setoff

noun set·off \ ˈset-ˌȯf \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of setoff

1 : something that is set off against another thing:
2 : the reduction or discharge of a debt or claim by setting against it a distinct claim in favor of the debtor or party who is the object of the first claim (as in a lawsuit); also : the offsetting claim itself
3 : offset 7a

Examples of setoff in a Sentence

  1. the architect used stone carvings as setoffs for the building's marble facing

First Known Use of setoff

1621


set off

verb

Definition of set off

transitive verb
1 a : to put in relief : show up by contrast
c : to set apart : make distinct or outstanding
2 a : offset, compensate
  • more variety in the Lancashire weather to set off its most disagreeable phases
  • Geog. Jour.
b : to make a setoff of
  • the respective totals shall be set off against one another
  • —O. R. Hobson
3 a : to set in motion : cause to begin
b : to cause to explode
4 : to measure off on a surface
intransitive verb
: to start out on a course or a journey
  • set off for home

Recent Examples of set off from the Web

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

First Known Use of set off

circa 1598


Law Dictionary

set-off

noun \ ˈset-ˌȯf \

legal Definition of set-off

1 : the reduction or discharge of a debt by setting against it a claim in favor of the debtor; specifically : the reduction or discharge of a party's debt or claim by an assertion of another claim arising out of another transaction or cause of action against the other party
2 a : a right to seek reduction or discharge of a debt or claim by countering a party's claim with an independent claim
b : a counterclaim made by a defendant against a plaintiff for reduction or discharge of a debt by reason of an independent debt owed by the plaintiff to the defendant — compare recoupment 2

set off

transitive verb

legal Definition of set off

: to reduce or discharge by set-off : offset


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

ditzy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!