setoff

noun
set·​off | \ ˈset-ˌȯf How to pronounce setoff (audio) \

Definition of setoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

set off

verb
set off; setting off; sets off

Definition of set off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to put in relief : show up by contrast
c : to set apart : make distinct or outstanding
2a : offset, compensate more variety in the Lancashire weather to set off its most disagreeable phasesGeog. Jour.
b : to make a setoff of the respective totals shall be set off against one another— O. R. Hobson
3a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of setoff in a Sentence

Noun

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new melee-for-boost options played into the original game's accordion-like sense of momentum, always pulling me in for close kills before pushing me away to set off rockets. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "DOOM Eternal gameplay world premiere: Devil horns in the air—literally," 9 June 2019 Before the army departed for King's Landing, the Hound got a head start, setting off towards the capital by his lonesome for one last duel with the Mountain. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Will the Cleganebowl Be Sparked by Arya Dying on 'Game of Thrones'?," 6 May 2019 And that’s exactly the kind of car that’s going to set off a mass movement to electric vehicles. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The 2019 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards," 16 Apr. 2019 According to the Tribune, Jason Roche, 41, allegedly confronted 19-year-old Devonte Ortiz and asked him to stop setting off fireworks outside his apartment complex in Austin, Texas. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "A Man Allegedly Shot and Killed a Teen for Setting Off Fireworks on July 4th," 8 July 2018 With royal fans on high alert for news of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's baby, every notification from their official Instagram account, @SussexRoyal, sets off a rush of adrenaline. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Here’s Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Just Unfollowed All the Royals on Instagram," 1 May 2019 Her case has set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries and complicated high-stakes U.S.-China trade talks. Christopher Bodeen, The Seattle Times, "China says no information on detained ex-Canadian diplomat," 12 Dec. 2018 For some reason, unlike making casual purchases from a British brand, buying things off of Taobao could set off alarm bells ringing for your bank. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "The best deals from Alibaba’s Singles Day," 10 Nov. 2018 The escalation in aerial bombing and shelling of the rebel areas in Idlib and northern Hama have set off alarm bells. Fox News, "The Latest: UN says 30k displaced by Syria Idlib attacks," 13 Sep. 2018

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

Noun

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about setoff

Dictionary Entries near setoff

setness

setnet

set nut

setoff

set off

set-off man

setoff sheet

Statistics for setoff

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for setoff

The first known use of setoff was circa 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for setoff

set-off

noun
\ ˈset-ˌȯf\

Legal Definition of set-off

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
2a : 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 sense 2

set off

transitive verb

Legal Definition of set off (Entry 2 of 2)

: to reduce or discharge by set-off : offset

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on setoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with setoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for setoff

Nglish: Translation of setoff for Spanish Speakers

Comments on setoff

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!