Origin of setup

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

Usage note

See login.




  1. station(def 14a).
  2. a surveying instrument precisely positioned for observations from a station.
  3. a gap between the end of a chain or tape being used for a measurement and the point toward which it is laid. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for setup

Contemporary Examples of setup

Historical Examples of setup

  • The setup was inspected twice daily by the commander or his executive.

    The Armed Forces Officer

    U. S. Department of Defense

  • A hasty, last-moment inspection was carried out, every man checking certain details of the setup.

  • No matter how foolproof you think your setup is, if you start smuggling you're bound to get caught.

    Smugglers' Reef

    John Blaine

  • Instead of pulling a ship to ground, in the setup he'd made, the new fields pulled the ground toward the ship.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • Their setup for killing, imprisonment, bribery and blackmail functions too well.

    Circle of Flight

    Richard Stockham

Word Origin and History for setup



"arrangement," 1890, from verbal phrase set up, attested from c.1200 as "to make ready for use" and from 1950 (in pugilism) as "to bring (someone) to a vulnerable position;" from set (v.) + up (adv.). The verbal phrase also can mean "to establish" (early 15c.) and "put drinks before customers" (1880).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper