setup

noun
set·​up | \ ˈset-ˌəp How to pronounce setup (audio) \

Definition of setup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : carriage of the body especially : erect and soldierly bearing
2a : the assembly and arrangement of the tools and apparatus required for the performance of an operation
b : the preparation and adjustment of machines for an assigned task
3a : a table setting
b : glass, ice, and mixer served to patrons who supply their own liquor
4a : a camera position from which a scene is filmed also : the footage taken from one camera position
b : the final arrangement of the scenery and properties for a scene of a theatrical or cinematic production
5a : a position of the balls in billiards or pool from which it is easy to score
b : a task or contest purposely made easy
c : something easy to get or accomplish
d : something (such as a plot) that has been constructed or contrived
e : the execution of a planned scoring play in sports
6a : the manner in which the elements or components of a machine, apparatus, or system are arranged, designed, or assembled
b : the patterns within which political, social, or administrative forces operate : customary or established practice
7 : project, plan
8 : something done by deceit or trickery in order to compromise or frame someone

set up

verb
set up; setting up; sets up

Definition of set up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to raise to and place in a high position
b : to place in view : post
c : to put forward (something, such as a plan) for acceptance
2a : to place upright : erect set up a statue
b : to assemble the parts of and erect in position
c : to put (a machine) in readiness or adjustment for an operation
3a : cause, create set up a clamor
4 : to place in power or in office set up the general as dictator
5a : to raise from depression : elate, gratify
b : to make proud or vain
6a : to put forward or extol as a model
b : to claim oneself to be sets himself up as an authority
8a : to provide with means of making a living set him up in business
b : to bring or restore to normal health
c : to cause (one) to take on a soldierly or athletic appearance especially through drill
9 : to erect (a perpendicular or a figure) on a base in a drawing
10a : to make taut (a stay or hawser)
b : to tighten firmly
11 : to make carefully worked out plans for set up a bank robbery
12a : to pay for (drinks)
b : to treat (someone) to something
13a : to put in a compromising or dangerous position usually by trickery or deceit
14 : to execute one or more plays in preparation for scoring

intransitive verb

1 : to come into active operation or use
2 : to begin business
3 : to make pretensions has never set up to be a wise man— Thomas Rogers
4 : to become firm
set up housekeeping
: to establish one's living quarters
set up shop
: to start a business or activity in a particular place

Keep scrolling for more

Setup vs. Set-Up vs. Set Up

The noun setup is usually styled as a solid compound (that is, as a single word) in American English and as a hyphenated compound (set-up) in British English. The noun may be used attributively (that is, as an adjective) in such phrases as setup man (“someone who makes machine tool adjustments”) and setup tool (“software that facilitates the installation of a computer program”). The verb set up, on the other hand, is usually found as an open compound (two words, no hyphen) in both American and British English.

Examples of setup in a Sentence

Noun

Setup of the new software is a breeze. It took me a while to learn the setup of the office's filing system. We had a great setup. On my days off, my wife would work from home while I took care of the kids. The software makes it easy to create custom setups.

Verb

set up tables in the living room for the party set up a scholarship fund for deserving students from the inner city
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The setup looks like some sort of intergalactic spaceship. Michael Sundius, Billboard, "Inside The Glitch Mob's Innovative Blade 2.0 Stage: Exclusive Interview," 31 May 2018 The setup initially looks to offer some offbeat possibilities for a story set in such violent circumstances. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Buy Me a Gun': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 14 May 2018 May is meant to meet her ministers on Tuesday to thrash out what the future customs setup should look like. Emma Ross-thomas, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Bulletin: Do You Trust Her?," 14 May 2018 The setup is similar to how Will and Harry will likely function when William is the Prince of Wales. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What It Really Means that Prince Harry and Prince William's Royal Households Are Splitting," 15 Mar. 2019 Bradley and Hirano, who will open the season as setup men, had three saves apiece last year. Jack Magruder, The Seattle Times, "Greg Holland to close for Diamondbacks," 25 Mar. 2019 His Harlem studio setup once included a 3D body mapping zone where his celebrity clients could be scanned so that their Levine stage costumes fit like second skins. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Meet the Designer Behind Lady Gaga’s Mesmerizing Sci-fi Costumes," 14 Jan. 2019 Advertisers with in-house agencies increased to 64% last year from 42% a decade ago, according to a study from Forrester and the In-house Agency Forum, which represents hundreds of large brands that have their own internal agency setups. Lara O’reilly, WSJ, "You & Mr Jones Takes Majority Stake in Internal Marketing Firm," 10 Jan. 2019 Moms and dads can adjust its height, convert its setup into a series of positions, and even reverse the seat to face in or out. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Here's Where to Buy the Super-Popular Stroller Joanna Gaines Uses for Baby Crew," 21 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Shares of technology companies skidded after some U.S. businesses moved to comply with restrictions against Huawei Technologies, setting up major stock indexes for another tough week amid the escalating trade spat. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "U.S. Stocks Dragged Down by Tech Sector," 20 May 2019 With the Sussexes' new Instagram account set up just over a week ago, it has been speculated that the couple could release the first picture of their newborn via that account. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Keeping Plans Around Their Baby's Arrival Private," 11 Apr. 2019 Outlander opted for an unexpected cliffhanger to close out its fourth season, setting up Jamie (Sam Heughan) for a major internal conflict come Season 5. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sam Heughan on What the Outlander Finale Means for Season 5: "It's Going to Be Tough"," 28 Jan. 2019 Netflix released it today, perfectly setting up the weekend for a good eight-hour binge. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Get your binge on: Season 3 of sci-fi gem Travelers is out now," 14 Dec. 2018 While Lauren handles the design side of Lauren Liess & Co., Dave serves as project manager, setting up meetings, ordering products, and handling contracts and other paperwork. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About David and Lauren Liess's New DIY Network Show," 6 Nov. 2018 Other charities fans gave to include Sentebale, the organization Prince Harry set up to aid children with HIV, and Myna Mahila Foundation, which provides sanitary pads and education on menstrual hygiene to women in India. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Thank Fans for Donating to Charities in Their Honor Ahead of Their Baby's Arrival," 5 Apr. 2019 Variety explains that the set up will be like the Oprah Winfrey Show and Phil Donahue Show and will cover both light-hearted lifestyle topics as well as in-depth stories. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Real Reason Why Tamron Hall Decided to Leave the 'Today' Show and NBC," 3 Apr. 2019 According to The Sun, the A-list actors were set up by Theron's ex-fiancé Sean Penn and have been hanging out since December. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "So About the Rumor That Charlize Theron and Brad Pitt Are Dating...," 22 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'setup.' 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 setup

Noun

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about setup

Statistics for setup

Last Updated

25 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for setup

The first known use of setup was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for setup

setup

noun

English Language Learners Definition of setup

: the process of making something (such as a machine or computer program) ready to be used
: the way that something is done or organized
informal : a situation in which someone is deliberately put in a bad position or made to look guilty

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on setup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with setup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for setup

Spanish Central: Translation of setup

Nglish: Translation of setup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of setup for Arabic Speakers

Comments on setup

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!