setback

noun
set·​back | \ ˈset-ˌbak How to pronounce setback (audio) \

Definition of setback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a checking of progress
4 : a placing of a face of a building on a line some distance to the rear of the building line or of the wall below also : the area produced by a setback
5 : automatic scheduled adjustment to a lower temperature setting of a thermostat
6 : the distance of a structure or other feature (such as a well or septic system) from the property line or other feature

set back

verb
set back; setting back; sets back

Definition of set back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to slow the progress of : hinder, delay
2 : cost a new suit will set you back $200

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for setback

Synonyms: Noun

knock, lapse, reversal, reverse

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of setback in a Sentence

Noun

Despite some early setbacks, they eventually became a successful company. the colonists persevered despite suffering setbacks that would have discouraged lesser souls

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Following his setback in Hanoi, Kim traveled to the Russian Far East in April for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Adam Schreck, Time, "The U.S. and North Korea Are in Talks to Set Up a Third Trump-Kim Summit, South Korea's President Says," 26 June 2019 Following his setback in Hanoi, Kim traveled to the Russian Far East in April for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. NBC News, "U.S., North Korea in talks to set up 3rd Trump-Kim summit, Moon says," 26 June 2019 Following his setback in Hanoi, Kim traveled to the Russian Far East in April for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Adam Schreck, Hyung-jin Kim And Kim Tong-hyung, USA TODAY, "US and North Korea in talks to set up third Trump-Kim summit, Seoul says," 26 June 2019 Despite its setbacks, as a demonstration of technology, LightSail 1 was a success. Amy Thompson, Smithsonian, "LightSail 2 Launches to Space to Soar on the Power of Sunshine," 25 June 2019 But as a deepening frost settles in between the Trump administration and Havana, Cuba is instead confronting its worst economic setback in years. Author: Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, "As sanctions bite in Cuba, the U.S. — once a driver of hope — is now a source of pain," 24 June 2019 Despite his health setback, his attitude remains as upbeat as ever, notes Harmony. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A San Diego dad’s dance at his daughter’s wedding tugs at heartstrings," 17 June 2019 Durant also had celebrity support following his latest setback. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Kevin Durant's Mom Opens Up About His Injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals: 'He Told Me Not to Cry'," 12 June 2019 Over many years and with a setback during the financial slump of the early 1980s, slow progress was made. Katharina Woodman, The Mercury News, "Exhibit highlights Murphy Avenue’s checkered history," 23 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'setback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of setback

Noun

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about setback

Statistics for setback

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for setback

The first known use of setback was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for setback

setback

noun

English Language Learners Definition of setback

: a problem that makes progress more difficult or success less likely

setback

noun
set·​back | \ ˈset-ˌbak How to pronounce setback (audio) \

Kids Definition of setback

: a slowing of progress : a temporary defeat Despite several setbacks we finished on schedule.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on setback

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

WORD OF THE DAY

having no luck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!