• synonyms


  1. a person or thing that sets.
  2. one of any of several breeds of hunting dogs that originally had the habit of crouching when game was scented but that are now trained to stand stiffly and point the muzzle toward the scented game.Compare English setter, Gordon setter, Irish setter.
  3. Volleyball. a player who lofts the ball high for a teammate near the net to spike.
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Origin of setter

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at set, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for setter

Historical Examples

  • Dogs are capering about, a collie, a setter, a Boston terrier.

    The Conquest of Fear

    Basil King

  • Dick and the setter managed the Indian trail for about twenty rods.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • But he's as straight as a string, and he'll mind like a setter dog.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods.

  • Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail.

British Dictionary definitions for setter


  1. any of various breeds of large gun dog, having silky coats and plumed tailsSee English setter, Gordon setter, Irish setter
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Word Origin

C16: so called because they can be used to indicate where game is: see 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

Word Origin and History for setter


"one who sets (something)," c.1400, agent noun from set (v.). As a type of hunting-dog (originally a type of spaniel), 1570s, so called because the dog is "set" on game.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper