1. the act of a person or thing that sets.
  2. the surroundings or environment of anything: The garden was a perfect setting for the house.
  3. the mounting in which a jewel is set.
  4. a group of all the articles, as of china, silver, or glass, required for setting a table or a single place at a table.
  5. the locale or period in which the action of a novel, play, film, etc., takes place: The setting of this story is Verona in the 15th century.
  6. Also called stage setting, stage set. the scenery and other properties used in a dramatic performance.
  7. Music.
    1. a piece of music composed for certain words.
    2. a piece of music composed for a particular medium, or arranged for other than the original medium.

Origin of setting

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at set, -ing1
Related formsnon·set·ting, adjectiveun·set·ting, adjective

Synonyms for setting

2. See environment. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unsetting

Historical Examples of unsetting

  • Sometimes it has burned so brightly, it has been my morning and evening star, my rising, but unsetting sun.

    Ernest Linwood

    Caroline Lee Hentz

British Dictionary definitions for unsetting


  1. the surroundings in which something is set; scene
  2. the scenery, properties, or background, used to create the location for a stage play, film, etc
  3. music a composition consisting of a certain text and music provided or arranged for it
  4. the metal mounting and surround of a gemdiamonds in an antique gold setting
  5. the tableware, cutlery, etc, for a single place at table
  6. any of a series of points on a scale or dial that can be selected to control the level as of temperature, speed, etc, at which a machine functions
  7. a clutch of eggs in a bird's nest, esp a clutch of hen's eggs
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 unsetting



late 14c., "fact or action of setting (something), putting, placing, planting," verbal noun from set (v.).

Meaning "place, location, site" is late 14c. Surgical sense, with reference to broken bones, etc., is from early 15c. In reference to heavenly bodies, from c.1400. Also in Middle English "act of creation; thing created" (c.1400). In reference to mounts for jewels, etc. from 1815; meaning "background, history, environment" is attested from 1841.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper