set·​tle | \ˈse-tᵊl \
settled; settling\ ˈset-​liŋ , 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

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Other Words from settle


settleable \ ˈse-​tᵊl-​ə-​bəl , ˈset-​lə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for settle

Synonyms: Verb

becalm, calm, compose, lull, lullaby, quiet, quieten [chiefly British], salve, soothe, still, tranquilize (also tranquillize)

Antonyms: Verb

agitate, discompose, disquiet, disturb, key (up), perturb, upset, vex

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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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Futures have fallen 24% in 2018, settling Wednesday at $341.30 per thousand board feet. Jessica Menton, WSJ, "Home-Improvement Stocks Slide Despite Strong Economy," 7 Nov. 2018 The two women who rode with Caleb suffered serious injuries and settled claims with Schlitterbahn for an undisclosed amount. CBS News, "Verruckt waterslide, where 10-year-old boy died in 2016, to come down, park says," 12 July 2018 Related stories from Kansas City Star The science behind Schlitterbahn’s Verrückt How Schlitterbahn’s Verruckt was built in Wyandotte County The Schwab family settled with Schlitterbahn and other companies involved in making Verruckt. Steve Vockrodt And Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Schlitterbahn to tear down Verruckt water slide in KCK where young boy died in 2016," 12 July 2018 After his best season of his five-year tenure, coach Dave Doeren may feel a little more settled at NC State. Safid Deen,, "Despite key departures, NC State is No. 47 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 11 July 2018 Drmić earned himself a move to Bayer Leverkusen, which has since been followed by deals with Mönchengladbach and Hamburger SV, but the Swiss striker has struggled to settle at any of the top flight clubs in Germany., "Burnley & Watford Chasing €5m-Rated World Cup Goalscorer as Contract Nears End in Germany," 7 July 2018 The company also agreed in 2016 to settle allegations of Clean Water Act violations at four facilities used to store petroleum fuels, vegetable oil, and animal fats for just $99,000. Steven Mufson,, "With Andrew Wheeler at the helm, EPA likely to stay the course," 6 July 2018 Her plan was to take Juan to Louisiana, where her sister, Maria, and her friend Karla had already settled with their children. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Separated at the border, asylum seeker pleads for son's return," 5 July 2018 Oil settled Friday in New York at $73.80 a barrel, up 86 cents or about 1 percent. Rye Druzin, San Antonio Express-News, "Austin-based oil company buys more Eagle Ford Shale acreage," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Elsewhere in precious metals, front-month silver futures fell 0.9% to $13.9740 a troy ounce, its lowest settle since January 2016. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Gold Prices Fall on Stronger U.S. Dollar, Rate Worries," 12 Nov. 2018 And part of the doubting settles, specifically, on questions of authorship—of news not just as a democratic necessity, but also as a product of people, weary and errant. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Fourth Estate in the Age of Bad Faith," 15 June 2018 After Monarch Hill stops taking trash, experts will keep track of the landfill’s gas generation and how the trash settles over 30 years. Anne Geggis,, "Mount Trashmore, the landfill that's over 20 stories, will grow bigger and taller," 13 July 2018 Light, sweet crude for August delivery settled up 1% to $74.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settle since November 2014. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Oil Prices Buoyed by Global Supply Outages," 29 June 2018 Things clear out by sunset and beyond as a much drier and cooler air mass settles in overnight. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Scattered showers early, clearing overnight. Warm and comfortable on Monday.," 24 June 2018 Maybe later, after Kelly gets settles in and gets comfortable. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Chip Kelly is back on campus but can he recapture magic at UCLA?," 13 Apr. 2018 The uptick in oil prices, which brought U.S. crude to its highest settle since November 2014, also weighed on the bond market by lifting investors’ expectations for inflation. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Government Bonds Weaken as Oil Hits Fresh Multiyear High," 9 May 2018 After a two-years, the lawsuit was settle and Hammond owes Dial a whopping $250,000 for actual damages — a.k.a. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "This Woman's Facebook Post Ended Up Costing Her $500K," 17 Apr. 2017

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.

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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

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Statistics for settle

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for settle

The first known use of settle was in 1515

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More Definitions for settle



English Language Learners Definition of settle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to end (something, such as an argument) by reaching an agreement

: to make a final decision about (something)

: to move to a place and make it your home



English Language Learners Definition of settle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long wooden bench with arms, a high solid back, and often with space under the seat which can be used to store things


set·​tle | \ˈse-tᵊl \
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 \
settled; settling

Medical Definition of settle 

intransitive verb

of an animal : conceive

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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

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Comments on settle

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by force of circumstances

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