1 /set/ verb past tense and past participle set PUT DOWN
1 PUT (transitive always + adv/prep) to carefully put something down somewhere, especially something that is difficult to carry: set sth down/on etc: She set the tray down on a table next to his bed.
2 set sth on fire/alight/ablaze to make something start burning: Crowds of youths started overturning cars and setting them on fire.
3 set the pattern/tone/trend to happen or do something in a particular way that is then repeated many times or which continues for a long time: Gabriel's style set the trend for the scores of rock videos that followed.
4 set in motion/progress/train to make something start happening, especially by means of an official order: The government is to set in motion a wide-ranging review of defence spending.
5 set a time/date/price etc to decide that something should happen at a particular time, cost a particular amount of money etc: Have you set a date for the wedding?
6 set guidelines/standards/conditions/limits etc to officially establish rules, standards etc for doing something: standards of hygiene set by the Health Department
7 set a precedent if an event or action sets a precedent, it shows people a way of doing something which they can use or copy: If her claim against her employers is successful, it could set a legal precedent.
8 set sb a task/challenge/goal etc to decide that someone should try and achieve something, especially something that needs a lot of effort: Wilkins then set himself the task of tagging all the birds on the island. | set yourself to do sth: She had set herself to write a novel.
9 GIVE SB A PIECE OF WORK (T) BrE to give someone a piece of work to do, especially a student in your class or someone who works for you: set sb sth: Mr. Phipps set us an essay on the origins of the French Revolution.
10 EXAMINATION (T) BrE to invent questions for students to answer, especially in an examination: Whoever set the questions obviously didn't know much about physics.
11 set to work to start doing something in a determined way, especially something that is difficult and needs a lot of effort: set to work to do sth: They set to work to paint the outside of the building.
(+ on): Davies is about to set to work on a second book.
12 set sb to work to make someone start doing a particular kind of work for you: set sb to work doing sth: Before dawn Harry had set them to work collecting firewood for breakfast.
13 set sb/sth doing sth to make someone start doing something or make something start happening: Her last remark had set me thinking. | The wind set the trees rustling.
14 MOVE PART OF A MACHINE/CLOCK ETC (T) to move part of a machine, clock etc so that it is in a particular position and is ready to be used: Have you set the alarm? | set sth to/at: Just set the dial to `hot wash' and press the `on' button.
15 set the table to arrange plates, knives, cups etc on a table so that it is ready for a meal
16 set a trap
a) to make a trap ready to catch an animal
b) to invent a plan to show that someone is doing something wrong: The FBI set a trap for the Congressmen it believed were taking bribes.
17 FILM/PLAY/STORY (transitive usually passive) if a film, play, story etc is set in a place or period, it happens there or at that time: The novel is set in France in the early 19th century.
18 PRINTING to make the words and letters of a book, newspaper etc ready to be printed: In those days books had to be set by hand.
19 set sth to music to write music for a story or a poem, so that it can be sung
20 set your mind/sights/heart on sth to be determined to achieve something or decide that you definitely want to have it: Once Sharon sets her mind on something, she usually gets what she wants.
21 set yourself against to be determined that you do not want something to happen or you do not want to take part in something: Angie seems to have set herself against the idea completely.
22 set a record to run a race in a faster time than anyone else, jump further than anyone else, win a competition more times than anyone else etc: The Kenyan runner set a new Olympic Record in the 3000 metres.
23 SUN (I) if the sun sets, it moves close to the horizon and then goes below it
24 set an example to behave in a way that shows other people how to behave: Teachers should set an example for their students.
25 set sb straight/right to tell someone the right way to do something or the true facts about something
(+ on): I set him right on one or two points of procedure. —see also: set the record straight straight 2 (7)
26 set sth right to deal with any problems, mistakes etc: I wish you'd been here - you could easily have set things right.
27 set sb free/loose to allow someone to be free, or to allow a dangerous person to escape: Brian Keenan and the other hostages were finally set free.
28 set great store by/set a high value on to consider something to be very important: At my old school they set great store by athletic achievements.
29 LIQUID/GLUE/CEMENT ETC (I) to become hard and solid: How long does it take for the glue to set?
a) (T) if you set a broken bone, you move the broken ends so that they are in the right place to grow together again
b) (I) if a broken bone sets, it joins together again
31 HAIR (T) to arrange someone's hair while it is wet so that it has a particular style when it dries
32 be set into to be fixed into the surface of something: a large brick fireplace which was set into the wall
33 be set with gems etc to be decorated with jewels: a gold bracelet set with rubies
set about phrasal verb (T)
1 to start doing something, especially something that needs a lot of time and effort: set about doing sth: She set about clearing up after the party.
2 to deal with something in a particular way: I think you're setting about the problem in the wrong way.
3 especially literary to attack someone by hitting and kicking them: They set about him with their fists.
set against phrasal verb (T)
1 (set someone against someone) to make someone start to fight or quarrel with another person, especially a person who they had friendly relations with before: The bitter civil war has set brother against brother.
2 (set something off against something) to consider something in relation to another thing, especially when that other thing is very important: The recent improvement in output has to be set against increased labour costs.
3 set sth (off) against tax to make an official record of the money you have spent on something connected with your job, in order to reduce the amount of tax you have to pay
set apart phrasal verb (T)
1 (set someone/something apart) to make someone or something different and often better than other people or things: It is man's ability to think which sets him apart from other animals.
2 (set something apart) to keep something for a special purpose and only use it for that purpose: Regular times should be set apart for seeing patients.
set sth aside phrasal verb (T)
1 to keep something, especially money or time, for a special purpose and only use it for that purpose
(+ for): Try to set aside at least an hour each day for learning new vocabulary. | a room that had been set aside for visitors
2 to decide that you will not be influenced by a particular feeling, belief, or principle, because something else is more important: Congress ought to set aside its political differences to pass a health care bill.
3 to declare that a previous legal decision or agreement no longer has any effect: The judge set aside the verdict of the lower court.
set back phrasal verb (T)
1 (set someone/something back) to delay the progress or development of something, or delay someone from finishing something: The cultural revolution set back the modernization of China by many years.
2 (set someone back) informal to cost someone a lot of money: The new laptop from Toshiba will set you back a cool $2000.
set down phrasal verb (T)
1 (set something down) to write about something so that you have a record of it: I wanted to set my feelings down on paper.
2 (set something down) to establish how something should be done in an official set of rules or an official document: The club rules are set down in its constitution.
3 (set someone down) BrE to stop a car, bus etc and allow someone to get out: The driver set her down at the station.
set forth phrasal verb
1 (transitive set something forth) formal to write or talk about an idea, argument, or set of figures: Rousseau set forth his theories on education in his book `Emile'.
2 (I) literary to begin a journey: They were about to set forth on a voyage into the unknown.
set in phrasal verb (I) if something sets in, especially something unpleasant, it begins and seems likely to continue for a long time: Winter seems to be setting in early this year. | A period of further economic decline set in during the 1930s. set off phrasal verb
1 (I) to start to go somewhere: I wanted to set off early in order to avoid the traffic. | The old man set off down the path towards the river.
2 (transitive set something off) to make something start happening or make people suddenly start doing something, especially when you do not intend to do so: The incident set off a chain of events which resulted in the outbreak of World War I. | News of the deal set off a flurry of activity on Wall Street.
3 (transitive set something off) to make something such as an alarm system start operating, especially when you do not intend to do so: The high winds set off a lot of car alarms.
4 (transitive set something off) to make a bomb explode, or cause an explosion: The slightest movement would have set off the device and blown us all sky high.
5 (transitive set something off) if a piece of clothing, colour, decoration etc sets something off, it makes it look attractive: a stylish beige dress, set off by a blue jacket and scarf
6 (transitive set someone off) to make someone start laughing, crying, or talking about something: Don't mention anything about weddings - you'll only set her off again.
set on phrasal verb (transitive set someone on/onto someone) to make people or animals attack someone: The farmer threatened to set his dogs on them if they didn't get off his land. | be set on/upon by sb (=be suddenly attacked by people or animals): He was set on by a gang of hooligans as he was leaving the bar. set out phrasal verb
1 (I) to start a journey, especially a long journey: Columbus and his crew set out from Europe in 1492.
(+ for): We packed our rucksacks and set out for the hills.
2 set out to do sth to start doing something or making plans to do something in order to achieve a particular result: She deliberately set out to poison her husband. | set out with the intention of doing sth: They set out with the intention of becoming the number one team in the league.
3 (transitive set something out) to write or talk about something such as a group of facts, ideas, or reasons, especially in a clearly organized way: He set out the reasons for his decision in his report. | The guidelines are set out in paragraph two.
4 (transitive set something out) to put a group of things down and arrange them in order: Aunti Lou set out the dinner on the table.
5 set out on a career/course of action to start a particular kind of job or start doing something in a particular way: My nephew is just setting out on a career in journalism.
set to phrasal verb (I) BrE to start doing something eagerly and with a lot of effort and determination: If we all set to, we can finish the cleaning in half an hour set up phrasal verb
1 COMPANY/ORGANIZATION ETC (I, T) to start a company, organization, committee etc; establish: set sth up: The Race Relations Board was originally set up in 1965. | They want to set up their own import-export business. | set up as (=start your own business as): John used his inheritance to set up as a graphic designer. | set up shop/set up in business (=begin operating a business): We mortgaged our house and set up shop with the money from that.
2 ARRANGE/ORGANIZE (transitive set something up) to make the necessary arrangements so that something can happen, such as a meeting, an event, or a system for doing something: I'll get my secretary to set up a working lunch for us. | There was a lot of work involved in setting up the festival. | We need to set up emergency procedures to deal with this sort of problem.
3 EQUIPMENT (I, T) to prepare the equipment that will be needed for an activity so that it is ready to be used: The next band was already setting up on the other stage. | set sth up: Does anyone know how to set up this generator? | Why don't you set up the Monopoly game while I finish washing the dishes?
4 BUILD/PUT UP (transitive set something up) to place or build something such as a sign or statue somewhere: The army has set up road blocks round the city.
5 set up home/house to start living in your own home, especially with someone else, instead of living with your parents: Lucy and Paul are thinking of setting up house together.
6 set up camp
a) to put up a tent or group of tents in a place so that you can stay there: We set up camp near the shore of the lake.
b) informal to move all your things to a place so that you can start to live or work there: She's set up camp in my office.
7 MAKE SB SEEM GUILTY (transitive set someone up) informal to deliberately make other people think that someone has done something wrong, or illegal: The four terrorists claimed they had been set up by the police.
8 HEALTHY/FULL OF ENERGY (transitive set someone up) to make you feel healthy and full of energy: set sb up for the day: A good breakfast will set you up for the day.
9 set sb up for life informal if something sets you up for life, it provides you with enough money for the rest of your life: In a few more years you should be set up for life.
10 START HAPPENING (transitive set up something) especially technical to make a condition or a process start happening: If one reactor has a meltdown, it could set up a chain reaction. | Stimulation of the sensory receptors sets up neural activity.
11 NOISE set up a commotion/din/racket etc to start making a loud, unpleasant noise: At this, the two babies set up a tremendous howling.
2 noun
1 GROUP OF THINGS (C) a group of things that form a whole: a chess set
(+ of): a set of tools | We are now facing a whole new set of problems.
2 TELEVISION/RADIO (C) a television, or a piece of equipment for receiving radio signals: a colour television set
—see also: crystal set
3 STAGE (C) the scenery, furniture etc that is put on a stage to represent where the action of the play is taking place: The play wasn't that good but the set was impressive.
4 FILM (C) a place where a film or television programme is acted and filmed: Everyone must be on the set to start filming at eight o'clock.
5 SPORT (C) one part of a game such as tennis or volleyball: Agassi won the second set 6 - 4.
6 MUSIC (C) a series of songs performed by one band or singer as part of a concert
7 HAIR (singular) an act of arranging your hair in a particular style when it is wet: a shampoo and set (=washing the hair and arranging it in a style)
8 PEOPLE (singular) a group of people with similar interests: Joanna got in with a rather wild set at college.
—see also: jet set
9 FIRMNESS (singular) the state of becoming firm or solid: You'll get a better set if you use gelatine.
10 PART OF BODY (C) the way in which you are sitting, standing etc, especially when you look stiff
(+ of): From the set of her shoulders it was obvious that Sue was exhausted.
11 STUDENTS (C) BrE a group of children who have the same level of ability in a subject at school: Adam's in the top set for maths.
12 MATHS (C) technical a collection of numbers etc in mathematics: The set (x,y) has two members.
13 ONION (C) a small brown root planted in order to grow onions: onion sets
3 adjective
1 PLACED being in the position that is mentioned: a town set on a hill | Diane had very deep-set eyes. | a house set back from the road
2 WAGE/TIME a set time, amount etc is fixed and cannot be changed: We pay a set amount each week.
3 a set book/text etc BrE a book that must be studied for an examination
—see also: set 1 (10)
4 a set menu/meal BrE a set meal has a fixed price and includes a combination of foods that the restaurant suggests
5 be set on/upon/against to be very determined about something: Nina's very set on going to this party. | be dead set on/upon/against: The government's dead set against the plan.
6 have your heart set on sth to be determined to do something: She's got her heart set on going to France this summer.
7 READY (only after noun) informal someone who is set for something is prepared for it: set for sth: Are you all set for the journey? | set to do sth: I was all set to leave when the phone rang. | get set (=get ready): “On your marks - get set - go!” said the starter. | all set: Okay, I'm all set, let's get going.
8 set smile/teeth/jaw a set smile etc shows that you are not happy about something or are determined to do something: Gloria greeted her guests with a set smile.
9 set opinions/beliefs etc set opinions or beliefs are ones you are not likely to change
10 be set in your ways to be used to doing the same things every day: Uncle's 80 now and very set in his ways.
11 set to (do sth) likely to do something: The temperature is set to drop very low tonight. | This issue is set to cause the government serious embarrassment.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • set — set …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Set — (s[e^]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Set}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Setting}.] [OE. setten, AS. setton; akin to OS. settian, OFries. setta, D. zetten, OHG. sezzen, G. setzen, Icel. setja, Sw. s[ a]tta, Dan. s?tte, Goth. satjan; causative from the root of E.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Set — (s[e^]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Set}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Setting}.] [OE. setten, AS. setton; akin to OS. settian, OFries. setta, D. zetten, OHG. sezzen, G. setzen, Icel. setja, Sw. s[ a]tta, Dan. s?tte, Goth. satjan; causative from the root of E.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • set — /set/, v., set, setting, n., adj., interj. v.t. 1. to put (something or someone) in a particular place: to set a vase on a table. 2. to place in a particular position or posture: Set the baby on his feet. 3. to place in some relation to something …   Universalium

  • set — [ sɛt ] n. m. • 1893; mot anglais I ♦ Anglic. Manche d un match de tennis, de ping pong, de volley ball. Gagner le premier set. Partie de tennis en cinq sets. Balle de set, qui décide du gain du set. II ♦ Set ou set de table : ensemble des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • set — Ⅰ. set [1] ► VERB (setting; past and past part. set) 1) put, lay, or stand in a specified place or position. 2) put, bring, or place into a specified state. 3) cause or instruct (someone) to do something. 4) give someone (a task) …   English terms dictionary

  • set — [set] vt. set, setting [ME setten < OE settan (akin to Ger setzen & Goth satjan < Gmc * satjan), caus. formation “to cause to sit” < base of SIT] 1. to place in a sitting position; cause to sit; seat 2. a) to cause (a fowl) to sit on… …   English World dictionary

  • set*/*/*/ — [set] (past tense and past participle set) verb I 1) [T] to put someone or something in a position, or to be in a particular place or position Tea s ready, he told them and set down the tray.[/ex] She set the baby on the floor to play.[/ex] 2)… …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • Set — (s[e^]t), v. i. 1. To pass below the horizon; to go down; to decline; to sink out of sight; to come to an end. [1913 Webster] Ere the weary sun set in the west. Shak. [1913 Webster] Thus this century sets with little mirth, and the next is likely …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Set — has 464 separate definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary, the most of any English word; its full definition comprises 10,000 words making it the longest definition in the OED. Set may refer to:In mathematics and science:*Set (mathematics), a …   Wikipedia

  • Set! — jeu de société Trouverez vous les 4 sets ? (solution en bas de page) {{{licence}}} Auteur Marsha Falco Éditeur …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.