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

Essential Meaning of setting

1 : the place and conditions in which something happens or exists This would be a beautiful/perfect/ideal setting for a picnic. You will have the opportunity to view the animals in their natural setting. [=environment] See More ExamplesHe tends to be shy in social settings. dining in a casual/formal setting urban versus rural settingsHide
2 : the time, place, and conditions in which the action of a book, movie, etc., takes place 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.
3 US : the rooms, painted backgrounds, furniture, etc., that are used for a scene in a movie or play : set stage settings

Full 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

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 But when the setting is as complex and contested as this one, inventive design can only go so far. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Jan. 2022 That setting was an indication of the new nation’s fragility. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 The American setting may be a first, but this is familiar territory for Campion. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2022 For most people, goal setting is casual, with one goal replacing another. Kumar Mehta, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 The setting is the Sea Lounge, with art deco furnishings and old colonial charm from 1903 when the hotel was first built. Kelsey Fowler, Travel + Leisure, 3 Jan. 2022 The setting is not always perfect and often in-video adjustments are required, but Knights adapts and always does his best to put out a great QTMFBB video. Jack Sullivan,, 2 Jan. 2022 Tuesday, Golin-Blaugrund said that cases on ships in recent weeks made up just a small percentage of the populations onboard and that no setting is immune from the virus. Hannah Sampson, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Dec. 2021 But an analysis by Fox News showed that the setting of low bail for repeat offenders isn't unusual in Milwaukee. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 29 Dec. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near setting

set the world on fire


setting block

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Statistics for setting

Last Updated

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Setting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for setting


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

More from Merriam-Webster on setting

Nglish: Translation of setting for Spanish Speakers

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


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