set Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a group of things of the same kind that belong together and are so used
    • a set of books
    • a set of golf clubs
    • a set of teeth
  2. noun (mathematics) an abstract collection of numbers or symbols
    • the set of prime numbers is infinite
  3. noun several exercises intended to be done in series
    exercise set.
    • he did four sets of the incline bench press
  4. noun representation consisting of the scenery and other properties used to identify the location of a dramatic production
    stage set.
    • the sets were meticulously authentic
  5. noun an unofficial association of people or groups
    band; circle; lot.
    • the smart set goes there
    • they were an angry lot
  6. noun a relatively permanent inclination to react in a particular way
    • the set of his mind was obvious
  7. noun the act of putting something in position
    • he gave a final set to his hat
  8. noun a unit of play in tennis or squash
    • they played two sets of tennis after dinner
  9. noun the process of becoming hard or solid by cooling or drying or crystallization
    solidifying; curing; hardening; solidification.
    • the hardening of concrete
    • he tested the set of the glue
  10. noun evil Egyptian god with the head of a beast that has high square ears and a long snout; brother and murderer of Osiris
  11. noun the descent of a heavenly body below the horizon
    • before the set of sun
  12. noun (psychology) being temporarily ready to respond in a particular way
    • the subjects' set led them to solve problems the familiar way and to overlook the simpler solution
    • his instructions deliberately gave them the wrong set
  13. noun any electronic equipment that receives or transmits radio or tv signals
    • the early sets ran on storage batteries
  14. verb put into a certain place or abstract location
    pose; place; lay; put; position.
    • Put your things here
    • Set the tray down
    • Set the dogs on the scent of the missing children
    • Place emphasis on a certain point
  15. verb fix conclusively or authoritatively
    • set the rules
  16. verb decide upon or fix definitely
    fix; limit; determine; specify; define.
    • fix the variables
    • specify the parameters
  17. verb establish as the highest level or best performance
    • set a record
  18. verb put into a certain state; cause to be in a certain state
    • set the house afire
  19. verb fix in a border
    • The goldsmith set the diamond
  20. verb make ready or suitable or equip in advance for a particular purpose or for some use, event, etc
    prepare; fix; set up; gear up; ready.
    • Get the children ready for school!
    • prepare for war
    • I was fixing to leave town after I paid the hotel bill
  21. verb set to a certain position or cause to operate correctly
    • set clocks or instruments
  22. verb locate
    localize; localise; place.
    • The film is set in Africa
  23. verb disappear beyond the horizon
    go down; go under.
    • the sun sets early these days
  24. verb adapt for performance in a different way
    • set this poem to music
  25. verb put or set (seeds, seedlings, or plants) into the ground
    • Let's plant flowers in the garden
  26. verb apply or start
    • set fire to a building
  27. verb become gelatinous
    congeal; jell.
    • the liquid jelled after we added the enzyme
  28. verb set in type
    • My book will be typeset nicely
    • set these words in italics
  29. verb put into a position that will restore a normal state
    • set a broken bone
  30. verb insert (a nail or screw below the surface, as into a countersink)
  31. verb give a fine, sharp edge to a knife or razor
  32. verb urge to attack someone
    • The owner sicked his dogs on the intruders
    • the shaman sics sorcerers on the evil spirits
  33. verb estimate
    put; place.
    • We put the time of arrival at 8 P.M.
  34. verb equip with sails or masts
    rig; set up.
    • rig a ship
  35. verb get ready for a particular purpose or event
    lay out; set up.
    • set up an experiment
    • set the table
    • lay out the tools for the surgery
  36. verb alter or regulate so as to achieve accuracy or conform to a standard
    adjust; correct.
    • Adjust the clock, please
    • correct the alignment of the front wheels
  37. verb bear fruit
    • the apple trees fructify
  38. verb arrange attractively
    do; coiffe; coif; coiffure; dress; arrange.
    • dress my hair for the wedding
  39. adjective satellite (usually followed by `to' or `for') on the point of or strongly disposed
    primed; fit.
    • in no fit state to continue
    • fit to drop
    • laughing fit to burst
    • she was fit to scream
    • primed for a fight
    • we are set to go at any time
  40. adjective satellite fixed and unmoving
    rigid; fixed.
    • with eyes set in a fixed glassy stare
    • his bearded face already has a set hollow look"- Connor Cruise O'Brien
    • a face rigid with pain
  41. adjective satellite situated in a particular spot or position
    located; situated; placed.
    • valuable centrally located urban land
    • strategically placed artillery
    • a house set on a hilltop
    • nicely situated on a quiet riverbank
  42. adjective satellite set down according to a plan:"a carefully laid table with places set for four people"
    • stones laid in a pattern
  43. adjective satellite being below the horizon
    • the moon is set
  44. adjective satellite determined or decided upon as by an authority
    determined; dictated.
    • date and place are already determined
    • the dictated terms of surrender
    • the time set for the launching
  45. adjective satellite converted to solid form (as concrete)


Set transitive verb
OE. setten, AS. setton; akin to OS. settian, OFries. setta, D. zetten, OHG. sezzen, G. setzen, Icel. setja, Sw. sätta, Dan. stte, Goth. satjan; causative from the root of E. sit. 154. See Sit, and cf. Seize.
imperfect & past participle Set; present participle & verbal noun Setting
  1. To cause to sit; to make to assume a specified position or attitude; to give site or place to; to place; to put; to fix; as, to set a house on a stone foundation; to set a book on a shelf; to set a dish on a table; to set a chest or trunk on its bottom or on end.
    I do set my bow in the cloud. Gen. ix. 13.
  2. Hence, to attach or affix (something) to something else, or in or upon a certain place.
    Set your affection on things above. Col. iii. 2.
    The Lord set a mark upon Cain. Gen. iv. 15.
  3. To make to assume specified place, condition, or occupation; to put in a certain condition or state (described by the accompanying words); to cause to be.
    The Lord thy God will set thee on hihg. Deut. xxviii. 1.
    I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother. Matt. x. 35.
    Every incident sets him thinking. Coleridge.
  4. To fix firmly; to make fast, permanent, or stable; to render motionless; to give an unchanging place, form, or condition to. Specifically: -- (a) To cause to stop or stick; to obstruct; to fsten to a spot; hence, to occasion difficulty to; to embarrass; as, to set a coach in the mud.
    They show how hard they are set in this particular. Addison.
    (b) To fix beforehand; to determine; hence, to make unyielding or obstinate; to render stiff, unpliant, or rigid; as, to set one's countenance.
    His eyes were set by reason of his age. 1 Kings xiv. 4.
    On these three objects his heart was set. Macaulay.
    Make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint. Tennyson.
    (c) To fix in the ground, as a post or a tree; to plant; as, to set pear trees in an orchard. (d) To fix, as a precious stone, in a border of metal; to place in a setting; hence, to place in or amid something which serves as a setting; as, to set glass in a sash.
    And him too rich a jewel to be set In vulgar metal for a vulgar use. Dryden.
    (e) To render stiff or solid; especially, to convert into curd; to curdle; as, to set milk for cheese.
  5. To put into a desired position or condition; to adjust; to regulate; to adapt. Specifically: -- to set a table (a) To put in order in a particular manner; to prepare; as, to set (that is, to hone) a razor; to set a saw.
    Tables for to sette, and beddes make. Chaucer.
    (b) To extend and bring into position; to spread; as, to set the sails of a ship. (c) To give a pitch to, as a tune; to start by fixing the keynote; as, to set a psalm. Fielding. (d) To reduce from a dislocated or fractured state; to replace; as, to set a broken bone. (e) To make to agree with some standard; as, to set a watch or a clock. (f) (Masonry) To lower into place and fix silidly, as the blocks of cut stone in a structure.
  6. To stake at play; to wager; to risk.
    I have set my life upon a cast, And I will stand the hazard of the die. Shak.
  7. To fit with music; to adapt, as words to notes; to prepare for singing.
    Set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute. Dryden.
  8. To determine; to appoint; to assign; to fix; as, to set a time for a meeting; to set a price on a horse.
  9. To adorn with something infixed or affixed; to stud; to variegate with objects placed here and there.
    High on their heads, with jewels richly set, Each lady wore a radiant coronet. Dryden.
    Pastoral dales thin set with modern farms. Wordsworth.
  10. To value; to rate; -- with at.
    Be you contented, wearing now the garland, To have a son set your decrees at naught. Shak.
    I do not set my life at a pin's fee. Shak.
  11. To point out the seat or position of, as birds, or other game; -- said of hunting dogs.
  12. To establish as a rule; to furnish; to prescribe; to assign; as, to set an example; to set lessons to be learned.
  13. To suit; to become; as, it sets him ill. Scot.
  14. (Print.) To compose; to arrange in words, lines, etc.; as, to set type; to set a page. Syn. -- See Put.
Set intransitive verb
  1. To pass below the horizon; to go down; to decline; to sink out of sight; to come to an end.
    Ere the weary sun set in the west. Shak.
    Thus this century sets with little mirth, and the next is likely to arise with more mourning. Fuller.
  2. To fit music to words. Obs. Shak.
  3. To place plants or shoots in the ground; to plant. "To sow dry, and set wet." Old Proverb.
  4. To be fixed for growth; to strike root; to begin to germinate or form; as, cuttings set well; the fruit has set well (i. e., not blasted in the blossom).
  5. To become fixed or rigid; to be fastened.
    A gathering and serring of the spirits together to resist, maketh the teeth to set hard one against another. Bacon.
  6. To congeal; to concrete; to solidify.
    That fluid substance in a few minutes begins to set. Boyle.
  7. To have a certain direction in motion; to flow; to move on; to tend; as, the current sets to the north; the tide sets to the windward.
  8. To begin to move; to go out or forth; to start; -- now followed by out.
    The king is set from London. Shak.
  9. To indicate the position of game; -- said of a dog; as, the dog sets well; also, to hunt game by the aid of a setter.
  10. To apply one's self; to undertake earnestly; -- now followed by out.
    If he sets industriously and sincerely to perform the commands of Christ, he can have no ground of doubting but it shall prove successful to him. Hammond.
  11. To fit or suit one; to sit; as, the coat sets well. Colloquially used, but improperly, for sit. ✍ The use of the verb set for sit in such expressions as, the hen is setting on thirteen eggs; a setting hen, etc., although colloquially common, and sometimes tolerated in serious writing, is not to be approved.
Set adjective
  1. Fixed in position; immovable; rigid; as, a set line; a set countenance.
  2. Firm; unchanging; obstinate; as, set opinions or prejudices.
  3. Regular; uniform; formal; as, a set discourse; a set battle. "The set phrase of peace." Shak.
  4. Established; prescribed; as, set forms of prayer.
  5. Adjusted; arranged; formed; adapted.
Set noun
  1. The act of setting, as of the sun or other heavenly body; descent; hence, the close; termination. "Locking at the set of day." Tennyson.
    The weary sun hath made a golden set. Shak.
  2. That which is set, placed, or fixed. Specifically: -- (a) A young plant for growth; as, a set of white thorn. (b) That which is staked; a wager; a venture; a stake; hence, a game at venture. Obs. or R.
    We will in France, by God's grace, play a set Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard. Shak.
    That was but civil war, an equal set. Dryden.
    (c) (Mech.) Permanent change of figure in consequence of excessive strain, as from compression, tension, bending, twisting, etc.; as, the set of a spring. (d) A kind of punch used for bending, indenting, or giving shape to, metal; as, a saw set. (e) (Pile Driving) A piece placed temporarily upon the head of a pile when the latter cannot be reached by the weight, or hammer, except by means of such an intervening piece. Often incorrectly written sett. (f) (Carp.) A short steel spike used for driving the head of a nail below the surface.
  3. Perhaps due to confusion with sect, sept. A number of things of the same kind, ordinarily used or classed together; a collection of articles which naturally complement each other, and usually go together; an assortment; a suit; as, a set of chairs, of china, of surgical or mathematical instruments, of books, etc. In this sense, sometimes incorrectly written sett.
  4. A number of persons associated by custom, office, common opinion, quality, or the like; a division; a group; a clique. "Others of our set." Tennyson.
    This falls into different divisions, or sets, of nations connected under particular religions. R. P. Ward.
  5. Direction or course; as, the set of the wind, or of a current.
  6. In dancing, the number of persons necessary to execute a quadrille; also, the series of figures or movements executed.
  7. The deflection of a tooth, or of the teeth, of a saw, which causes the the saw to cut a kerf, or make an opening, wider than the blade.
  8. (a) A young oyster when first attached. (b) Collectively, the crop of young oysters in any locality.
  9. (Tennis) A series of as many games as may be necessary to enable one side to win six. If at the end of the tenth game the score is a tie, the set is usually called a deuce set, and decided by an application of the rules for playing off deuce in a game. See Deuce.
  10. (Type Founding) That dimension of the body of a type called by printers the width. Syn. -- Collection; series; group. See Pair.

Webster 1913