noun set·ting \ ˈse-tiŋ \
|Updated on: 6 Aug 2018

Definition of setting

1 : the manner, position, or direction in which something is set
2 : the frame or bed in which a gem is set; also : style of mounting
3 a : the time, place, and circumstances in which something occurs or develops
b : the time and place of the action of a literary, dramatic, or cinematic work
c : the scenery used in a theatrical or film production
4 : the music composed for a text (such as a poem)
5 : the articles of tableware for setting a place at table
  • two settings of sterling silver
6 : a batch of eggs for incubation

Examples of setting in a Sentence

  1. This would be a beautiful setting for a picnic.

  2. He tends to be shy in social settings.

  3. dining in a casual setting

  4. The movie changes the play's setting from the late 18th century to the year 2000.

  5. She uses modern-day Los Angeles as the setting for her book.

  6. Save money by turning the temperature settings up in the summer and down in the winter.

  7. She just learned how to change the settings on her camera.

Recent Examples of setting from the Web

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

First Known Use of setting

14th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of setting

background, setting, environment, milieu, mise-en-scène mean the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs. background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development.
    • the shocking decision was part of the background of the riots
setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms.
    • a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social setting
environment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development.
    • the kind of environment that produces juvenile delinquents
milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons.
    • an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation
mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect.
    • a gothic thriller with a carefully crafted mise-en-scène

SETTING Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of setting for English Language Learners

  • : the place and conditions in which something happens or exists

  • : the time, place, and conditions in which the action of a book, movie, etc., takes place

  • : the rooms, painted backgrounds, furniture, etc., that are used for a scene in a movie or play

SETTING Defined for Kids


noun set·ting \ ˈse-tiŋ \

Definition of setting for Students

1 : the act of someone or something that sets
2 : that in which something is set or mounted
  • a gold setting for a ruby
3 : the background (as time and place) of the action of a story or play

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excessive admiration or flattery

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