verb \ˈset\

Definition of set




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to cause to sit :  place in or on a seat

  3. 2a :  to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch themb :  to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator

  4. 3 :  to place (oneself) in position to start running in a race

  5. 4a :  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 1 <set seedlings>c (1) :  to make (as a trap) ready to catch prey (2) :  to fix (a hook) firmly into the jaw of a fishd :  to put aside (as dough containing yeast) for fermenting

  6. 5 :  to direct with fixed attention <set your mind to it>

  7. 6a :  to cause to assume a specified condition, relation, or occupation <slaves were set free> <set the house on fire>b :  to cause the start of <set a fire>

  8. 7a :  to appoint or assign to an office or dutyb :  post, station

  9. 8 :  to cause to assume a specified posture or position <set the door ajar>

  10. 9a :  to fix as a distinguishing imprint, sign, or appearance <the years have set their mark on him>b :  affixc :  apply <set a match to kindling>

  11. 10 :  to fix or decide on as a time, limit, or regulation :  prescribe <set a wedding day> <set the rules for the game>

  12. 11a :  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>

  13. 12a :  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 (as a clock) in conformity with a standardb :  to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured <set a broken bone>c :  to spread to the wind <set the sails>

  14. 13a :  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>

  15. 14a :  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 directionsc :  to sink (the head of a nail) below the surface

  16. 15 :  to fix in a desired position (as by heating or stretching)

  17. 16 :  to arrange (hair) in a desired style by using implements (as curlers, rollers, or clips) and gels or lotions

  18. 17a :  to adorn with something affixed or infixed :  stud, dot <clear sky set with stars>b :  to fix (as a precious stone) in a border of metal :  place in a settingc :  to place in a specified literary or dramatic setting <a story set in Paris>

  19. 18a :  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>

  20. 19 :  to place in relation for comparison or balance <theory set against practice>

  21. 20a :  to direct to actionb :  to incite to attack or antagonism <war sets brother against brother>

  22. 21a :  to place by transporting <was set ashore on the island>b :  to put in motionc :  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

  23. 22 :  to defeat (an opponent or a contract) in bridge

  24. 23a :  to fix firmly :  make immobile :  give rigid form or condition to <set her jaw in determination>b :  to make unyielding or obstinate

  25. 24 :  to cause to become firm or solid <set milk for cheese>

  26. 25 :  to cause (as fruit or seed) to develop

  27. intransitive verb
  28. 1 chiefly dialectal :  sit

  29. 2 :  to be becoming :  be suitable :  fit <the coat sets well>

  30. 3 :  to cover and warm eggs to hatch them

  31. 4a :  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 (as running)

  32. 5 of a plant part :  to undergo development usually as a result of pollination

  33. 6a :  to pass below the horizon :  go down <the sun sets>b :  to come to an end <this century sets with little mirth — Thomas Fuller>

  34. 7 :  to apply oneself to some activity <set to work>

  35. 8 :  to have a specified direction in motion :  flow, tend <the wind was setting from Pine Hill to the farm — Esther Forbes>

  36. 9 of a dog :  to indicate the position of game by crouching or pointing

  37. 10 :  to dance face to face with another in a square dance <set to your partner and turn>

  38. 11a :  to become solid or thickened by chemical or physical alteration <the cement sets rapidly>b of a dye or color :  to become permanentc of a bone :  to become whole by growing together

set about

  1. :  to begin to do

set apart

  1. 1 :  to reserve to a particular use

  2. 2 :  to make noticeable or outstanding

set aside

  1. 1 :  to put to one side :  discard

  2. 2 :  to reserve for a purpose :  save

  3. 3 :  dismiss

  4. 4 :  annul, overrule

set at

  1. :  to mount an attack on :  assail <would go although … devils should set at me — Charlotte Yonge>

set eyes on

  1. :  to catch sight of

set foot in

  1. :  enter

set foot on

  1. :  to step onto

set forth

  1. 1 :  to give an account or statement of

  2. 2 :  to start out on a journey

set forward

  1. 1 :  further

  2. 2 :  to start out on a journey

set in motion

  1. :  to give impulse to <sets the story in motion vividly — Howard Thompson>

set one's hand to

  1. :  to become engaged in

set one's heart on

  1. :  resolve vt vt 5 <she set her heart on going to medical school>

set one's house in order

  1. :  to organize one's affairs

set one's sights on

  1. :  to determine to pursue

set one's teeth on edge

set one straight

  1. :  to correct someone by providing accurate information

set sail

  1. :  to start out on a course; especially :  to begin a voyage <set sail for Bermuda>

set store by


set store on

  1. :  to consider valuable, trustworthy, or worthwhile

set the stage

  1. :  to provide the basis or background <this trend will set the stage for higher earnings>

set to music

  1. :  to provide music or instrumental accompaniment for (a text)

set upon

  1. :  to attack usually with violence <the dogs set upon the trespassers>

Examples of set in a sentence

  1. We need to set some extra chairs around the table.

  2. He set the ladder against the wall and walked away.

  3. I remember setting my bag right here.

  4. They set the bricks along the walkway.

  5. The jeweler can set the stone several different ways.

  6. He turned off the car and set the parking brake.

  7. Rangers will set a trap to catch the bear.

  8. We set an extra place at the table for our guest.

Origin and Etymology of set

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

First Known Use: before 12th century




Definition of set

  1. 1a :  the act or action of settingb :  the condition of being set

  2. 2 :  a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together <an electric train set>

  3. 3a :  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. 4 :  direction of flow <the set of the wind>

  5. 5 :  form or carriage of the body or of its parts <her face took on a cynical set — Raymond Kennedy>

  6. 6 :  the manner of fitting or of being placed or suspended <in order to give the skirt a pretty set — Mary J. Howell>

  7. 7 :  amount of deflection from a straight line <set of a saw's teeth>

  8. 8 :  permanent change of form (as of metal) due to repeated or excessive stress

  9. 9 :  the act or result of arranging hair by curling or waving

  10. 10 or less commonly sett play \ˈset\ a :  a young plant or rooted cutting ready for transplantingb :  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. 11 or sett :  the burrow of a badger

  12. 12 :  the width of the body of a piece of type

  13. 13 :  an artificial setting for a scene of a theatrical or film production

  14. 14 or less commonly sett :  a rectangular paving stone of sandstone or granite

  15. 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. 16 :  a collection of books or periodicals forming a unit

  17. 17 :  a clutch of eggs

  18. 18 :  the basic formation in a country-dance or square dance

  19. 19 :  a session of music (as jazz or dance music) usually followed by an intermission; also :  the music played at one session

  20. 20 :  a group of persons associated by common interests

  21. 21 :  a collection of elements and especially mathematical ones (as numbers or points) —called also class

  22. 22 :  an apparatus of electronic components assembled so as to function as a unit <a television set>

  23. 23 :  a usually offensive formation in football or basketball

  24. 24 :  a group of a specific number of repetitions of a particular exercise

Examples of set in a sentence

  1. I need to buy a new set of golf clubs.

  2. The kids are allowed to watch two hours of television. After that, I turn off the set.

  3. We met on the set of Hamlet.

14th Century

First Known Use of set

14th century




Definition of set

  1. 1 :  intent, determined <set upon going>

  2. 2 :  intentional, premeditated <did it of set purpose>

  3. 3 :  fixed by authority or appointment :  prescribed, specified <set hours of study>

  4. 4 :  reluctant to change <set in their ways>

  5. 5a :  immovable, rigid <set frown>b :  built-in <a set tub>

  6. 6 :  settled, persistent <set defiance>

  7. 7 :  being in readiness :  prepared <set for an early morning start>

Examples of set in a sentence

  1. Her college is set in the countryside.

  2. Their house is set back from the road.

  3. a man with deep-set eyes

  4. She has very set ideas about how children should behave.

Origin and Etymology of set

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

First Known Use: 14th century

SET Defined for Kids



verb \ˈset\

Definition of set for Students



  1. 1 :  to put or fix in a place or condition <I set the box on a table.>

  2. 2 :  to cause to be, become, or do <Police set the prisoner free.>

  3. 3 :  1start 4 <He set a fire.>

  4. 4 :  to fix or decide on <They set the wedding date.> <Have you set a price?>

  5. 5 :  to furnish as a model <You should set an example for the others.> <She ran to the front and set the pace.>

  6. 6 :  to adjust or put in order for use <Please set the table.> <Did you set the alarm?>

  7. 7 :  to fix firmly <He sets his feet and takes aim.>

  8. 8 :  to pass below the horizon :  go down <The sun is setting.>

  9. 9 :  to begin some activity <They set to work on the cleaning project.>

  10. 10 :  to cause to sit <I set the baby in her chair.>

  11. 11 :  to arrange in a desired and especially a normal position <Doctors set the broken bone.>

  12. 12 :  to become or cause to become firm or solid <Wait for the cement to set.>

  13. 13 :  to cover and warm eggs to hatch them <The hen set for days.>

  14. 14 :  to locate the plot of (a story)

  15. 15 :  to provide (as words or verses) with music

set aside

  1. :  to reserve for some purpose

set eyes on

  1. :  to catch sight of :  see <Though he lived nearby, I had never set eyes on him.>

set in

  1. :  to make its appearance :  begin <They needed to leave arctic waters before winter set in.>

set off

  1. 1 :  to start a journey <We set off for home.>

  2. 2 :  explode 1 <We set off fireworks.>

  3. 3 :  to make noticeable <The phrase is set off by commas.>

  4. 4 :  to cause to start <The story set them off laughing.>

set out

  1. 1 :  to begin on a course or journey <We arrived a month after we set out.>

  2. 2 :  to begin with a purpose <He set out to win.>

set up

  1. 1 :  to place or secure in position <Help me set up the tables.>

  2. 2 :  to put in operation <The community set up an animal shelter.>




Definition of set for Students

  1. 2 :  the act or action of going below the horizon <the set of the sun>

  2. 3 :  an electronic apparatus <a television set>

  3. 4 :  a collection of mathematical elements

  4. 5 :  a group of tennis games that make up a match

  5. 6 :  the form or movement of the body or of its parts <the set of the shoulders>

  6. 7 :  an artificial setting for a scene of a play or motion picture




Definition of set for Students

  1. 1 :  fixed by authority <a set rule>

  2. 2 :  not very willing to change <The people he works with are set in their ways.>

  3. 3 :  1ready 1 <Are you all set?>

Medical Dictionary



verb \ˈset\

Medical Definition of set




  1. transitive verb

  2. :  to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured <set a broken bone>

  3. 1

  4. intransitive verb

  5. :  to become solid or thickened by chemical or physical alteration

  6. 2of a bone :  to become whole by knitting




Medical Definition of set

  1. :  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>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up set? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


gray or white with or as if with age

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