Meaning of SET in English

I. ˈset, usu -ed.+V verb

( set ; set ; setting ; sets )

Etymology: Middle English setten, from Old English settan; akin to Old High German sezzen to set, Old Norse setja, Gothic satjan; causative from the root of English sit

transitive verb


a. : to cause to sit : make assume a sitting position or attitude

b. : to place in or on a seat

set a man on horseback

set a king on a throne

c. archaic : to seat in readiness for an activity

were set to cards — W.M.Thackeray

when he was set , his disciples came unto him — Mt 5:1 (Authorized Version)


a. : to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them

b. : to put (eggs) into a nest for a fowl to hatch or into an incubator

3. : to place (oneself) in a position to start running in a race

4. chiefly Scotland : to be becoming to : suit

this bonnet sets me — J.M.Barrie


a. : to put to stay in place : place with care or deliberate purpose

set a lamp on the table

set a ladder against the wall

set a stone on a grave

set a figure on a pedestal

b. : to fix (a plant) in the ground

set fruit trees

— often used with out

set out seedlings


(1) : to put (as a trap or snare) in a proper condition or position to catch prey

(2) : to force point and barb of (a hook) into the jaw of a fish


(1) : to put aside (as dough) to rise

(2) : to fill (a fermenter or yeast tub) with mash, yeast, and other ingredients for distilling and to adjust the contents to the proper temperature for fermentation

e. : to place so as to have relation to something or someone

dainty dish to set before a king

set a light at each window

6. : to direct with fixed attention and preoccupation

had set his heart on going with us

you can solve this problem if you set your mind to it


a. archaic : to fix in writing : phrase

b. : to place in a particular location or relation in a writing : put down : enter — used with down

set down all the items in one column

all the happenings set down in his diary

8. : to cause to assume a specified condition, relation, or occupation

when the slaves were set free

made a raft and set it afloat

set him over the rest as a foreman

9. : to appoint or assign to an office or duty : post , station

set pickets around the camp

the order to set the first watch came at 8 o'clock

10. : to cause to assume a specified posture or position

set the chair back on its feet

set the door ajar

his age sets him apart from the others

set him astride a horse and led him away


a. : to fix as a distinguishing imprint, sign, or appearance

the years have set their mark on him

I do set my bow in the cloud — Gen 9:13 (Authorized Version)

b. archaic : attach

set feathers to thy heels — Shakespeare

c. : affix

my will to which I set my hand and seal

d. : apply

set pen to paper

set the horn to his lips

set spurs to his horse

set a match to the pile of leaves

12. : to play (a domino) to begin a game


a. : to fix or decide upon as a time, limit, or regulation : prescribe

set a wedding day

set certain conditions as part of the bargain

set bounds to ambition

b. : to lay or mark off (a line) in surveying or drafting

c. : to take the bearings of (as a landfall)

set a landmark

d. obsolete : to inflict as a burden or penalty : impose

e. : to establish by authority : decree

once the rules had been set there was no changing them

14. dialect Britain : rent , lease

15. obsolete : to put in order : settle


a. : to establish as the highest level or best performance

set a record for the half mile

sets a new record for government spending

b. : to furnish as a pattern or model

set an example of generosity

let another runner set the pace

set the fashion for epic poems

preferred to work on lines set by his predecessors

c. : to give a pitch to (a melody) for singing : start by fixing the keynote

set a psalm

d. : to allot or appoint as a task or portion of work

three books were set to be read by the class during the term

he was set the task of finding a way to balance the budget

the home team was set 75 runs to win the cricket match


a. : to put into a desired position, adjustment, or condition

set a thermostat at 70

set the camera lens for a long range shot

brought the car to a stop and set the brake

b. : to pull (a bell) into the position of standing inverted ready for a full stroke

c. : to fix (a combination of pipe-organ stops) so that the pushing of a piston will throw an entire combination

d. : to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured

set a broken bone

e. obsolete : to set up : erect , raise

f. : to spread to the wind

set the sails of a ship

g. obsolete : to dispose tactically for battle


a. : to put in order for immediate use

the table was set for three

set a place for a guest

set a lathe for screw cutting

b. : to provide (as words, verses) with melody and instrumental accompaniment

set a sonnet to music

also : to adapt (a melody) to a text

the same prevailing tunes … were customarily set to native American folksongs — S.P.Bayard

c. : to make scenically ready for a performance

set the scene

set the stage


(1) : to arrange (type) for printing

set type by hand

(2) : to put into type or typographic characters (as on film)

set the word in caps

a book set by computer

e. : to position (an insert) when tipping into the sections of a book usually so as to correct bad margins

19. also sett “ : to determine the fineness of texture of (a fabric) before weaving


a. : to put a fine edge on (a cutting blade) by grinding or honing

set a razor

b. : to shape (metal) with a set hammer

c. : to bend slightly the tooth points of (a saw) alternately in opposite directions to widen the kerf and so prevent sticking

d. : to adjust (a measuring instrument) to a desired position

set a pair of calipers to size on a rule

e. : to fix the iron of (a carpenter's plane) in position so as to take off the desired thickness of shaving

f. : to sink (a nailhead) below the surface

21. : to dispose (a specimen) for preservation and examination

set an insect

22. : to make (a dye or color) fast

23. : to put the finishing coat on

plaster, float, and set a wall

24. : to wave, curl, or arrange (hair) by wetting (as with a wave solution) and drying (as with heat)


a. : to cover or border or surround with plants

set the grounds with trees and bushes

a parkway set with sycamores

b. : to adorn with something affixed or infixed : stud , dot

the house was set about with fir trees

clear sky set with stars


(1) : to fix (as a precious stone) in a border of metal : place in a setting

set a diamond in a ring

(2) : to place in or amid something that serves as a setting

set glass in a sash

(3) : to arrange (artificial teeth) upon a plate

26. obsolete : to fix upon or watch with a view to theft


a. : to hold something in regard or esteem at the rate of — used with by

sets a great deal by daily exercise

b. obsolete : assume , suppose

c. : to place in a relative rank or category

set duty before pleasure

justly set the gem above the flower — Alexander Pope

d. : to fix at or adjust to a certain amount

set bail at $500

set the price higher

e. : wager , stake

I have set my life upon a cast — Shakespeare

f. : value , rate — used with at

I do not set my life at a pin's fee — Shakespeare

his promises were set at naught after so many betrayals

g. archaic : to rate for assessment

blamed for setting so wealthy a man at so low a rate — T.B.Macaulay

h. : to place as an estimate of something's worth

set a high value on every man's life

i. : estimate

fire losses were set at a million dollars

28. : to place in relation for comparison or balance

when theory is set against practice

after setting our gains against our losses


a. : to direct to action : put into activity

set the children to raking leaves

set a thief to catch a thief

wind the clock and set it running

b. : to incite to attack

set the dogs on an intruder

or antagonism

war that sets brother against brother


a. : to place by transporting

set ashore on the island

a ferry set them across the river

b. : to put in motion

set the tongues a-wagging

set the bells a-ringing

c. : to bring by imparting motion

a current set us to the northward

stern started to swing with the tide, setting the vessel toward a submerged wreck — All Hands

d. : to put and fix in a direction

set our faces toward home once more

e. of a dog : to point out the seat or position of (as a bird) by holding a fixed attitude

31. : to adjust in conformity with some standard

set his watch by the radio time signal

32. : to propel (a boat) by poling

33. : to defeat (an opponent or his contract) in bridge : cause to go down


a. : to fix firmly : make immobile : give rigid form or condition to

set his jaw in renewed determination to win

set her lips firmly and shook her head

b. : to make unyielding or obstinate

set his mind against all appeals


a. archaic : to cause or allow to get stuck

b. dialect : to put into a confusing or embarrassing position : check , stump

36. : to cause to settle or convert into a solid form

set milk for cheese

set jelly by adding pectin

37. : to cause (fruit or seed) to develop

the peaches failed to set fruit

some varieties do not set seed under cultivation


a. : to straighten (a bow or arrow) by heating, correcting the deformity, and quickly cooling

b. : to fix (leather) by stretching

39. : to treat (viscose) so as to cause precipitation of cellulose

40. : to fix the form or shape of (a synthetic fabric) as with heat or chemicals

intransitive verb

1. chiefly dialect : sit

2. : to be becoming : be suitable : fit

his behavior does not set well with his years

3. of a fowl : to cover and warm eggs to hatch them : brood

4. : to become lodged or fixed — used with on or upon

the pudding set heavily on his stomach

5. of a blossom, fruit, or seed : to adhere to a parent plant and initiate growth or normal development as a result of a stimulus (as pollination)

6. : to settle and become attached

spawning and setting of oysters


a. of a heavenly body : to pass below the horizon : go down : decline

the sun sets later now

— opposed to rise

b. : to sink out of sight : come to an end : pass away

8. : to place plants or shoots in the ground : plant

in some cases setting is preferable to sowing


a. obsolete : to make a stake or wager : bet

b. : to make the first play in a game of dominoes


a. chiefly dialect : to begin to move : set out : set forth

b. : to apply oneself to some activity

set to work to finish the job


a. : to have a specified direction in motion : flow , tend

the current sets to the north

the wind was setting from Pine Hill to the farm — Esther Forbes

b. : to have a trend : gather headway in a definite direction

art is setting against modernism

12. of a dog : to indicate the position of game by crouching or pointing

13. : to dance face to face with another in a square dance — used usually with to

set to your partner and turn


a. : to become fixed or rigid ; specifically : to become more solid or hardened (as by chemical action or by cooling or drying)

use up the cement before it sets

this ink sets rapidly

b. of cream : to rise and settle at the top

c. of milk : curdle

d. of a dye or color : to become fast or permanent


a. of a bone : to become whole by knitting

b. of metal : to acquire a permanent twist or bend from strain

16. of a balance wheel : to stop swinging


put , place , lay , dispose , stow , deposit : set suggests the putting of a person or thing firmly in a specified place, condition, or relationship

bring these fellows into the country, or set them aboard ship — R.L.Stevenson

set all her hopes in the son, particularly in her oldest — Franz Alexander

some new apprentice … may turn out in the end to be either a bungler or an enemy, and set the whole appliance out of gear — B.N.Cardozo

put applies to a motion or action placing a person or thing in an indicated situation or condition

putting somebody else in a comfortable chair and making him listen to their efforts — Barrett Wendell

proceedings in the lower courts were put on the same footing as proceedings in the higher ones — B.N.Cardozo

the Gospels, especially the apocryphal, were put into Old French — H.O.Taylor

place may suggest a preciseness or considered intent lacking in put

church buildings along Main Street are placed some distance back, but the commercial buildings abut the sidewalks — American Guide Series: New Hampshire

efforts were directed to placing his young friend where his talents could find a steady market — H.S.Canby

lay may convey the notion that the thing moved has been put into a flat position, one compatible with reclining rather than standing

the lacquered services are laid upon the matting before them by maidens whose bare feet make no sound — Lafcadio Hearn

Apollo has not laid aside his bow, nor Neptune his trident — William Hazlitt

dispose is likely to suggest considered or calculated placing and arranging

orchids had been conspicuously disposed in various receptacles — Edith Wharton

numerous auxiliary regiments, foot and horse, which were disposed over the hill-country — Jacquetta & Christopher Hawkes

stow is likely to suggest compact or neat and convenient placing, storing, packing

air out the cabin and stow away our winter supplies — Willa Cather

roomy enough for a skillful packer to stow a two-week supply of clothes in — New Yorker

deposit may suggest either careful and attentive placing or putting away as in a cache or, in the natural sciences, letting fall to accumulate

two copies of each measure are printed on special vellum … to be deposited in the Public Record Office — F.A.Ogg & Harold Zink

took off the silk hat … and deposited it on the front seat of the cab — Joseph Conrad

deposits more or less of the matter which it holds in suspension — T.H.Huxley


fix , settle , establish : set suggests to put in place, maybe as a definite and final placing, forming, or making

the patristic system of dogma with the antique philosophy set the forms of medieval expression — H.O.Taylor

fix is likely to suggest stability and permanence

his character, his tastes and his private way of life also are during these years pretty well fixed — J.W.Krutch

slowly his place in the McCoy household had been fixed — Sherwood Anderson

settle implies finality and permanence

both English and French have been settled in their present form roughly since the eighteenth century — Times Literary Supplement

establish on the other hand is likely to connote a combination first of placing and forming and second of furthering and fostering until the thing in question is stable and permanent

by distinguishing what the author assumes from what he establishes through arguments — M.J.Adler

enlarging our personality by establishing new affinities and sympathies with our fellowmen, with nature, and with God — W.R.Inge

- set about

- set abroad

- set apart

- set aside

- set a sponge

- set at

- set at defiance

- set at naught

- set by the ears

- set cock a hoop

- set eyes on

- set flying

- set foot in

- set forth

- set forward

- set home

- set light by

- set naught by

- set on

- set one back

- set one's cap for

- set one's face against

- set one's hand to

- set on foot

- set sail

- set store by

- set taut

- set the palette

- set the temperament

II. adjective

Etymology: Middle English sett, from past participle of setten to set — more at set I


a. : situated , located

a house set on a hilltop

b. : fixed in place

eyes set deep in his head

2. : intent , determined — used with on or upon

set upon going

set on becoming a doctor

3. : pitched

set battle

4. : fixed by authority or appointment

work at a set wage

: prescribed, specified

set forms of worship

set hours of study

set rules of procedure

5. of a style of handwriting : precise, clear, and even

the indictment … which in a set hand fairly is engrossed — Shakespeare

6. : deliberately conceived, composed, or expressed : intentional , premeditated

did it of set purpose

dislike of set speeches

railed on Lady Fortune … in good set terms — Shakespeare

7. : assigned, required

asked to prepare a talk on a set subject

reading set books in preparation for examinations


a. : not open to persuasion or argument : reluctant to change : obstinate

an old man very set in his ways

b. chiefly dialect : disposed or resolved either by natural inclination or act of will

set to lead a virgin's life to my death — Philip Sidney


a. : fixed in position or attitude : immovable , rigid

set line of his jaw

set frown

read in measured, set tones

b. : built-in

10. : remaining unchanged : settled , persistent

set defiance

set rains


a. : prepared , ready

all set for an early morning start

the storm broke before we could get set for it

b. : securely balanced for delivering a blow

continual jabbing kept his opponent from getting set for a good punch

change of pace keeps the batter from getting set

c. : poised to start running or to dive in at the instant the signal is given

ready, set , go

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English set, sett, sette, partly from sett, past participle of setten to set; partly from setten to set; in some senses, from or influenced in meaning by obsolete sette religious body, sect, from Middle French, from Latin secta — more at set , sect I

1. : the descent of a heavenly body below the horizon

that will be ere the set of sun — Shakespeare

2. or sett ˈset Scots law : the constitution of a burgh

3. obsolete : state of being stopped : standstill , check


a. : the first play in the game of dominoes

b. : the first domino played

5. : an instance of being defeated at a contract in bridge

tried for an overtrick at the risk of a set

6. : dead set


a. : the hardening or solidifying of a plastic or liquid substance by chemical action (as of mortar, concrete, cement) or by cooling and drying (as of glue)

b. : the chemical and physical action causing a paint or varnish to become dry and firm

c. : the property of an enamel slip that enables it to form an adherent layer on a metal surface


a. : mental inclination, tendency, or habit : bent

a definite set toward mathematical reasoning

b. : a state of preparedness usually of limited duration for action in response to an anticipated stimulus or situation

mental set which functions in blocking all responses except those suited to the occasion — Arthur Weider

motor set produced by lifting a weight

9. : direction of flow

against the set of the current

the set of public opinion was now strongly toward peace

the current had a northeasterly set

10. : form or carriage of the body or of its parts

formidable set of his shoulders

graceful set of her head

11. : the manner of fitting or of being placed or suspended

carefully adjusting the set of her hat


a. : amount of deflection from a straight line

set of an axle

set of a saw's teeth

or level position

set of a gun aimed for distance

b. : the camber of a curved roofing tile

c. : the camber of a leaf spring

13. : fixed direction of growth

rubbing against the set of the fur


a. : a permanent bend or loss in elasticity

set in a bow

set of a fishing rod

b. : permanent change of form (as of metal) due to repeated or excessive stress — compare fatigue , permanent set


a. : the act of arranging hair by curling or waving when wet with water or wave solution

b. : the result of such arranging

16. : the act or position of a dog in setting game

17. also sett

a. : a young plant or rooted cutting ready for setting out

a set of a strawberry

b. : a small tuber or section of tuber, bulb, or corm

an onion set

potato set

c. : the amount of bloom produced on a plant

d. : the blossoms of a plant (as a fruit tree) that have set fruit as a result of fertilization of the flowers

heavy set of apples

e. : the attachment of young mollusks (as oysters) to the substrate ; also : the crop set at a particular time

18. obsolete : a pleat in a ruff ; also : the manner in which a ruff is pleated

19. : the burrow of a badger

20. : a trap or snare placed to catch game

visit each set daily

21. also sett : shot 1d, 4

22. : the width of the shank of a piece of type ; also : the overall width of a letter — compare point-set , unit-set ; see type illustration

23. also sett

a. : a piece placed temporarily upon the head of a pile that cannot be reached directly by the weight or hammer

b. : set hammer

c. : punch III 1a(3)

d. : snap 11a

24. : the artificially constructed setting in which a stage or television play or motion picture is enacted including decor, properties, and furniture

25. also sett : a rectangular block of granite or sandstone used for paving streets and truck highways

26. : set iron

27. : the finishing coat of plaster


a. : the contents of a fermenting vat just after all ingredients have been added

b. : the pH value of a freshly filled fermenter

29. : set shot

30. : setup 6g


a. : a unit in a tennis match consisting of a group of games of which one side wins six to opponent's four or less or in case of a deuced score wins two consecutive games

b. : a combination of three or more playing cards of the same rank or of the same suit in sequence : meld

32. : a number of things naturally connected by location

set of muscles

set of footprints

or formation

set of teeth

or order in time

set of temperature readings

33. : a collection of books forming a unit: as

a. : the works of one author issued in volumes in uniform style

b. : a file of issues of a periodical

c. : a group of related works on a particular subject or of unrelated volumes printed uniformly and intended to be sold as a group

34. : a number of associated buildings or rooms

set of farm buildings

35. : the eggs laid by a bird for a single incubation or brood : clutch


a. : the number of persons necessary for a square dance

b. : the formation assumed by a group of dancers to start a square dance

c. : a balancing step in country-dance usually done by partners face to face

d. : the music played for a single turn of square, country, or ballroom dancing

between sets … balladeer sings folk songs — New Yorker

37. : a group of musical compositions forming a whole

set of dances

38. : a team of matched horses


a. : a group of articles of uniform design

set of dining room furniture

set of dishes

b. : the complete apparatus or equipment used in a particular process (as gas manufacture)

c. : an assortment of tools or instruments of identical kind

set of drill bits in graded sizes

or complementary relationship

set of drafting tools

set of carpenter's tools

set of golf clubs

d. : a complete collection of articles necessary for playing a game

croquet set

chess set

e. Britain : a string of railway cars of the same exterior style

f. : a group of pumps that are used for lifting water from one level to another

g. : a group comprising breaker, intermediate, and finisher cards used in wool carding

40. : a heavy timber frame for supporting the sides of an excavation, shaft, or tunnel

41. also sett : a standard measurement of the fineness of cloth usually determined by the number of threads in one inch and the number of threads in each dent of the reed


a. : a number of persons associated by custom, occupation, social activity, or age ; collectively : the persons of a specified social type

belonged to the horsy set

the younger married set

b. : a number of associated workers : gang

c. : a small breeding group of domestic animals ; especially : a gander and one or more geese


a. : a series of postage stamps

b. : a group of postage stamps including the lower denominations of a single series


a. : a group formed by classification

set of ideas

set of grammatical forms

b. : a collection of things and especially mathematical elements (as numbers or points) — called also class

45. : an apparatus of electrical or electronic components assembled so as to function as a unit

radio set

television set

amplifying set

sending set

46. : the chromosome complement of a gamete

47. : twelve-tone row

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.