noun set·up \ ˈset-ˌəp \

Definition of setup

1 a :carriage of the body; especially :erect and soldierly bearing
2 a :the assembly and arrangement of the tools and apparatus required for the performance of an operation
b :the preparation and adjustment of machines for an assigned task
3 a :a table setting
b :glass, ice, and mixer served to patrons who supply their own liquor
4 a :a camera position from which a scene is filmed; also :the footage taken from one camera position
b :the final arrangement of the scenery and properties for a scene of a theatrical or cinematic production
5 a :a position of the balls in billiards or pool from which it is easy to score
b :a task or contest purposely made easy
c :something easy to get or accomplish
d :something (such as a plot) that has been constructed or contrived
e :the execution of a planned scoring play in sports
6 a :the manner in which the elements or components of a machine, apparatus, or system are arranged, designed, or assembled
b :the patterns within which political, social, or administrative forces operate :customary or established practice
8 :something done by deceit or trickery in order to compromise or frame someone

Examples of setup in a Sentence

  1. Setup of the new software is a breeze.

  2. It took me a while to learn the setup of the office's filing system.

  3. We had a great setup. On my days off, my wife would work from home while I took care of the kids.

  4. The software makes it easy to create custom setups.

Recent Examples of setup from the Web

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

setup vs. set-up vs. set up

The noun setup is usually styled as a solid compound (that is, as a single word) in American English and as a hyphenated compound (set-up) in British English. The noun may be used attributively (that is, as an adjective) in such phrases as setup man (“someone who makes machine tool adjustments”) and setup tool (“software that facilitates the installation of a computer program”). The verb set up, on the other hand, is usually found as an open compound (two words, no hyphen) in both American and British English.

First Known Use of setup


Other Alcoholic Beverage Terms

set up


Definition of set up

transitive verb
1 a :to raise to and place in a high position
b :to place in view :post
c :to put forward (something, such as a plan) for acceptance
2 a :to place upright :erect
  • set up a statue
b :to assemble the parts of and erect in position
c :to put (a machine) in readiness or adjustment for an operation
3 a :cause, create
  • set up a clamor
4 :to place in power or in office
  • set up the general as dictator
5 a :to raise from depression :elate, gratify
b :to make proud or vain
6 a :to put forward or extol as a model
b :to claim oneself to be
  • sets himself up as an authority
8 a :to provide with means of making a living
  • set him up in business
b :to bring or restore to normal health
c :to cause (one) to take on a soldierly or athletic appearance especially through drill
9 :to erect (a perpendicular or a figure) on a base in a drawing
10 a :to make taut (a stay or hawser)
b :to tighten firmly
11 :to make carefully worked out plans for
  • set up a bank robbery
12 a :to pay for (drinks)
b :to treat (someone) to something
13 a :to put in a compromising or dangerous position usually by trickery or deceit
b :frame 3
14 :to execute one or more plays in preparation for scoring
intransitive verb
1 :to come into active operation or use
2 :to begin business
3 :to make pretensions
  • has never set up to be a wise man
  • —Thomas Rogers
4 :to become firm
set up housekeeping
:to establish one's living quarters
set up shop
:to establish one's business

Examples of set up in a Sentence

  1. set up tables in the living room for the party

  2. set up a scholarship fund for deserving students from the inner city

First Known Use of set up

13th century

SETUP Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of setup for English Language Learners

  • : the process of making something (such as a machine or computer program) ready to be used

  • : the way that something is done or organized

  • : a situation in which someone is deliberately put in a bad position or made to look guilty

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