Meaning of SET in English



( sets)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.


A set of things is a number of things that belong together or that are thought of as a group.

There must be one set of laws for the whole of the country...

I might need a spare set of clothes...

The computer repeats a set of calculations...

Only she and Mr Cohen had complete sets of keys to the shop...

The mattress and base are normally bought as a set.

...a chess set.

N-COUNT : oft N of n


In tennis, a set is one of the groups of six or more games that form part of a match.

Graf was leading 5-1 in the first set.

N-COUNT : oft supp N


In mathematics, a set is a group of mathematical quantities that have some characteristic in common.



A band’s or musician’s set is the group of songs or tunes that they perform at a concert.

The band continued with their set after a short break...



You can refer to a group of people as a set if they meet together socially or have the same interests and lifestyle.

He belonged to what the press called ‘The Chelsea Set’.

N-SING : supp N

see also jet set


The set for a play, film, or television show is the furniture and scenery that is on the stage when the play is being performed or in the studio where filming takes place.

From the first moment he got on the set, he wanted to be a director too...

...his stage sets for the Folies Bergeres.

N-COUNT : also on/off N


The set of someone’s face or part of their body is the way that it is fixed in a particular expression or position, especially one that shows determination.

Matt looked at Hugh and saw the stubbornness in the set of his shoulders...

N-SING : usu the N of n


A set is an appliance. For example, a television set is a television.

Children spend so much time in front of the television set...

N-COUNT : oft supp N



( sets, setting)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Note: The form 'set' is used in the present tense and is the past tense and past participle of the verb.

Please look at category 25 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


If you set something somewhere, you put it there, especially in a careful or deliberate way.

He took the case out of her hand and set it on the floor...

When he set his glass down he spilled a little drink.

= put, place

VERB : V n prep , V n with adv


If something is set in a particular place or position, it is in that place or position.

The castle is set in 25 acres of beautiful grounds...

= situated

ADJ : v-link ADJ prep / adv


If something is set into a surface, it is fixed there and does not stick out.

The man unlocked a gate set in a high wall and let me through...

ADJ : v-link ADJ prep / adv


You can use set to say that a person or thing causes another person or thing to be in a particular condition or situation. For example, to set someone free means to cause them to be free, and to set something going means to cause it to start working.

Set the kitchen timer going...

A phrase from the conference floor set my mind wandering...

Dozens of people have been injured and many vehicles set on fire...

Churchill immediately set into motion a daring plan.

VERB : V n -ing , V n -ing , be V-ed adj / adv , V n with prep


When you set a clock or control, you adjust it to a particular point or level.

Set the volume as high as possible...

I forgot to set my alarm and I overslept.

VERB : V n adv / prep , V n


If you set a date, price, goal, or level, you decide what it will be.

The conference chairman has set a deadline of noon tomorrow...

A date will be set for a future meeting...

VERB : V n , V n


If you set a certain value on something, you think it has that value.

She sets a high value on autonomy...

VERB : V n on n / -ing


If you set something such as a record, an example, or a precedent, you do something that people will want to copy or try to achieve.

Legal experts said her case would not set a precedent because it was an out-of-court settlement...

A new world marathon record of 2 hrs, 8 min, 5 sec, was set by Stephen Jones of Great Britain...

VERB : V n , V n


If someone sets you a task or aim or if you set yourself a task or aim, you need to succeed in doing it.

I have to plan my academic work very rigidly and set myself clear objectives...

VERB : V n n


To set an examination or a question paper means to decide what questions will be asked in it. ( BRIT; in AM, usually use make up )

He broke with the tradition of setting examinations in Latin.

VERB : V n


You use set to describe something which is fixed and cannot be changed.

Investors can apply for a package of shares at a set price...

ADJ : usu ADJ n


A set book must be studied by students taking a particular course. ( BRIT; in AM, use required )

One of the set books is Jane Austen’s Emma.



If a play, film, or story is set in a particular place or period of time, the events in it take place in that place or period.

The play is set in a small Midwestern town.

ADJ : v-link ADJ prep / adv


If you are set to do something, you are ready to do it or are likely to do it. If something is set to happen, it is about to happen or likely to happen.

Roberto Baggio was set to become one of the greatest players of all time...

ADJ : v-link ADJ to-inf


If you are set on something, you are strongly determined to do or have it. If you are set against something, you are strongly determined not to do or have it.

She was set on going to an all-girls school...

ADJ : v-link ADJ on/against n / -ing


If you set your face or jaw, you put on a fixed expression of determination.

Instead, she set her jaw grimly and waited in silence...

VERB : V n


When something such as jelly, melted plastic, or cement sets , it becomes firm or hard.

You can add ingredients to these desserts as they begin to set...



When the sun sets , it goes below the horizon.

They watched the sun set behind the distant dales.

...the red glow of the setting sun.

VERB : V , V-ing


To set a trap means to prepare it to catch someone or something.

He seemed to think I was setting some sort of trap for him...

VERB : V n for n


When someone sets the table, they prepare it for a meal by putting plates and cutlery on it.

= lay



If someone sets a poem or a piece of writing to music, they write music for the words to be sung to.

He has attracted much interest by setting ancient religious texts to music.

VERB : V n to n


see also setting , set-to


If someone sets the scene or sets the stage for an event to take place, they make preparations so that it can take place.

The Democrat convention has set the scene for a ferocious election campaign this autumn...

PHRASE : V inflects


If you say that someone is set in their ways , you are being critical of the fact that they have fixed habits and ideas which they will not easily change, even though they may be old-fashioned.

PHRASE : V inflects [ disapproval ]


to set eyes on something : see eye

to set fire to something : see fire

to set foot somewhere : see foot

to set your heart on something : see heart

to set sail: see sail

to set great store by or on something : see store

to set to work: see work

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.