out With Ex-Soviet Satellites Over E.U. Membership
October 25, 2013
It's the anniversary of the "naksa" or the "setback" for Palestinians.Why Bibi Won't Really 'Give Peace A Chance'
June 5, 2013
But, as the footbridge was approached, his purpose received a setback.The Law-Breakers
Some Manchurian walnuts also got a setback with spring frosts, and some did not.
It was not till about four o'clock that they met with their first setback.The Outdoor Girls at Bluff Point
Laura Lee Hope
A 365 setback like this had only a stimulating effect on his spirit.The Watchers of the Plains
This is a setback from which only the most experienced advocate can readily recover.The Art of Cross-Examination
Francis L. Wellman
Word Origin and History for setback
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper