set·​ting | \ ˈse-tiŋ How to pronounce setting (audio) \

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
3a : 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

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of setting in a Sentence

This would be a beautiful setting for a picnic. He tends to be shy in social settings. dining in a casual setting The movie changes the play's setting from the late 18th century to the year 2000. She uses modern-day Los Angeles as the setting for her book. Save money by turning the temperature settings up in the summer and down in the winter. She just learned how to change the settings on her camera.
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Recent Examples on the Web The setting is the North River section of NYC during the Depression. Globe Staff,, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 Jones' setting is an unnamed city in a state of emergency. Malcom Forbes, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Stillicide,' by Cynan Jones," 28 Dec. 2020 The Cliff House setting was particularly meaningful to Ms. Wefald, who grew up within walking distance of the restaurant. New York Times, "The Restaurants We’ve Lost," 28 Dec. 2020 The setting is instantly atmospheric, all moody greens and blues and pinging metal and ambient danger. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "My Year Watching Submarine Movies," 22 Dec. 2020 In 2017, the play’s setting was contemporary, with Felder reflecting on a request from Russian fans to write a Tchaikovsky play and bring it to Russia. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: San Diego Rep’s ‘Tchaikovsky’ breaks new ground for Felder and streaming theater," 21 Dec. 2020 And although the setting may be different this season, due to COVID concerns, the friends still plan on meeting. Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur,, "At Clancy's each Christmas, these four friends gather to trade (loving) insults," 18 Dec. 2020 For now, the default setting is that this new password-generating capability is turned off for those who use Authenticator as a 2FA solution for enterprise accounts. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft Edge can now auto-generate passwords, but only via your phone," 16 Dec. 2020 The setting is naturally beautiful, and the food and wine are top-notch, but events here often feel casual, not formal or stuffy. Esther Mobley,, "Pricey Wine Country weddings in high demand, even with fires, smoke and pandemic," 11 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of setting

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for setting

Time Traveler

The first known use of setting was in the 14th century

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Statistics for setting

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Setting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for setting


How to pronounce setting (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of setting

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


set·​ting | \ ˈse-tiŋ \

Kids Definition of setting

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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