set·​tle | \ ˈse-tᵊl How to pronounce settle (audio) \
settled; settling\ ˈset-​liŋ How to pronounce settle (audio) , ˈse-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of settle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to place so as to stay
2a : to establish in residence
b : to furnish with inhabitants : colonize
3a : to cause to pack down
b : to clarify by causing dregs or impurities to sink
4 : to make quiet or orderly
5a : to fix or resolve conclusively settle the question
b : to establish or secure permanently settle the order of royal succession
c : to conclude (a lawsuit) by agreement between parties usually out of court
d : to close (something, such as an account) by payment often of less than is due
6 : to arrange in a desired position
7 : to make or arrange for final disposition of settled his affairs
8 of an animal : impregnate

intransitive verb

1 : to come to rest
2a : to sink gradually or to the bottom
b : to become clear by the deposit of sediment or scum
c : to become compact by sinking
3a : to become fixed, resolved, or established a cold settled in his chest
b : to establish a residence or colony settled in Wisconsin often used with down
4a : to become quiet or orderly
b : to take up an ordered or stable life often used with down marry and settle down
5a : to adjust differences or accounts
b : to come to a decision used with on or upon settled on a new plan
c : to conclude a lawsuit by agreement out of court
6 of an animal : conceive
settle for
: to be content with
settle one's hash
: to silence or subdue someone by decisive action
settle the stomach
: to remove or relieve the distress or nausea of indigestion



Definition of settle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a wooden bench with arms, a high solid back, and an enclosed foundation which can be used as a chest

Illustration of settle

Illustration of settle


In the meaning defined above

Other Words from settle


settleable \ ˈse-​tᵊl-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce settle (audio) , ˈset-​lə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for settle

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for settle


decide, determine, settle, rule, resolve mean to come or cause to come to a conclusion. decide implies previous consideration of a matter causing doubt, wavering, debate, or controversy. she decided to sell her house determine implies fixing the identity, character, scope, or direction of something. determined the cause of the problem settle implies a decision reached by someone with power to end all dispute or uncertainty. the dean's decision settled the campus alcohol policy rule implies a determination by judicial or administrative authority. the judge ruled that the evidence was inadmissible resolve implies an expressed or clear decision or determination to do or refrain from doing something. he resolved to quit smoking

Examples of settle in a Sentence

Verb They were determined to settle the dispute before going home for the day. The two sides have settled their differences. We need to settle this question once and for all. That settles it. I can't take the day off from work, so I'm not going. His grandparents were immigrants from Germany who settled in Pennsylvania. He always thought he'd leave the city and settle in the country. the people who settled the West See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Allow cream to settle into the nooks and crannies, tapping dish on counter to release air bubbles. People Staff,, 2 Aug. 2022 The Golden Isles is a place to escape, settle into the rhythm of the tides and go at your own pace. Outside Online, 1 Aug. 2022 Bootie Brown and Imani stuck together for one more album, 2004’s Humboldt Beginnings, after which the Pharcyde brand outwardly seemed to settle into cruise control. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 1 Aug. 2022 Here are the top cities and townships that offer hefty incentives to settle in communities, as compiled by data from MakeMyMove. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 29 July 2022 Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during a press conference Thursday that the economy’s deceleration would help the U.S. settle into a more steady rate of growth. Amara Omeokwe, WSJ, 28 July 2022 As word got out over the years about Bisbee's fun and open-minded atmosphere and its distance from the bustle of big city life, people began to settle in Bisbee. Sarah Lapidus, The Arizona Republic, 24 July 2022 As white-collar workers across the country settle into hybrid work routines, one thing is becoming clear: Nobody wants to be in the office on Fridays. Abha Bhattarai, Anchorage Daily News, 24 July 2022 The FCGs vote on a leader; Davia and Elliot settle into an academic rhythm; Malika argues with Angelica and tries to persuade her boss to support her women’s center. Olivia Mccormack, Washington Post, 21 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the three settle in for dinner, Junior (Marcus Scribner), in a graphic-patterned Dries Van Noten sweater, unsubtly attempts a photo with Obama. Fawnia Soo Hoo, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 July 2022 Most players filing for arbitration settle before their hearings, which are scheduled for July 27 to Aug. 11. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, 23 July 2022 How weird could things get if Twitter and Elon Musk settle? Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 19 July 2022 In other words, Twitter’s board could sue Musk to force him to complete his $44 billion takeover (or more likely settle for an amount between $1 billion and $44 billion). Matt Durot, Forbes, 18 May 2022 This promo pays out varying bonuses to the 100 players whose NBA Finals same game parlay wagers with the longest odds settle as wins. Xl Media, cleveland, 13 June 2022 Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, gained 9 cents per barrel, or 0.1%, to $79.32, the highest settle value in about five weeks. Hardika Singh, WSJ, 30 Dec. 2021 In the other title fight, flyweight champion Brandon Moreno meets former champion Deiveson Figueiredo for the third time as these two settle once and for all who is the best at 125 pounds. oregonlive, 19 Jan. 2022 Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport, said it’s too soon to say whether Omicron will be the force that pushes the pandemic into a seasonal settle-down. Megan Molteni, STAT, 20 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of settle


1515, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1553, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for settle


Middle English, to seat, bring to rest, come to rest, from Old English setlan, from setl seat


Middle English, place for sitting, seat, chair, from Old English setl; akin to Old High German sezzal seat, Latin sella seat, chair, Old English sittan to sit

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best high chairs.

Learn More About settle

Dictionary Entries Near settle

setting-up exercise



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for settle

Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Settle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for settle


set·​tle | \ ˈse-tᵊl How to pronounce settle (audio) \
settled; settling

Kids Definition of settle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to come to rest Birds settled on a branch. Dust settled on the table.
2 : to make a home I'd like to settle in the country.
3 : to make quiet : calm The tea settled my nerves.
4 : decide sense 1 It's settled then—we'll each pay our own way.
5 : to place so as to stay I settled myself in a chair.
6 : to sink gradually to a lower level The foundations of the house settled.
7 : to sink in a liquid
8 : to give attention to Settle down to work now.
9 : to fix by agreement They are hoping to settle the case out of court.
10 : to put in order They settled their affairs.
11 : to complete payment on Waiter, we're ready to settle our bill.
12 : to bring to an end They settled their argument.
13 : to take up a stable life You're not a kid anymore. It's time to settle down.
14 : to be content with He settled for his second choice.



Kids Definition of settle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long wooden bench with arms and a high solid back


set·​tle | \ ˈset-ᵊl How to pronounce settle (audio) \
settled; settling

Medical Definition of settle

intransitive verb

of an animal : conceive


settled; settling

Legal Definition of settle

transitive verb

1 : to resolve conclusively settle a question of law
2 : to establish or secure permanently a settled legal principle
3 : close settle the sale of securities settle the estate
4 : to resolve a disagreement about (a court order) no hearing to consider these objections and to settle the order had been conductedSaba v. Gray, 314 N.W.2d 597 (1981)
5a : to fix (a price) by mutual agreement
b : to conclude (a lawsuit) by entering into an agreement negotiated by the parties usually out of court
c : to close (as an account) by payment also : to close by compromise and payment of less than the full amount claimed or due

intransitive verb

1 : to conclude a lawsuit by entering into an agreement the plaintiff chose to settle out of court
2 : to make a settlement of a transfer of funds
3 : to adjust differences or accounts settled with his creditors

More from Merriam-Webster on settle

Nglish: Translation of settle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of settle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about settle


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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