Etymology: Middle English setten, from Old English settan; akin to Old High German sezzen to set, Old English sittan to sit
Date: before 12th century
1. to cause to sit ; place in or on a seat
a. to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them
b. to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator
3. to place (oneself) in position to start running in a race
a. to place with care or deliberate purpose and with relative stability <set a ladder against the wall> <set a stone on the grave> b. transplant 1 <set seedlings> c. (1) to make (as a trap) ready to catch prey (2) to fix (a hook) firmly into the jaw of a fish d. to put aside (as dough containing yeast) for fermenting 5. to direct with fixed attention <set your mind to it> 6. a. to cause to assume a specified condition, relation, or occupation <slaves were set free> <set the house on fire> b. to cause the start of <set a fire> 7. a. to appoint or assign to an office or duty b. post, station 8. to cause to assume a specified posture or position <set the door ajar> 9. a. to fix as a distinguishing imprint, sign, or appearance <the years have set their mark on him> b. affix c. apply <set a match to kindling> 10. to fix or decide on as a time, limit, or regulation ; prescribe <set a wedding day> <set the rules for the game> 11. a. to establish as the highest level or best performance <set a record for the half mile> b. to furnish as a pattern or model <set an example of generosity> c. to allot as a task <setting lessons for the children to work upon at home — Manchester Examiner> 12. a. to adjust (a device and especially a measuring device) to a desired position <set the alarm for 7:00> <set a thermostat at 68>; also to adjust (as a clock) in conformity with a standard b. to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured <set a broken bone> c. to spread to the wind <set the sails> 13. a. to put in order for use <set a place for a guest> b. to make scenically ready for a performance <set the stage> c. (1) to arrange (type) for printing <set type by hand> (2) to put into type or its equivalent (as on film) <set the first word in italic> 14. a. to put a fine edge on by grinding or honing <set a razor> b. to bend slightly the tooth points of (a saw) alternately in opposite directions c. to sink (the head of a nail) below the surface 15. to fix in a desired position (as by heating or stretching) 16. to arrange (hair) in a desired style by using implements (as curlers, rollers, or clips) and gels or lotions 17. a. to adorn with something affixed or infixed ; stud, dot <clear sky set with stars> b. to fix (as a precious stone) in a border of metal ; place in a setting 18. a. to hold something in regard or esteem at the rate of <sets a great deal by daily exercise> b. to place in a relative rank or category <set duty before pleasure> c. to fix at a certain amount <set bail at $500> d. value, rate <their promises were set at naught> e. to place as an estimate of worth <set a high value on life> 19. to place in relation for comparison or balance <theory set against practice> 20. a. to direct to action b. to incite to attack or antagonism <war sets brother against brother> 21. a. to place by transporting <was set ashore on the island> b. to put in motion c. to put and fix in a direction <set our faces toward home once more> d. of a dog to point out the position of (game) by holding a fixed attitude 22. to defeat (an opponent or a contract) in bridge 23. a. to fix firmly ; make immobile ; give rigid form or condition to <set her jaw in determination> b. to make unyielding or obstinate 24. to cause to become firm or solid <set milk for cheese> 25. to cause (as fruit or seed) to develop intransitive verb 1. chiefly dialect sit 2. to be becoming ; be suitable ; fit <the coat sets well> 3. to cover and warm eggs to hatch them 4. a. to affect one with or as if with weight <the pudding sets heavily on my stomach> b. to place oneself in position in preparation for an action (as running) 5. of a plant part to undergo development usually as a result of pollination 6. a. to pass below the horizon ; go down <the sun sets> b. to come to an end <this century sets with little mirth — Thomas Fuller> 7. to apply oneself to some activity <set to work> 8. to have a specified direction in motion ; flow, tend <the wind was setting from Pine Hill to the farm — Esther Forbes> 9. of a dog to indicate the position of game by crouching or pointing 10. to dance face to face with another in a square dance <set to your partner and turn> 11. a. to become solid or thickened by chemical or physical alteration <the cement sets rapidly> b. of a dye or color to become permanent c. of a bone to become whole by growing together II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. the act or action of setting b. the condition of being set 2. a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together <an electric train set> 3. a. mental inclination, tendency, or habit ; bent <a set toward mathematics> b. a state of psychological preparedness to perceive or respond to an anticipated stimulus or situation 4. direction of flow <the set of the wind> 5. form or carriage of the body or of its parts <her face took on a cynical set — Raymond Kennedy> 6. the manner of fitting or of being placed or suspended <in order to give the skirt a pretty set — Mary J. Howell> 7. amount of deflection from a straight line <set of a saw's teeth> 8. permanent change of form (as of metal) due to repeated or excessive stress 9. the act or result of arranging hair by curling or waving 10. (also sett) a. a young plant or rooted cutting ready for transplanting b. a small bulb, corm, or tuber or a piece of tuber used for propagation <onion sets> c. the blossoms of a plant that have set fruit as a result of fertilization 11. (or sett) the burrow of a badger 12. the width of the body of a piece of type 13. an artificial setting for a scene of a theatrical or film production 14. (also sett) a rectangular paving stone of sandstone or granite 15. a division of a tennis match won by the side that wins at least six games beating the opponent by two games or by winning a tiebreaker 16. a collection of books or periodicals forming a unit 17. a clutch of eggs 18. the basic formation in a country-dance or square dance 19. a session of music (as jazz or dance music) usually followed by an intermission; also the music played at one session 20. a group of persons associated by common interests 21. a collection of elements and especially mathematical ones (as numbers or points) — called also class 22. an apparatus of electronic components assembled so as to function as a unit <a television set> 23. a usually offensive formation in football or basketball 24. a group of a specific number of repetitions of a particular exercise III. adjective Etymology: Middle English sett, from Old English gesett, past participle of settan Date: 14th century 1. intent, determined <set upon going> 2. intentional, premeditated <did it of set purpose> 3. fixed by authority or appointment ; prescribed, specified <set hours of study> 4. reluctant to change <set in their ways> 5. a. immovable, rigid <set frown> b. built-in <a set tub> 6. settled, persistent <set defiance> 7. being in readiness ; prepared <set for an early morning start>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.