setting 1 of 2

as in scene
the place and time in which the action for a portion of a dramatic work (as a movie) is set the setting for the novel is Victorian England

Synonyms & Similar Words


2 of 2


present participle of set
as in spawning
to cover and warm eggs as the young inside develop the hen set for days

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in sitting
chiefly dialect to rest on the buttocks or haunches come over and set for a spell

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms


Synonym Chooser

How is the word setting distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of setting are background, environment, milieu, and mise-en-scène. While all these words mean "the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs," setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms.

a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social setting

Where would background be a reasonable alternative to setting?

The meanings of background and setting largely overlap; however, 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

In what contexts can environment take the place of setting?

In some situations, the words environment and setting are roughly equivalent. However, 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

When might milieu be a better fit than setting?

Although the words milieu and setting have much in common, milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons.

an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation

When is mise-en-scène a more appropriate choice than setting?

The synonyms mise-en-scène and setting are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

Thesaurus Entries Near setting

Cite this Entry

“Setting.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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