set

1 of 3

verb

set; setting; sets

transitive verb

1
: to cause to sit : place in or on a seat
2
a
: to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them
b
: to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator
3
: to place (oneself) in position to start running in a race
4
a
: to place with care or deliberate purpose and with relative stability
set a ladder against the wall
set a stone on the grave
b
: transplant sense 1
set seedlings
c(1)
: to make (a trap) ready to catch prey
(2)
: to fix (a hook) firmly into the jaw of a fish
d
: to put aside (something, such as dough containing yeast) for fermenting
5
: to direct with fixed attention
set your mind to it
6
a
: to cause to assume a specified condition, relation, or occupation
The bird was treated and then set free.
They accidentally set the house on fire.
b
: to cause the start of
set a fire
7
a
: to appoint or assign to an office or duty
b
8
: to cause to assume a specified posture or position
set the door ajar
9
a
: to fix as a distinguishing imprint, sign, or appearance
the years have set their mark on him
b
: affix
c
: apply
set a match to kindling
10
: to fix or decide on as a time, limit, or regulation : prescribe
set a wedding day
set the rules for the game
11
a
: to establish as the highest level or best performance
set a record for the half mile
b
: to furnish as a pattern or model
set an example of generosity
c
: to allot as a task
setting lessons for the children to work upon at home …Manchester Examiner
12
a
: to adjust (a device and especially a measuring device) to a desired position
set the alarm for 7:00
set a thermostat at 68
also : to adjust (something, such as a clock) in conformity with a standard
b
: to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured
set a broken bone
c
: to spread to the wind
set the sails
13
a
: to put in order for use
set a place for a guest
b
: to make scenically ready for a performance
set the stage
c(1)
: to arrange (type) for printing
set type by hand
(2)
: to put into type or its equivalent (as on film)
set the first word in italic
14
a
: to put a fine edge on by grinding or honing
set a razor
b
: to bend slightly the tooth points of (a saw) alternately in opposite directions
c
: to sink (the head of a nail) below the surface
15
: to fix in a desired position (as by heating or stretching)
16
: to arrange (hair) in a desired style by using implements (such as curlers, rollers, or clips) and gels or lotions
17
a
: to adorn with something affixed or infixed : stud, dot
clear sky set with stars
b
: to fix (something, such as a precious stone) in a border of metal : place in a setting
c
: to place in a specified literary or dramatic setting
a story set in Paris
18
a
: to hold something in regard or esteem at the rate of
sets a great deal by daily exercise
b
: to place in a relative rank or category
set duty before pleasure
c
: to fix at a certain amount
set bail at $500
d
: value, rate
their promises were set at naught
e
: to place as an estimate of worth
set a high value on life
19
: to place in relation for comparison or balance
theory set against practice
20
a
: to direct to action
b
: to incite to attack or antagonism
war sets brother against brother
21
a
: to place by transporting
was set ashore on the island
b
: to put in motion
c
: to put and fix in a direction
set our faces toward home once more
d
of a dog : to point out the position of (game) by holding a fixed attitude
22
: to defeat (an opponent or a contract) in bridge
23
a
: to fix firmly : make immobile : give rigid form or condition to
set her jaw in determination
b
: to make unyielding or obstinate
24
: to cause to become firm or solid
set milk for cheese
25
: to cause (fruit or seed) to develop

intransitive verb

1
chiefly dialectal : sit
2
: to be becoming : be suitable : fit
the coat sets well
3
: to cover and warm eggs to hatch them
4
a
: to affect one with or as if with weight
the pudding sets heavily on my stomach
b
: to place oneself in position in preparation for an action (such as running)
5
of a plant part : to undergo development usually as a result of pollination
6
a
: to pass below the horizon : go down
the sun sets
b
: to come to an end
… this century sets with little mirth …Thomas Fuller
7
: to apply oneself to some activity
set to work
8
: to have a specified direction in motion : flow, tend
The wind was setting from Pine Hill to the farm.Esther Forbes
9
of a dog : to indicate the position of game by crouching or pointing
10
: to dance face to face with another in a square dance
set to your partner and turn
11
a
: to become solid or thickened by chemical or physical alteration
the cement sets rapidly
b
of a dye or color : to become permanent
c
of a bone : to become whole by growing together

set

2 of 3

noun

1
a
: the act or action of setting
b
: the condition of being set
2
: a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together
an electric train set
3
a
: mental inclination, tendency, or habit : bent
a set toward mathematics
b
: a state of psychological preparedness to perceive or respond to an anticipated stimulus or situation
4
: direction of flow
the set of the wind
5
: form or carriage of the body or of its parts
her face took on a cynical setRaymond Kennedy
6
: the manner of fitting or of being placed or suspended
in order to give the skirt a pretty setMary J. Howell
7
: amount of deflection from a straight line
set of a saw's teeth
8
: permanent change of form (as of metal) due to repeated or excessive stress
9
: the act or result of arranging hair by curling or waving
10
or less commonly sett
a
: a young plant or rooted cutting ready for transplanting
b
: a small bulb, corm, or tuber or a piece of tuber used for propagation
onion sets
c
: the blossoms of a plant that have set fruit as a result of fertilization
11
or sett : the burrow of a badger
12
: the width of the body of a piece of type
13
: an artificial setting for a scene of a theatrical or film production
14
or less commonly sett : a rectangular paving stone of sandstone or granite
15
: a division of a tennis match won by the side that wins at least six games beating the opponent by two games or by winning a tiebreaker
16
: a collection of books or periodicals forming a unit
17
: a clutch of eggs
18
: the basic formation in a country-dance or square dance
19
: a session of music (such as jazz or dance music) usually followed by an intermission
also : the music played at one session
20
: a group of persons associated by common interests
21
: a collection of elements and especially mathematical ones (such as numbers or points)

called also class

22
: an apparatus of electronic components assembled so as to function as a unit
a television set
23
: a usually offensive formation in football or basketball
24
: a group of a specific number of repetitions of a particular exercise

set

3 of 3

adjective

1
: intent, determined
set upon going
2
: intentional, premeditated
did it of set purpose
3
: fixed by authority, appointment, or agreement
The wedding is set [=scheduled] for early June
Students can drop in during set [=designated] office hours
4
: reluctant to change
set in their ways
5
a
: immovable, rigid
set frown
b
: built-in
a set tub
6
: settled, persistent
set defiance
7
a
: ready for action, use, etc. : prepared
We were set for an early morning start
The table is set. Should I bring out the food?
often used in the phrase all set
Are we all set [=completely ready] to leave?
We replaced the belt, so your car should be all set. [=fully functional and ready for use]
She's all set to blast him, all set to wipe that anxious smile off his face, to tell him some hard home truths. And then she stops. She can't do it.Norma Fox Mazer
b
: needing or wanting nothing further
"Would you like more coffee?" "No thanks, I'm set."
The leak is fixed, so you should be set now.
After winning the lottery, they were set for life
often used in the phrase all set
"Would you like more coffee?" "No thanks, I'm all set."
Can I help you find something, or are you all set?
Is the bill all set, or do you need some change?
Phrases
set about
: to begin to do
set apart
1
: to reserve to a particular use
2
: to make noticeable or outstanding
set aside
1
: to put to one side : discard
2
: to reserve for a purpose : save
3
4
set at
: to mount an attack on : assail
I would go although … devils should set at me …Charlotte Yonge
set eyes on
: to catch sight of
set foot in
: enter
set foot on
: to step onto
set forth
1
: to give an account or statement of
2
: to start out on a journey
set forward
1
2
: to start out on a journey
set in motion
: to give impulse to
sets the story in motion vividly …Howard Thompson
set one's hand to
: to become engaged in
set one's heart on
: resolve sense transitive 5
she set her heart on going to medical school
set one's house in order
: to organize one's affairs
set one's sights on
: to determine to pursue
set one's teeth on edge set one straight
: to correct someone by providing accurate information
set sail
: to start out on a course
especially : to begin a voyage
set sail for Bermuda
set store by or set store on
: to consider valuable, trustworthy, or worthwhile
set the stage
: to provide the basis or background
this trend will set the stage for higher earnings
set to music
: to provide music or instrumental accompaniment for (a text)
set upon
: to attack usually with violence
the dogs set upon the trespassers

Examples of set in a Sentence

Verb We need to set some extra chairs around the table. He set the ladder against the wall and walked away. I remember setting my bag right here. They set the bricks along the walkway. The jeweler can set the stone several different ways. He turned off the car and set the parking brake. Rangers will set a trap to catch the bear. We set an extra place at the table for our guest. Noun I need to buy a new set of golf clubs. The kids are allowed to watch two hours of television. After that, I turn off the set. We met on the set of Hamlet. Adjective Her college is set in the countryside. Their house is set back from the road. a man with deep-set eyes She has very set ideas about how children should behave. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
After Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer gave the Sun Devils the lead on a spectacular touchdown run, a pair of controversial pass interference penalties set the Buckeyes up real close to the goal line with a minute to go. Jon Hoefling, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Now that the strike is over, Williams believes union members are ready to set aside any lingering misgivings about the streaming giant and move forward. Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Davey’s announcement sets him up for a primary matchup against Miami-Dade School Board member Lucia Baez-Geller, who jumped into the race in November. Max Greenwood, Miami Herald, 22 Feb. 2024 Last year set records for dealmaking for the vast videogame sector, topping $81.1 billion in mergers & acquisitions, IPOs and investments, Digital Development Management’s year-end Games Review shows. David Bloom, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 Last year, set lighting technician Anna Orzechowicz (For All Mankind) worked only a handful of days on union sets and started collecting unemployment benefits and food stamps to make ends meet. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 Create a stage presence that sets you apart from the rest. Kice Akkawi, Rolling Stone, 22 Feb. 2024 The group’s world tour, produced by Live Nation in North America, will hit 26 cities across the U.S. and Canada, starting August 14, and launches June 30 in London with a headline set at BST Hyde Park. Jem Aswad, Variety, 22 Feb. 2024 Overspending on lingerie is a thing of the past with this lacy set from Amazon. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024
Noun
Each option presents its own set of advantages and challenges, so the best choice depends on your business's specific needs and circumstances. William Mullane, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 The prosecution has argued that Gutierrez Reed was smoking marijuana while in possession of ammunition that was to be used on set. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 23 Feb. 2024 Note: Most subscribers have some, but not all, of the puzzles that correspond to the following set of solutions for their local newspaper. USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 His presence brought an irreplaceable joy and laughter to the set, and his absence is deeply felt by all of us. Rory Appleton, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Feb. 2024 The set is available in sizes S through 7XL and more than 15 colors. Laura Lu, Parents, 23 Feb. 2024 On Wednesday, the dad of two, 55, shared a sweet photo on his Instagram capturing the moment his 5-year-old son Ben joined him on set. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 23 Feb. 2024 Instead, the set features just 21 tracks, but each one is available in many different forms. Hugh McIntyre, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 All About Isabella Justice Hartley Isabella was born to Justin and Korman-Hartley after the former couple met on the set of the soap opera Passions in 2003. Alex Ross, Peoplemag, 11 Feb. 2024
Adjective
The garden also has a Japanese teahouse that was built in Japan and now offers traditional Japanese tea ceremonies on set Saturdays from May to October. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 23 Feb. 2024 Women might lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by twice the amount as men with exercise While there’s no set age recommendation for treadmill usage, Noffsinger said children age 12 and older should be able to safely use a treadmill without adult supervision. Melanie Radzicki McManus, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 In the long term, however, Europe’s companies, economy, and people will be the ones paying a high price for the policies of cynicism that have no set agendas or tangible projects for the future. Camille Fumard, Fortune Europe, 22 Feb. 2024 The performances are haunting, the set decoration pristine, and the tension rapidly rising. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 22 Feb. 2024 For the first 30 minutes of TOOL’s set security officials were rapidly firing their flashlights at several surrounding sections like spotlights searching for a runaway inmate. Quentin Singer, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 The new process also removed a notoriously difficult admissions test and $100 application fee and reserved a set number of seats for students from each of Fairfax County’s middle schools. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 There is no set time table for each episode/interview/conversation. Jim Varsallone, Miami Herald, 17 Feb. 2024 Wrapped in vegan satin that provides a friction-free grip, Kitsch’s set miniature rods won’t tug on thick or textured hair. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 11 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'set.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English setten, from Old English settan; akin to Old High German sezzen to set, Old English sittan to sit

Adjective

Middle English sett, from Old English gesett, past participle of settan

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of set was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near set

Cite this Entry

“Set.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/set. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

set

1 of 3 verb
set; setting
1
: to cause to sit
2
: to give (a fowl) eggs to hatch or provide (eggs) with suitable conditions for hatching
3
a
: to put or fix in a place, condition, or position
set a dish on the table
set a trap
set a watch
b
: to place (a story or performance) in a specified setting
a book set in a small town
4
: to direct with fixed attention
had set my heart on a new bike
5
: to cause to be, become, or do
slaves were set free
6
: to start on purpose
set a fire
7
: to fix or decide on as a time, limit, or regulation
set a price
set a wedding day
8
a
: to establish as the best performance
set a record
b
: to furnish as a pattern or model
set an example
9
: to restore to normal position or connection
set a broken bone
10
a
: to put in order for immediate use
set the table
b
: to put in order for printing
set type by hand
c
: to put into type or something like type (as on photographic film)
set the first word in italic
11
: to wave, curl, or arrange hair by wetting and drying
12
: to fix in a setting or frame
set diamonds in a ring
13
: value entry 2 sense 1, rate
set the loss at $2000
14
: to put and fix in a direction
set our faces toward home once more
15
: to fix firmly : give rigid form to
set his jaw in determination
16
: to become or cause to become firm or solid
the gelatin is setting
17
: to form and bring to maturity
the old tree still sets a good crop of apples
18
chiefly dialect : sit sense 1a, b
19
: to cover and warm eggs to hatch them
the hen has been setting for several days
20
: to pass below the horizon
the sun sets
21
: to apply oneself to some activity
set to work
22
: to have a certain direction in motion : flow
23
: to become permanent
if you don't wash that fast the stain will set

set

2 of 3 noun
1
a
: the act or action of setting
b
: the condition of being set
2
: a number of persons or things of the same kind that belong or are used together
the social set
a set of dishes
3
: direction of flow
the set of the wind
4
: the form or movement of the body or of its parts
the set of the shoulders
5
: an artificial setting for a scene of a play or movie
6
: a group of tennis games that make up a match
7
: a group of mathematical elements (as numbers or points)
8
: an electronic device
a television set

set

3 of 3 adjective
1
: showing great determination
set against going
2
: fixed by authority
a set rule
3
: not very willing to change
set in their ways
4
a
: fixed sense 1a, rigid
a set smile
b
: built-in
a set tub for washing
5
: prepared for use or action : ready
are you all set?

Medical Definition

set

1 of 2 verb
set; setting

transitive verb

: to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured
set a broken bone

intransitive verb

1
: to become solid or thickened by chemical or physical alteration
2
of a bone : to become whole by knitting

set

2 of 2 noun
: a state of psychological preparedness usually of limited duration for action in response to an anticipated stimulus or situation
the influence of mental set on problem solving

More from Merriam-Webster on set

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