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1640s, from set (n.2) + -ness. Old English had setnes, which was pressed into service to translate various ideas in Roman law and Christianity: "foundation, creation, construction; size, extent; law, ordinance; instruction; sentence."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for setness

Historical Examples

  • They do so regard us, though; and, with true British setness, I suppose they always will.

    Europe Revised

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • Before their engagement, some one had casually mentioned Dana's having inherited "setness" for his patrimony.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • For she was but twenty-three; with the logic of a woman of fifty, without its setness and lack of elasticity.

  • But if the eyes were sad, the heavy jaw had a rigidness and setness which gave no indication of weakness or yielding.

  • There was always some story or other going round about old Henry's setness.