Michael Lafreniere, Setless Architecture

Michael Lafreniere founded Setless Architecture in 2010 after working for Hariri Pontarini and Taylor Smyth Architects. Michael is a registered architect and a member of the RAIC.

Setless is a made up word; intended as the opposite of set. The name is intended to conjure a sense of resistance to norms and a resistance to stasis. In practice, the firm seeks to re-imagine plan, form and utility and provide innovative design solutions for its clients.

Michael Completed his studies at The Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art in New York city where he served as a guest juror. Prior to that, he studied at Parsons School of Design and OCAD university.

In addition to his duties at Setless, Michael is a founder partner and board member of the Visionary Rails initiative. Visionary Rails is a citizen intuitive to stimulate proposals for the creative use of underutilized infrastructure in the future development of the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

set, n.1

Pronunciation:  /sɛt/
Forms:  Also ME sete, ME–15 sette, (15 seat), ME– (now prevalent in many technical senses) sett.
Etymology:  < set v.1, partly directly from the verb-stem, and partly a subst. use of set adj.1; the two formations cannot always be distinguished.

Old English had set   (neuter) seat (in singular place of setting of the sun; in plural setu  , seotu   collect. in the senses camp, stable or cowhouse), corresponding to Old High German seȥ   (neuter) seat (Middle High German seȥ   (neuter, masculine) seat, siege, modern German sess   (masculine), seat), Old Norse set   (neuter) abode < Germanic *seto-m  , < *set-  : see sit v.   It is doubtful whether this survived beyond Old English; the rare early Middle English sette   seat appears to be (as the rhyme shows in one instance) an irregular spelling for sete  seat n.   Sense 1   below can hardly have been influenced by the Old English word, as this occurs (in singular) only in phrases e.g. to sete gán   (= to set), and the dative n. would have become sēte   in early Middle English. On the other hand, sense 1   may be partly due to an adoption of Old Norse -setr   (neuter), -seta   (feminine) (in dagsetr  , sólarsetr  , -seta  : see sunset n.   and compare saeter n.), which are cognate with Old English set.

 I. The action of setting or condition of being set.

 a. The act of setting (of a luminary); the apparent descent of the heavenly bodies towards the horizon at the close of their diurnal period. Now only poet. except in sunset n.

c1386   Chaucer Clerk's Tale 718  At day set he on his way is goon.
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis III. 257  Riht evene upon the Sonne set.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 2045  And so to sett of þe son sesid þai neuire.
1592   S. Daniel Complaint Rosamond in Wks. (1717) 39  This fair Morning had a shameful Set.
1594   M. Drayton Ideas Mirrour sig. H,  Till mee, if euer since the world begunne, So faire a Morning had so foule a set?
a1616   Shakespeare Henry V (1623) iv. i. 269  But [the King] like a Lacquey, from the Rise to Set, Sweates in the eye of Phebus.
a1616   Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) i. i. 5  That will be ere the set of Sunne.
1618   G. Chapman tr. Hesiod Georgicks ii. 366  The Seuen-stars, and the Fiue, That twixt the Bulls hornes, at their set arriue.
1655   Ld. Orrery Parthenissa IV. ii. vii. 704  The Sun was five hours from his Set.
1724   A. Ramsay Vision in Ever Green I. xvii,  Frae the sun's rysing to his sett.
1812   H. F. Cary tr. Dante Purgatorio xviii. 80  When they of Rome behold him [the sun] at his set Betwixt Sardinia and the Corsic isle.
1834   A. E. Bray Warleigh III. vi. 74  The sun had already made a ‘fiery set’.
1845   C. Sumner True Grandeur Nations (1846) 13  Between the rise and set of a single sun.

 b.   set of day n.  (a) the time at which the sun sets;  (b) the west.

1623   W. Lisle in tr. Ælfric Saxon Treat. Old & New Test. Ded. xv,  Thou..shalt..Extend thy fame fro Set to Spring of day.
1830   Tennyson Adeline in Poems 70  Looking at the set of day.
1868   J. T. Nettleship Ess. Browning's Poetry v. 127  At set of day.
1885   R. Bridges Eros & Psyche i. xxiii. 10  Looked left and right to rise and set of day.

 c. fig. of the close of life.

1635   A. Stafford Femall Glory 13  Anna..being then in the occident, or set of life.
1655   H. L'Estrange Reign King Charles 6  Yet can they never deny but that admired serenity had its set in a cloud.

2. ? A setting oneself to fight, encounter, attack. Obs.

c1330   R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 15658  Wyþ Cadwaly so harde he met, & Cadwalyn fley atte ferste set.

 a. Letting, lease. Sc. Obs.

1439   in J. D. Marwick Charters Edinb. (1871) 64  Sindry alde charteris, takis, and settis of feefedorme made to thaim.
1471   in T. Thomson Acts Lords Auditors (1839) 14/2  Þat he sall haue na dale nor entrometing þarwith..without þt he optene tak & set þarof.
1476   in T. Thomson Acts Lords Auditors (1839) 41/1  Dauid allegiand at þe said landis of logycarroch belangit him be Resone of Sete.
1583   Exch. Rolls Scot. XXI. 564  Thair was ane set maid of the kingis majesties landis.
a1614   J. Melville Autobiogr. & Diary (1842) 11  Be whome they might gett a new sett and possessioun of thay teind fisches.
a1639   J. Spottiswood Hist. Church Scotl. (1655) 452  He should not delapidate his Benefice..nor make any set, or disposition thereof.
[1886   Act 49 & 50 Vict. c. 50 §3  ‘Lease’ [in this Act] shall include tack and set.]

 b. (Usually sett.) A mining lease. Chiefly Cornwall. (Cf. 21.)

1713   London Gaz. No. 5141/4,  The Setts heretofore made of the Copper-works..will determine at Michaelmas next.
1778   W. Pryce Mineralogia Cornubiensis 326  A Set..sometimes..implies the deed or lease by which they enjoy the premises.
1855   J. R. Leifchild Cornwall: Mines & Miners 241  The sett, or lease, frequently extends to twenty-one years.
1891   Labour Commission Gloss.,  Sett quarries, a number of mines or quarries taken on lease.

 4. Sc. Law. The action of setting to sale (see quots.).

1693   J. Dalrymple Inst. Law Scotl. (ed. 2) i. xvi. 135   A Roup at the half or major part of the Owners against the rest, or a Set at any of the Owners instance against the whole, either to take his part at such a rate, or [etc.].
1838   W. Bell Dict. Law Scotl. at Sett,  Where the owners of a ship disagree as to the manner in which a vessel is to be employed, or where one of the owners is desirous to sell his share, he usually offers it, at a certain price, to the other owners; and failing an extrajudicial arrangement, an action of sett is competent.

 a. The condition of being stopped or checked; a check. Phr. at a set, at a standstill, in difficulties, nonplussed (cf. 10e); hard or sore set (Sc.), a serious check or set-back (cf. phr. s.v. set v.1).

1613   S. Purchas Pilgrimage iii. iv. 211  Our Gull-gallants..who would sometimes be at a sette in their braue and brauing phrases, if they should not haue varietie of oathes and curses.
1642   D. Rogers Naaman 87  He is at a set, and knows not what to make of it.
c1680   Mem. Mrs. Veitch, etc. (1846) 26 (E.D.D.)  They were both against it, which gave my faith a sore set.
1751   R. Paltock Life Peter Wilkins I. xii. 118  It rose so steep..that I was at a Set upon the first Entrance.
1768   A. Ross Helenore (1789) 45  Great may the hardships be, that she has met, Gotten for my sake so hard a set.
1768   A. Ross Helenore (1789) 70,  I shanna tell you..How sad the set was, that my heart did get.

 b. Bowls. (See quot. 1876   and rub n.1 2a.)

1876   Encycl. Brit. IV. 180/2  A ‘rub’ or ‘set’ is when a jack or bowl, in transitu, comes in contact with any object on the green.

c. Mech. (See quot. 1764.)

1764   K. Fitzgerald in Philos. Trans. 1763 (Royal Soc.) 53 156   The stop, or sett, generally in large engines, when the ends of the leaver come to the springs, is a defect that has been endeavoured to be remedied.

 6. The act of a dog in setting game. (Cf. 10f.)

1699   A. Boyer Royal Dict. at Arrest,  A Dog that makes a fine set.
1737   H. Bracken Farriery Improved xxxvii. 527  Their little Dogs make a Set at them, in the Manner of Setting-Dogs.
1897   Badminton Mag. Apr. 448  All your senses tingle as you go to the set, and encourage the statue~like animal to go on.
1897   Outing 29 479/2  Only twenty years ago the term ‘set’ was in general use. A sportsman, especially an old-timer, when a setter paused on game, would then say ‘There's a set!’

 a. = dead set n. at sense 10.

1829   Examiner 609/1  ‘A set’ is made upon him of the most inveterate and splenetic character.
1850   J. Chubb On Constr. Locks & Keys 17  When ‘a set’ is made at a bank, every information is..sought for, by the burglars.
1857   A. Mathews Tea-table Talk I. 136  On one occasion, at a noble table, a great set was made at him.
1857   A. S. Mayhew Paved with Gold ii. x,  A direct set upon Phil was made by the satirical young rogues.
1887   W. E. Norris Major & Minor xxiii,  No one could say that Miss N. was making a set at him.

 b. A grudge. Chiefly in phr. to have (or take) a set on (a person) , to have a grudge against. Austral. and N.Z. colloq. Cf. set v.1 125b.

1903   ‘T. Collins’ Such is Life i. 15  ‘Has n't Warrigal Alf got a set on you too?’ asked Thompson coldly.
1941   S. J. Baker Pop. Dict. Austral. Slang 64  Set, a grudge against (someone), e.g., ‘have a set on someone’.
1946   K. Tennant Lost Haven (1947) xiv. 228  If the Old Man hadn't tried to give Mark Thorne such particular hell when he was starting his shop, perhaps Thorne wouldn't have taken a set on all the Sudermans... If he hadn't the set on the Sudermans..he wouldn't have wanted to cut off his nose to spite his face.
1948   D. Ballantyne Cunninghams ii. vi. 187  He had a bit of a set on Frank and Sydney and was always pinching their cheeks and telling them they were young roughnecks.

 8. (Usually sett.) A form of power used by shipwrights: see quots.

1794   D. Steel Elements & Pract. Rigging & Seamanship I. 10  The sett is made by driving wedges between the head or heel of the shore.
1794   D. Steel Elements & Pract. Rigging & Seamanship I. 19  Both must be set close together with cross-setts.
1815   W. Burney Falconer's Dict. Marine,  Setts, in mast-making denotes powers made use of, where force is required to bring or unite two or more pieces together, and is performed by screws, shores, cross-setts, or cleats.
1874   S. J. P. Thearle Naval Archit. 83  A ‘set’ or pressure is obtained by means of other pins driven and wedged into holes on the opposite side of the angle-iron.

 a. The action of setting or hardening, or the condition of being set. to take a set : to set.

1837   J. T. Smith tr. L. J. Vicat Pract. & Sci. Treat. Mortars & Cements 53  The ‘time of set’ may sometimes transgress the prescribed limits.
1839   Civil Engineer & Architect's Jrnl. 2 69/1  Before the cement was perfectly hardened and had taken a set.
1923   Rep. Progr. Appl. Chem. VIII. 231  The time of set has been found to depend upon the proportion of combined water..in the hydrated calcium aluminate.
1923   Rep. Progr. Appl. Chem. VIII. 23  Removal of water..results in the time of set being reduced.
1957   V. J. Kehoe Technique Film & Television Make-up xii. 149  Warm weather hastens the set of the material, so chilling the bowl is advisable to slow down the set.
1963   D. Seton Essent. Mod. Cookery 156  The use of lemon juice or citric or tartaric acid is essential to ensure a good set [in marmalade].

 b. initial set (Building), a condition attained by cement when it begins to stiffen, but before hardening commences.

1891   T. Potter Concrete (ed. 2) I. iii. 104   If a plasterer finds his mortar for stucco is becoming too stiff..the initial set has commenced.
1927   Engineer 5 Aug. 143/2  At the completion of the operation the concrete has taken an initial set.
1953   Van den Branden & Knowles Plastering iv. 98  The initial set of Portland cement mortar occurs about two to three hours after the dry materials have been wetted.
 10.   dead set n. often in phr. to make a dead set at .

a. slang. (See quots.)

1725   New Canting Dict.,  Set, as Dead Set, a Term used by Thief-catchers when they have a Certainty of seizing some of their Clients.
1785   F. Grose Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue,  Set, a dead set, a concerted scheme to defraud a person by gaming.

b. A fixed look. Obs.

1781   G. Parker View of Society I. 196  The Doctor..gave me what I term the dead set with his eye.

 c. A pointed attack; a determined onslaught; const. at, against. Also, an attitude or position of hostility.

1835   A. W. Fonblanque Eng. under Seven Admin. (1837) III. 274  The abhorrence of every thing like a ‘dead set’, or an attempt to run down a man by abuse and clamour.
1836   T. P. Thompson Exercises (1842) IV. 91  A dead set is to be made from various quarters, against the abominable innovation of publishing Divisions by authority.
1841   J. Keble Let. to Newman 19 July,  It was plain from the moment Young went into the room that a dead set was to be made at him.
1859   J. C. Hotten Dict. Slang 89  ‘A dead set’, a determined stand, in argument or in movement.
1885   Manch. Evening News 16 July 2/1  The disaffected sections of the Irish population made a dead set against him from the first.

 d. Of a woman: A determined attempt to gain a man's affections. Also occas. conversely of a man.

1823   Byron Don Juan: Canto XIV xlii. 136  Her late performance had been a dead set At Lord Augustus.
1825   T. Hook Sayings & Doings 2nd Ser. I. 4  James had..made a ‘dead set’ at a ‘fortune’.
1847   Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848) iii. 20  There was a girl at Dumdum..who made a dead set at me in the year '4.
1883   F. M. Crawford Dr. Claudius xvii,  I made a dead set at a new beauty just arrived from the South.
1894   F. M. Elliot Rom. Gossip v. 148  Women all through his life made a dead set at Garibaldi.

 e. An absolute stop; a complete check; phr. at a dead set. Also University slang = dead n.1 5.

1806   T. S. Surr Winter in London III. viii. 211  Hollo—what's this!—the duchess of Drinkwater at a dead sett!
1848   Webster's Amer. Dict. Eng. Lang. at Set,  To be at a dead set, is to be in a fixed state or condition which precludes further progress.
1851   B. H. Hall Coll. College Words 92  See the front of Logic lower; Screws, dead-sets, and fines.
1854   H. D. Thoreau Walden 72  The man is at a dead set who has got through a knot hole or gateway where his sledge load of furniture cannot follow him.

 f. Hunting. An abrupt stop made by an animal with its muzzle in the direction of the prey; esp. the position taken up by a dog in pointing game. (Cf. 6.)

1819   T. B. Johnson Shooter's Compan. 23  Happening to pass a small bush, with the whelp close to me..when the bitch was at a distance, he made a dead set.
1863   W. C. Baldwin Afr. Hunting v. 122  He made a dead set, getting my wind; and immediately made a desperate charge.
 II. The manner or position in which a thing is set.

11. The way in which something is set down in writing. Obs. rare.

1535   W. Stewart tr. H. Boethius Bk. Cron. Scotl. II. 27  Ane herald..Quhilk schew to him ilk word fra end to end,..In forme and sett as I haif said ȝow heir.

 12. Tendency, inclination; determination (of the mind, character, action, etc.) in a certain direction; often = settled direction, fixed habit. Also spec. in Psychol., a predisposition or expectation that influences the response of a person or animal: used variously of conscious or unconscious, or of mental or physical, states. Cf. set v.1 93c.

1567   J. Maplet Greene Forest f. 14,  There is another kind of Lodestone..that is of contrarie set and disposition, which will haue none of Iron.
1603   S. Daniel Def. Ryme in Panegyrike sig. G4,  Which frame of wordes..are disposed into diuers fashions, according to the humour of the Composer and the set of the time.
a1640   J. Fletcher & P. Massinger False One ii. ii, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Qq4/1,  Heere's a strange alteration in the Court; Mens faces are of other setts, and motions.
1692   Bp. G. Burnet Disc. Pastoral Care vii. 80  Tully's Offices will give the Mind a noble sett.
a1732   T. Boston Memoirs (1776) viii. 173  The Lord was pleased to give my heart a set toward the preaching of Christ.
1847   H. Miller First Impressions Eng. xvi. 297  The poetical mind of England had taken an inveterate set.
1852   J. S. Blackie On Stud. Lang. 10  In the..process by which the mother tongue is acquired, the mind acquires a habit and a set.
1890   W. James Princ. Psychol. I. iv. 124  It is not in the moment of their forming, but in the moment of their producing motor effects, that resolves and aspirations communicate the new ‘set’ to the brain.
1898   T. C. Allbutt et al. Syst. Med. V. 843  Strain of the heart,—that is, of a permanent ‘after-strain’ or ‘set’ towards other than the normal lines of its action.
1911   E. L. Thorndike Animal Intell. vi. 249  If a cat pushes a button around with its nose, while..the act to which its general ‘set’ impels it..is that of clawing at an opening, it will be less aided in the formation of the habit than if it had been chiefly concerned in what its nose was doing.
1918   R. S. Woodworth Dynamic Psychol. iii. 56  Danger arouses a ‘set’ of the nervous system towards escape.
1931   Brit. Jrnl. Psychol. Apr. 379  The theory..that ability in proof-reading is largely a matter of attitude or mental ‘set’.
1953   J. B. Carroll Study of Lang. iii. 77  There are actually prelinguistic organismic events (sets, attitudes, etc.) which can be identified with what expression theorists regard as ‘thoughts’ and ‘ideas’.
1968   Science 13 Dec. 1236/1  ‘Set’ refers to the subject's psychological expectations of what a drug will do to him in relation to his general personality structure.
1979   Forgus & Shulman Personality i. 9  We can measure the dominant perceptual sets..and..these sets, in fact, direct perceptual selectivity.

 13. The direction in which a current flows or a wind blows; also, the action of the water, etc. in taking a particular direction.Locally applied to particular currents.

1719   D. Defoe Life Robinson Crusoe 225  How the Sets of the Tide, or Currents lay, when the Flood came in.
1755   J. Shebbeare Lydia (1769) I. 125  By a sudden sett of the sea..Jack tumbled forward.
1793   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 83 189   Although the northern set was trifling..; yet the wind, being both scant and light, we could never overcome the tendency of the current.
1823   W. Scoresby Jrnl. Voy. Northern Whale-fishery 350  The set of the ice.
1827   A. W. Fonblanque Eng. under Seven Admin. (1837) I. 13  As straws show the set of the wind.
1876   F. W. Farrar In Days of Youth ii. 19  A feather will show you the direction of the wind; a straw will prove the set of a current.
1879   Scribner's Monthly 19 327/1  Often in storms a strong swift current runs along the coast between the outer bar and the shore, called by the surf-men the ‘set’ or ‘cut’.

 a. The build or make of a person. Obs. exc. dial.

1611   J. Speed Hist. Great Brit. ix. xxiv. 851/2  Of a bigge and broad set.
a1640   J. Fletcher & P. Massinger Custome of Countrey v. v, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Cc4/2,  A goodly Gentleman, Of a more manly set, I never look'd on.
1708   Brit. Apollo No. 32. 4/2  He is of a Squat Set.
1825   J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl.,  Set..2. Shape, figure, cast, make, Aberd[een].
1888   Harper's Mag. Jan. 291/2  Something effective and picturesque in the set of his strongly built frame.

b. gen. ? Shape. Obs.

1567   J. Maplet Greene Forest f. 46,  Houselike..for his endurance is resembled to Ambrosia..for his roundset [? read round set] or figure to the Bullocks eie.

 a. Weaving. (Usually sett.) The adjustment of the reeds (of a loom) necessary for the making of a fabric of a particular texture; hence, the make of a fabric as determined by this.

1780   A. Young Tour Ireland (Dublin ed.) I. 324   The grist or fineness of the yarn, determines the set or fineness of the reed through which it is to be wrought.
1833   J. Holland Treat. Manuf. Metal II. 350  When the set of the web is from three fourths of an inch to forty meshes in the inch.
1879   T. R. Ashenhurst Pract. Treat. Weaving & Designing Textile Fabrics 272  The systems of calculating the sett of reeds.
1879   T. R. Ashenhurst Pract. Treat. Weaving & Designing Textile Fabrics 272  If a cloth contains sixty threads per inch, it would be said to be a sixty sett cloth.
1893   Times 10 July 4/6  Medium and heavy setts of powerlooms are having most attention, fine descriptions being almost neglected.

 b. (Usually sett.) Each or any of the squares in the pattern of a tartan; the pattern itself.

1721   A. Ramsay Tartana 197  The Plaid itself gives pleasure to the sight, To see how all its sets imbibe the light.
1725   A. Ramsay Gentle Shepherd i. i,  Scarlet and green the sets, the borders blue.
1811   A. Grant Ess. Superstit. Highlanders II. 207  Every clan wore a different set..of tartan.
1819   Scott Legend of Montrose viii, in Tales of my Landlord 3rd Ser. III. 327  How many checks in the sett of his plaid and trews.
1897   Standard 21 Sept. 7/1  The Murray ‘sett’.

 16. The form which a body assumes as the result of strain or pressure or in the process of solidification, etc.; esp. the permanent deflection of a bar or plate of metal or wood.

1807   T. Young Course Lect. Nat. Philos. I. xiii. 136  The operation of forces applied in any of these ways may produce a permanent alteration, or change of figure..: this change is sometimes called by workmen settling, or taking a set.
1812   P. Nicholson Mech. Exercises 85  When the timbers are sagged, either by casting or by a set.
1824   T. Tredgold Pract. Ess. Strength of Cast Iron (ed. 2) 81   That iron is to be esteemed the best which will bear the greatest degree of flexure without set.
1847   H. Miller First Impressions Eng. xii. 226  Like a piece of old elastic parchment that had been acquiring for ages the set of the roll.
1869   M. Somerville Molec. Sci. i. ii. 77  The..phenomena of crystals depends upon unequal conductibility..and their set is determined by the difference between the forces of attraction and repulsion.
1883   Science 1 174/1  The ‘set’ of a zinc bar when heated.
1886   R. Holland Gloss. Words County of Chester (at cited word),  When the crystals of bay-salt begin to form upon the strings and thorns, the pan is said to have a good or a bad set according as the crystals are large or small.
1888   Lockwood's Dict. Mech. Engin.,  Permanent set, that amount of deflection from which a beam or structure is unable to return to its original form, but which remains constant.
1903   R. Kipling Five Nations 24  Turning the shingle, returning the shingle, changing the set of the sand.

 17. The way in which an article of dress is arranged or ‘hangs’; also similarly of a ship's sails.

1822   Examiner 68/2  Studying the set of her bonnet.
1827   A. W. Fonblanque Eng. under Seven Admin. (1837) I. 107  She who shapes the mistress's caps, and gives the set to her head-dress—the lady's maid!
1828   H. Le Blanc Art of Tying the Cravat (ed. 2) 65   Scrutinizing examination will be made on the set of his Cravat.
1845   M. J. Howell Hand-bk. Dress-making 40  In order to give the skirt a pretty ‘set’.
1881   Daily Tel. 28 Jan.,  Considering the squareness of her bows and the set of her canvas.
1896   R. Kipling Seven Seas 166  The set o' the tunic's 'orrid.

 a. The position or attitude (either occasional or habitual) given to a limb or a part of the body.

1855   A. Bain Senses & Intellect ii. i. 322  A peculiar set of the limb, for example the turning out of the toes.
1863   B. Taylor Hannah Thurston iv,  His yellow hair..grew back from the temples with a sturdy set.
1876   ‘G. Eliot’ Daniel Deronda I. i. vii. 120  The set of her head and neck.
1896   R. Kipling Seven Seas 165  'E saw the set o' my shoulders.

 b. The action or result of fixing the hair when damp so that it dries in the required style. Also with reference to fixing the hair by other means (with heat, a setting lotion, etc.), and as hair-set. Cf. set v.1 81b.

1933   G. A. Foan Art & Craft Hairdressing Spec. Suppl. iv. 23/2  The procedure here outlined in reference to the final touch must be followed exactly as indicated in order to prevent entirely spoiling the set.
1938   H. Goodman Princ. Professional Beauty Culture v. 90  After permanent set the intramolecular breakdown and rebuilding processes have effectively evolved a new..conformation.
1940   W. Peck Bewildering Cares iv. 110,  I met her once at the hairdresser's bewailing that she couldn't afford a nice steak for Herbert on their income, and she had obviously spent the price of it on a ‘set’.
1946   K. Tennant Lost Haven (1947) xiii. 204  You can't get a hairset here and I have to do my own.
1975   Country Life 27 Mar. 806/1  Many women disliked wearing a hat because it squashed their ‘set’.

 a. The inclination or dip of the arm of an axle-tree; the elevation of a gun.

1844   H. Stephens Bk. of Farm III. 1163  Were all wheels made with one uniform degree of dish, we should then have one simple standard for the set of the axle-arms.
1852   R. Burn Naval & Mil. Techn. Dict. French Lang. (ed. 2) ii. 233   Set or dip of an axletree-arm.
1876   G. E. Voyle Mil. Dict.  
1898   Encycl. Sport II. 168/2  (Punt shooting) ‘Setof the gun, the elevation given to the gun as it lies on the gun-rest.

 b. The slight lateral deflection in opposite directions of the alternate teeth of a saw; the amount of this deflexion.

1837   L. Hebert Engin. & Mech. Encycl. II. 630  Each successive tooth is placed in opposite directions, at the desired set, to allow the blade of the saw to pass through the wood without resistance.
1853   A. Ure Dict. Arts II. 584  The ‘set’ of the saw consists in inclining the teeth at the particular angle known to be the best to facilitate the exit of the sawdust.
1875   E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. 1047/1  Hack-saw, a frame saw of moderate set.

 c. Typogr. (See quots.)

1892   Southward's Pract. Printing (ed. 4) 29 (note) ,   The set of the types signifies the proper position of the letters, with reference to the precise amount of space between them.
1908   Legros in Proc. Instit. Mech. Engin. Dec. 1043  As the letters are not only unequal in set, and since the widths of set generally bear no particular relation to the em (or body).
1908   Legros in Proc. Instit. Mech. Engin. Dec. 1075  The mould thus made is of definite size for body but variable for the width of set.

 d. Bell-ringing. The inverted position of a bell when it is set. Cf. set v.1 66.

1677   F. Stedman Campanalogia 23  A prospect of true ringing at any certain compass under the Sett, may thus be taken.
1677   F. Stedman Campanalogia 39  The reason why one of them is said to move up, is, because he that rings that bell, in the making of the change must hold it up at the Sett a little longer than ordinary, to delay its striking, whereby 'tis made to follow the other note which before it preceded.
1901   H. E. Bulwer Gloss. Techn. Terms Bells & Ringing (1904) 33  Set, the position of a bell after being ‘raised’, when it rests mouth upward a little beyond the balancing point [etc.].

 e. Carpentry. The amount that the blade of a plane projects below the sole.

1898   F. Fletcher & H. P. Fletcher Carpentry & Joinery xxvi. 281  The set of the plane may be adjusted during use by tapping the iron of the nose.
1950   M. T. Telling Carpentry & Joinery ii. 116  All [planes] will do specially true work if properly set and sharpened and many of them have mechanical means of adjusting the cutting iron to a fine set.
 III. Something which is set.

20. An area marked out for a hunt. Obs.

a1425   Edward, Duke of York Master of Game (Digby) xxxv,   Þe maister of þe game shulde be enformed by þe forster or þe parker, what game þe kyng shall fynde withinne his sette.
a1425   Edward, Duke of York Master of Game (Digby) xxxv,   The maister of þe game shulde be accorded with þe maister forster or parker whedyr þat it be where þe kynge shall hunte suche a daye. And if þe sette be wyde [etc.].

 21. (Usually sett.) The area of ground worked by a particular mining company. Chiefly Cornwall. (Cf. 3b.)

1778   W. Pryce Mineralogia Cornubiensis 326  A Set is the ground granted to a company of Adventurers.
1835   English's Mining Rev. July 113  The setts comprise a circumference of several miles, and abound in lodes producing argentiferous ores.
1839   H. T. De la Beche Rep. Geol. Cornwall xv. 537  The bounder had the right of granting the sett.
1855   J. R. Leifchild Cornwall: Mines & Miners 136  The lord of the soil grants a sett.., or portion of mining soil, for a lease of years.
1893   Daily News 11 Jan. 2/1  There are many old workings in Wheal Owles, and several setts have of late years been discontinued.

22. ? An ornament of jewellery set on a garment. Obs.

1502   in N. H. Nicolas Privy Purse Expenses Elizabeth of York (1830) 21  Spangelles settes..sterrys dropes and pointes..for garnisshing of jakettes.
1542   in T. Thomson Coll. Inventories Royal Wardrobe (1815) 67  Upon the samyne bonet tene settis, in every set four dyomonttis,..with xxiiii settis of perle in every set four perle.
1542   in T. Thomson Coll. Inventories Royal Wardrobe (1815) 67–68  Tene plain dyamonttis in settis of gold, xviii settis of perle, & thrie in every set, and nyne set lang, and four in every sett.

 a. ‘Any thing not sown, but put in a state of some growth into the ground’ (Johnson); a twig, slip, or sucker, used for planting or grafting; also, a young plant, esp. a bedding-out plant.

1513   G. Douglas in tr. Virgil Æneid xii. Prol. 133  The plane pulderyt with semely settis sovnd.
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandrie §127  At euery two fote, or iii fote, to leaue one set growyng not plasshed.
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandrie §127  Take a sharpe hatchet..and cutte the settes in a playne place, nyghe vnto the erthe.
1553   T. Wilson Arte of Rhetorique 26 b,  To ympe or graffe yong settes.
1577   B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry ii. f. 66,  Doo they growe of the seede, or of the sette?
1615   W. Lawson Country Housewifes Garden (1626) 12  It shall grieue you much to see your yong sets rubd loose at the roots.
1618   Shuttleworths' Acc. (Chetham Soc.) 233,   ij hundrethe setts of lycorise for my Mris, iiijs.
1669   J. Worlidge Systema Agriculturæ (1681) 147  Chuse the largest Sets that you can get; which are to be had best out of a Garden well kept.
1760   R. Brown Compl. Farmer Pt. 2 ii. 107  One runner will make many setts.
1848   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 9 ii. 563  The hop-set is no sooner put in the ground than its enemies find it out.
1877   E. Peacock Gloss. Words Manley & Corringham, Lincs.,  Set..(2) Young plants of any kind used for bedding out.
1894   Daily News 15 Jan. 6/6  Find a swampy place, and get good setts (that is, two or three year old withy).
1605   1st Pt. Jeronimo sig. F,  This arme neare met, So strong a courage of so greene a set.
1662   A. Marvell Corr. in Wks. (1875) II. 80  We may..graft an Set of our own upon their motion.

 b. A potato, or a portion of a potato, used as seed. local.

1767   A. Young Farmer's Lett. 12  Dropping potatoe setts.
1844   H. Stephens Bk. of Farm II. 655  The tubers are either planted whole, or cut into parts called sets.
1896   P. A. Graham Red Scaur vi. 83,  I found her and Mark and Elsie planting potatoes... She carried a basket of ‘sets’,..and Mark was doing the hard work of digging.
1901   Dundee Advertiser 23 Apr. 4  The common potato growing practice is to allow..six inches from sett to sett of the seed.

c. A shoot. Obs.

1658   J. Evelyn tr. N. de Bonnefons French Gardiner 182  When you have cut off the heads of your Cabbages..they will produce small sets, which the Italians call Broccoli.

 d. An undeveloped or rudimentary fruit; collect., flowers that have been fertilized and should develop into fruit. Also, the development of fruit following fertilization. Cf. set v.1 98.

1888   C. M. Doughty Trav. Arabia Deserta II. xv. 436  Every cluster, which had inclosed in it a spray of the male blossom, was lapped about with a wisp of dry forage; and this defended the sets from early flights of locusts.
1928   Daily Tel. 12 June 5/2  Of culinary apples the set appears good on the whole... Dessert cherries have had a fair set.
1929   E. C. Auchter & H. B. Knapp Orchard & Small Fruit Culture viii. 369  In such orchards, if the blossoms are properly pollinated, much better sets occur.
1964   H. B. Tukey Dwarfed Fruit Trees xxiii. 422  Bee flight is noticeably reduced at 60 degrees F. or below, and pollination, fertilization, and fruit set are accordingly reduced.
1973   H. G. Kingham U.K. Tomato Man. xvi. 126  For all crops overhead damping with a course spray helps to improve set.

24. The stake put down at dice, etc. Also fig.

1537   in Privy Purse Exp. Hen. VIII (1827) 143  Paied to the iij Cotons for iij settes the whiche the kinges grace loste to them in Grenewiche parke.
1592   A. Day Eng. Secretorie ii. sig. G2,  The place [sic] that I vsed was with them, the sette by agreement not great, concluded vppon more to passe time then wherof to make gaine.
1607   T. Heywood Woman Kilde with Kindnesse sig. D4v,  Let them that are taken playing false forfet the set.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues,  Mommon,..a set, by a Mummer, at dice.

 a. A game at dice or cards; hence, the number of points to be made in order to be ‘up’.

1595   P. Henslowe Diary 2 Jan. (1961) 26  [Title of play] The seat at mawe.
1611   J. Florio Queen Anna's New World of Words,  Partita,..a set or match at any game.
1633   J. Ford Loves Sacrifice iii. sig. G2v,  You were best to try a set at Maw.
1668   Dryden Sr Martin Mar-all i. 5,  I lose all my Sets, when I want but one of up.
1680   C. Cotton Compl. Gamester (ed. 2) 58   Picket... The usual Set is an hundred.
1680   C. Cotton Compl. Gamester (ed. 2) 75   At Cribbidge..the number of the Set is sixty one.
1680   C. Cotton Compl. Gamester (ed. 2) 79   This Game I conceive is called All-Fours from Highest, Lowest, Jack, and Game, which is the Set as some play it.
1687   C. Sedley Bellamira iv. i, in Wks. (1778) II. 161,  I lost three sets at back-gammon.

b. fig. Match, contest. Obs.

a1626   W. Rowley Birth of Merlin (1662) sig. A4,  Your Sister and Lord Edwin are in game, and all their wits at stake to win the Set.
a1657   G. Daniel Trinarchodia: Richard II cclxxxvi, in Poems (1878) III. 208  If the sword must try it, Hee had an Equall sett, and choos'd to play it.
1687   Dryden Hind & Panther ii. 42  That was but civil war, an equal set, Where Piles with piles, and eagles Eagles met.

 a. Real Tennis (sometimes spelt sett): A group of six games which counts as a unit to the side that wins more than half of them; see also quot. a1769. Lawn Tennis (always spelt set): A group of games counting as a unit towards a match for the person or pair of persons who win the greater number of games in it.

1578   J. Florio Firste Fruites f. 8,  I will goe see some play at Tenise, and perhaps play also: will you play two or three settes with me?
1591   J. Florio Second Frutes 25  P. How manie are you my masters? H. We are but two that will plaie. P. Will you plaie in set?
1630   tr. G. Botero Relations Famous Kingdomes World (rev. ed.) 185   Ye shall see them play Sets at Tennis in the heat of Summer.
a1769   E. Hoyle Games (1778) 203  Six Games make a Set of Tennis, but if what is called an Advantage Set is played, two successive Games above five Games must be won to decide; or, in Case it should be six Games all, two successive Games must still be won on one Side to conclude the Set.
1822   Scott Fortunes of Nigel II. xii. 283  Perhaps you would like a set at tennis, or a game at balloon.
1886   Field 31 July 182/2  Mr. Joy only beat Mr. Thorpe after all three sets had been exhausted.
1891   ‘J. S. Winter’ Lumley v. 36,  I shouldn't have liked to lose my first sett with you.
1949   Lawn Tennis (‘Know the Game’ Ser.) 15  The first player or pair to win six games wins the set, except that should the score become five games each—‘Five All’—one player or pair must become two games ahead to win the set.
1980   Guardian 14 July 18/5  Miss Jevans..had a bad patch in the second set before winning 6–1, 7–5.

 b.   set point n. the state of a set when one side or player needs only one point to win the set; also, the point itself (cf. match point n. (a) at match n.1 Compounds 2).

1928   Observer 1 July 29/3  When that cunning player..would, at set-point, send one as hard as he could hit it straight down the centre line.
1946   Times 26 June 2/3  The Dutch pair, after missing a set point when leading by six games to five, finally secured the first set at 9–7.
1972   D. Delman Sudden Death vi. 152  Set point. I crouch, racket twirling.

27. One of the pleats of a ruff; also, the arrangement of a ruff in pleats. Obs.

1594   T. Nashe Vnfortunate Traveller sig. G,  I warrant you should not see one set of her neckercher peruerted or turned awrie.
1601   A. Dent Path-way to Heauen 53  Some are as proude of their falling bandes, and little sets, as others are of their great ruffes.
1608   G. Markham & L. Machin Dumbe Knight i. sig. B2v,  You haue a pretty set too, how big is the steele you set with?
1612   B. Jonson Alchemist iv. iii. sig. I3,  He speakes, out of a Fortification. 'Pray God, He ha' no squibs in those deepe sets.
1651   T. Randolph et al. Hey for Honesty iii. iii. 27/2  The sets of my old Ruffe lookt like so many Organ-Pipes.

 28. = set scene n. at set adj.1 Special uses 1. Also, more widely, the setting, stage furniture, etc., used on stage in a theatre. In Film-making and Television, the scenery (usu. built up rather than painted) and other properties used in the filming of an individual scene; the place or area in which filming takes place. Freq. in phr. on or off (the) set . Also attrib. and Comb. Cf. film set n. at film n. Compounds 5.

1859   E. Fitzball Thirty-five Years Dramatic Author's Life I. vi. 91  The vast scenes were pushed into sets, imperfectly painted.
1861   Cornhill Mag. Aug. 169  In the Frogs, we have..a grand full stage ‘set’ of the Acherusian lake.
1868   M. E. Braddon Dead Sea Fruit II. xxvi. 296  If such a set were only manageable at the Bonbonnière! But we have not enough depth for this kind of thing.
1880   Theatre Apr. 223  The set was excellent, representing the interior of an Elizabethan house.
1894   Mrs. H. Ward Marcella I. i. i. 5  The complete disappearance of this earliest ‘set’, to use a theatrical phrase, from the scenery of her childhood.
1912   F. A. Talbot Moving Pictures x. facing p. 109 (caption)    Building a solid set for ‘The Two Orphans’.
1918   H. Croy How Motion Pictures are Made 107  With the sets determined upon, preparation for the taking of the picture is begun.
1936   P. G. Wodehouse Laughing Gas iv. 51  She was supposed to be on the set, made up, at six on the following a.m. for some retakes.
1947   A. Huxley Let. 27 July (1969) 573  The ticklish situation on the set made it impossible to come to New York for Claire's wedding.
1953   K. Reisz Technique Film Editing i. 60  Dialogue-writing, set-design and acting all become subjugated to this central purpose.
1956   C. McCullers in Mademoiselle Sept. 174/2  Mabel Goodley, the painter and set-designer.
1961   G. Millerson Technique Television Production i. 15  The set designer, responsible for the scenic treatment.
1973   Listener 22 Nov. 727/3  The same people are very much less agreeable in Meet Pamela than they are ‘off-set’ in Day for Night.
1977   M. Babson Murder, murder, Little Star xviii. 154  Had there been a further scene..in the dressing-room? Twinkle was being too good on set.

 29. (Usually sett.) A squared stone (chiefly granite) used for paving.

1871   Williamson Science Lect. 2nd Ser. 98  Those square stones which I think are technically called ‘sets’.
1880   Daily News 7 Dec. 6/3  One of the small steamers which trade with setts from the quarries.
1880   Daily News 9 Dec. 1/3  A sett stone quarry.
1905   Academy 9 Sept. 935/1  The streets used to be paved with setts taken from the black marble quarry.
 30. Miscellaneous technical senses.

 a. Plastering. The finishing coat on walls prepared for painting.

1823   P. Nicholson New Pract. Builder 373  As the plasterer lays on the set, he draws the brush backwards and forwards over it, till the surface is smooth.
1825   ‘J. Nicholson’ Operative Mechanic 613  By set is denoted a superficial coat of fine stuff or putty upon the rendering.

 b. In pile-driving, etc., a body placed between the hammer and the object to be struck.

1837   in Civil Engineer & Archit. Jrnl. 1 (1838) 242/2  A set is then applied to the end of the wedge, and the workman strikes it with a hammer.
1842   J. Gwilt Encycl. Archit. Gloss. 1031  Sett, in piling, a piece placed temporarily on the head of a pile.

 c. Fishing.  (a) = ‘set net’ (see set adj.1); chiefly eel-set.  (b) See quot. 1867. (Cf. Middle Dutch set, sete.)

a1808   State, Leslie v. Fraser 56 (Jam.)  The practice of hauling their fishing-nets and feith-sets to the shore.
1867   F. Francis Bk. Angling iv. 86  The angler..hooks the fish on to his line by a certain arrangement of hooks called a flight or set.
1882   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. Jan. 102  The silver~bellied eel..is only caught in the eel-sets.
1892   Longman's Mag. Nov. 88  Along the Norfolk rivers a very important eel fishery is carried on by means of fixed nets known as ‘eel-sets’.

 d. Mining. (See quots.)

1858   R. Hunt Catal. Mus. Pract. Geol. 223  The pillars are taken away, commencing at the extreme end of the sett.
1862   Chambers's Jrnl. Apr. 216  The strait sets are excavations four or five feet wide..made..in the side of a seam of coal at a distance of about six yards from each other.
1883   W. S. Gresley Gloss. Terms Coal Mining,  Sett, a measure of length along the face of a stall, usually from say 6 to 10 feet, by which holers and drivers are paid. A certain number of setts comprise a day's work.

 e. Saddlery. ‘The filling of deer's hair or other stuffing beneath the ground seat of a saddle, to bring the top seat to its shape’ (E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. 1875).

 f.  (a) A young oyster when first attached;  (b) the crop of young oysters in a locality.

1881   E. Ingersoll Oyster-industry 248  ‘The Set is good in Somerset this year’; i.e., there is an abundance of infant oysters.
1887   G. B. Goode Fisheries U.S.: Hist. & Methods II. 515  At only a few places does a breed of oysters, or a ‘set’, as it is termed, occur with any regularity.
1887   G. B. Goode Fisheries U.S.: Hist. & Methods II. 540 (note)    There is no word in the Northern States for infant oysters, except the terms ‘set’, ‘spat’, ‘spawn’, &c.

 g. N. Amer. Trapping. A trap or snare; a series of traps.

1912   V. E. Roe Maid of Whispering Hills 74  What is all this beside that which waits the runner of the trail at every ‘set’ in those many miles?
1942   Sun (Baltimore) 2 Feb. 4/3   Each morning the trapper makes the rounds of his ‘set’. He strips the skin from the animals..and takes the pelts to market.
1977   Globe & Mail (Toronto) 30 Mar. 33/3   We were still within 20 yards of the trap's position, when a 55-pound beaver, swimming unseen under the ice, hit the set.
 IV. A place where something is set.

 31. A place where stationary fishing nets are fixed.

1745   F. Blomefield Ess. Topogr. Hist. Norfolk II. 866  There were 19 appropriated Fishing-Places, which they called Setts, which were yearly allotted by the Mayor, to certain Fresh-Water Fishermen.
1867   W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk.,  Sett, the particular spot in a river or frith, where stationary nets are fixed.

 32. The earth or burrow of a badger.

1898   A. E. Pease Badger 40,  I knew of nine badger ‘sets’ in the vicinity.
1898   A. E. Pease Badger 44  A badger's earth or warren is properly and generally called a ‘set’ or ‘cete’.
1908   Nation 6 June 340/2  For a year or two past the brocks had held their sett in the brake.

 33. (Often sett.) A tool or device used for ‘setting’ (in various technical senses); esp. a heavy punch or chisel for use on metal or stone. Cf. sate n.: see quots.

1750   T. R. Blanckley Naval Expositor,  Setts for Saws, are for setting the Teeth when out of Order, so as they may cut with the greater Exactness.
1812   P. Nicholson Mech. Exercises 353  [Smithing:] Side Set, a hammer used to set shoulders of rivets to a true square or bevel, as required.
1843   C. Holtzapffel Turning & Mech. Manip. I. 387  The work..is bent over with the blows of a flat-ended punch or set.
1846   C. Holtzapffel Turning & Mech. Manip. II. 697  The saw-set..consists of a narrow blade of steel, with notches of various widths for different saws... In some few cases saw-set pliers are used.
1881   Design & Work 24 Dec. 451/2  The operation of ‘driving’ rivets consists in placing a set on the end of the rivet, and sledging it down to form the head.
1888   Lockwood's Dict. Mech. Engin.,  Set, or Sett, (1) a narrow square nosed or round nosed chisel-like tool used by fitters and boiler makers for chipping grooves in metal. (2) Broad chisel-like tools used for cutting off hot or cold bars on the anvil.
1888   Lockwood's Dict. Mech. Engin.,  Hook Wrench, or Set, or Hand Hook, a smith's tool used for taking work out of winding or out of twist.
1892   Labour Comm. Gloss.,  Sett, a piece of bar-iron bent to the same curvature or shape that an iron pipe is required to take.
1905   P. N. Hasluck Handyman's Bk. 134/1  For punching the nail head below the surface of the work, the steel set is used.
1920   A. H. Fay Gloss. Mining & Mineral Industry 605/1  Sett, a quarryman's term for a square-faced steel tool which is held in position and struck with a sledge to cause a fracture in a rock mass.
1942   W. H. Atherton Workshop Pract. (ed. 2) V. 176   The Hot Sate or Sett..is in constant use for cutting away extraneous metal while hot.
1962   J. G. Robertson Metalwork viii. 95  The Hot Set (Sett or Sate)..is used for cutting off on the cutting face of the anvil. A smith holds the work and hot set whilst a striker wields the sledge hammer. The hot set is designed to cut hot metal.
1964   H. Hodges Artifacts iv. 77  The heads were either cast, or formed as the rivets were closed using sets (setts) or snaps.

set, n.2

Pronunciation:  /sɛt/
Forms:  Also ME–15 sette, ME– sett.
Etymology:  originally (in sense 1) < Old French sette < Latin secta  sect n.1, but in subsequent developments of meaning influenced by set v.1   and apprehended as equivalent to ‘number set together’. The application to things (branch II) may be partly due to Middle Low German gesette set or suite (of pieces), whence apparently German gesetz set of knitting-needles, etc., Danish sæt set of china, suit of clothes.
 I. A number or group of persons.

1. A religious body, sect. Obs.

a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1876) VI. 41   After þe deþ of Machometus þat cursede secte encresede so faste þat it drouȝ myȝti men of Pers to þe corsed lawe of þe Arabes. Al þat sette haþ infecte..al Affrica.
c1500   Melusine (1895) xxxvi. 272  Many other of our sette and lawe.
c1520   M. Nisbet New Test. in Scots (1905) III. Acts xxiv. 14  Eftir the sett [Wycl. secte] quhilk thai say herresie, sa I serue to God the fadir.
c1520   M. Nisbet New Test. in Scots (1905) III. 2 Pet. ii. 1  Maistris learis, that sal bring in settis [Wycl. sectes] of perditioun.
1538   in Archbold Somerset Relig. Houses (1892) 80  What ys my lord Audley, a man off ye new sett or arfter ye olde sorte?
c1450   Mankind 372  Ȝe wolde haue me of yowur sett?

 a. A number, company, or group (of persons) associated by community of status, habits, occupations, or interests. Often with depreciatory implication (cf. lot n. 8). In the 17th–18th c. freq. spelt sett.  [Probably transf. from uses in branch II.]

1682   N. Tate & Dryden 2nd Pt. Absalom & Achitophel 17  The Rest..Who n'er had Wit nor Will for Mischief yet, But pleas'd to be reputed of a Set.
1693   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §122. 151  A Sett of Children thus ordered, and kept from the ill example of others, would..learn to read, write, and what else one would have them, as others do their ordinary Plays.
1701   W. Paterson Proposals Council of Trade 72  The Fisheries were become a tempting Morsel for a Sett of avaricious Hucksters, and Monopolists.
1705   J. Addison Remarks Italy 105  A Set of Artisans, that by the help of several Poles..build themselves up into a kind of Pyramid.
1712   J. Addison Spectator No. 440. ⁋1  A Sett of merry Fellows.
1733   J. Barber Let. to Swift 6 Feb.,  I have been, for many years, plagued with a sett of ungrateful monsters, called Cousins, that I tremble at the name.
1774   J. Bryant New Syst. I. 258  This kind of divination is still carried on by a set of priests.
1783   Johnson Lives Eng. Poets (rev. ed.) III. 148   A very numerous and splendid set of acquaintance.
1815   Scott Guy Mannering III. viii. 153  A set of smugglers, gypsies, and other desperadoes.
1837   H. Martineau Society in Amer. II. 164,  I think the abolitionists of the United States the most reasonable set of people that I ever knew to be united together for one object.
1866   J. E. T. Rogers Hist. Agric. & Prices I. xxiii. 601  In the hope that a new set of customers might be developed.
1894   E. T. Ayers Bowls 26  The six [players] divide or ‘cut’ into two sets of three.

 b. absol. (cf. sense 3).

1683   W. Kennett tr. Erasmus Witt against Wisdom 34  There will come a new hungry Sett.
1691   Dryden King Arthur Prol. sig. A5v,  Among the rest, there are a sharping Sett.
a1704   T. Brown Declam. Praise Poverty (rev. ed.) in Wks. (1730) I. 92   If this sett were thrown aside and men of poverty and honesty put in their stead.
1759   Johnson Idler 13 Oct. 321  There was a select set, supposed to be distinguished by superiority of intellects.
1826   B. Disraeli Vivian Grey I. ii. xiv. 196  ‘Who are we among,..?’ asked Vivian. ‘Oh! an odd set,’ said the lady, looking dignified.
1845   R. Ford Hand-bk. Travellers in Spain I. i. 17  A highly trust-worthy, laborious, and hardworking set.
1869   H. F. Tozer Res. Highlands of Turkey I. 292  The shepherds were an uncouth-looking set.
1885   Liverpool Daily Post 23 Oct. 4/7  He did not speak or preach in the dialect of any party or set.

c. A political group or party. Obs.

1748   J. Thomson Castle of Indolence i. liv,  In comes another sett, and kicketh them downstairs.
1750   in Priv. Lett. Ld. Malmesbury (1870) I. 78  That the Bedford set will be honourably kicked up or down stairs.
1790   E. Burke Corr. (1844) III. 140,  I intend no controversy with Dr. Price, or Lord Shelburne, or any other of their set.

 d. A subdivision of pupils or students (esp. in a single year) for instruction on a particular subject: usu. one of a number of such groupings and often constituted according to ability.

1882   in R. S. Churchill Winston S. Churchill (1967) I. Compan. i. iii. 90  Place in 3rd Set of 14 boys for ½ Term—14th.
1889   Boy's Own Paper 7 Sept. 781  Those dry definitions [of Euclid] seem twaddle to me (I admit I am low in my set).
1914   ‘I. Hay’ Lighter Side School Life i. 15  He must know whether Mr. A. in the Senior Science Set is expounding theories of inorganic chemistry which have been obsolete for ten years.
1961   M. Beadle These Ruins are Inhabited (1963) vi. 86  Sets are ability groups. In each subject the boys had been divided into fast, average and slower-moving sections; each of these sets met as a class.
1971   P. D. James Shroud for Nightingale ii. 41  We haven't used the demonstration room since Nurse Pearce's death but otherwise the set is continuing to work according to plan.

 e. A gang of pickers assigned to a hop-bin.

1805   R. W. Dickson Pract. Agric. II. 752  Three, four, or more pickers being employed in clearing the binds of the hops..: these, with the person engaged in sorting the poles, are denominated a set.

 a. A group of persons in society having its own peculiar interests, fashions, and conventions; a social group of a select or exclusive character. Freq. with qualifying adj. or n. indicating the location, affiliation, or characteristic activities of the group, as the Bloomsbury (Chelsea, Cliveden, etc.) set . smart set: see smart adj. 14. Cf. jet set n.

1780   R. B. Sheridan School for Scandal i. ii. 12  The set she meets at her house, encourage her to disobedience.
1798   S. Lee Young Lady's Tale in H. Lee Canterbury Tales II. 91  Sir Edward, not deigning to mingle with the set, leaned on his daughter's chair.
a1817   J. Austen Persuasion (1818) II. iv. 69  They will move in the first set in Bath.
1837   H. Martineau Society in Amer. III. 33  What a delightful ‘set’ she belonged to at her school: how comfortable they all were once, without any sets, till several grocers' daughters began to come in.
1847   Tennyson Princess Prol. 8,  I was there From college, visiting the son..with others of our set.
1854   Thackeray Newcomes (1855) II. viii. 80  Your intimacy was with Emma. It has cooled. Your sets are different. The Tomkins's are not quite &c. &c.
1890   W. Besant Demoniac i,  These men constituted the best set in the College... All were reading men, and all good men.
1906   B. Vaughan Sins of Society (1908) 16  What a treacherous world was the Smart Set in which the Prodigal rioted.
1914   J. M. Keynes Let. 2 July in R. F. Harrod Life J. M. Keynes (1951) iv. 171  She..is asking no one but a few of my so-called ‘Bloomsbury set’!
1922   M. Cowley in Dial LXXIII. 231  She [sc. K. Mansfield] has three backgrounds only: continental hotels, New Zealand upper-class society, and a certain artistic set in London.
1938   H. Nicolson Diary 19 Sept. (1966) 361  We talk of..how terrible has been the influence of the Cliveden set.
1944   N. Coward Middle East Diary 49  This place is the last refuge of the soi-disant ‘International Set’.
1960   J. Betjeman Summoned by Bells ix. 107,  I climbed,..Until I reached what seemed to me the peak—The leisured set in Canterbury Quad.
1977   News of World 17 Apr. 5/5  The Prince of the Beatniks abdicated... He said goodbye to the Chelsea Set.

 b. A meeting of a street gang or group of ‘street people’, esp. a party; the place where such a group meets. Also, the group itself. U.S. colloq.Freq. in Black English.

1959   Esquire Nov. 70  Set, a party.
1967   Trans-Action Apr. 5/2  The more or less organized center of street life is the ‘set’—meaning both the peer group and the places where it hangs out.
1969   R. L. Keiser Vice Lords iv. 40  A set had been planned... Throughout the prior week, the set was a constant topic of conversation. The clothes that were going to be worn and the girls that were going to be present were repeatedly discussed.
1970   E. Bullins Theme is Blackness (1973) 178  What's happenin'? What'cha doin' tonight, baby? Why don't we make the set?
1972   J. Mills Rep. to Commissioner 100  When junkies and pushers on a particular set learn or suspect an agent's identity, he has ‘taken a burn’.
1975   Amer. Speech 1972 47 152  Blue eyes, you are not in my set.

 4. The number of couples required to perform a country dance or square dance.

1766   O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield I. ix. 82  We were in want of ladies also to make up a set at country dances.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas IV. x. ix. 122  The household of the governor and his lady formed a set.
1816   J. Austen Emma III. ii. 23  Emma was..delighted to see the respectable length of the set as it was forming.
1816   J. Austen Emma III. ii. 29  Mr. Knightley leading Harriet to the set!
1836   Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) ii. 15  Quadrilles were being systematically got through by two or three sets of dancers.
1890   A. C. Gunter Miss Nobody (1891) xviii. 209  She is at the side of the set, he at the head.
 II. A number or collection of things.

 a. A collection of instruments, tools, or machines customarily used together in a particular operation; a complete apparatus employed for some specific purpose.For various specific applications, see quots.

1561 [see sense 6c].
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues at Ieu,  Vn ieu de violles, a set, or chest of violls.
1669   S. Sturmy Mariners Mag. ii. ii. 53  You must have two or three Sorts and Sets of Steel Letters and Figures.
1683   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises II. 98  A whole Set of Punches of the same Body of Roman and Italica.
1687   G. Miège Great Fr. Dict. i. at Jeu,  Un Jeu de Quilles [Boyer: neuf quilles pour jouer], a Set of Pins.
1691   T. Hale Acct. New Inventions 70  They will..provide two setts of Rudder-Irons to each Ship.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 108. ¶4  A Set of Shuttlecocks.
1773   Life N. Frowde 39  A complete Sett of Mathematical Instruments.
1825   Gentleman's Mag. 95 i. 215  Five or six of these barbacues form a set close to the pulping-mill.
1842   Civil Engineer & Architect's Jrnl. 5 387/1  The ‘hanging sets’ or columns of pumps, with their ‘ground spears’ used in sinking the shafts.
1848   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 9 ii. 567  The bin-man, with his pickers, is placed to a certain number of hills, which is called a set.
1864   A. Jeffrey Hist. Roxburghshire IV. 117  A sett of machines, at this time [c1818], consisted of a double scribbler,..a double carder,..a 36-spindled billy,..and four 48-spindled jennies.
1879   Man. Artill. Exerc. 117  A set of scales, consisting of a front and rear scale.
1881   R. Forgan Golfer's Handbk. 35  Set, a pack of clubs.
1884   Mil. Engin. I. ii. 23  In laying out tools in rows the sets should be one pace apart.
1897   R. F. Foster Compl. Hoyle 563  Matadore Game... Four dominoes in the set are trumps or Matadores.

 b. = pumpset n. at pump n.1 Compounds 2.

c1889   W. Tate Princ. Mining xxi. 157  The lifting set delivers into a cistern from which the forcing set pumps the water to bank.
1950   Water Power II. 219  The installation comprises two vertical sets consisting of motor and pump only.
1977   Pump Costs (5th Techn. Conf. of Brit. Pump Manuf. Assoc.) 231  The circuits were modified to give a signal ‘pump unprimed’ but not to shut down the set.

 c. A piece of electrical or electronic apparatus, as a telephone, a telegraph receiver or transmitter, a radio or television receiver, etc. Also, a radar transmitter and receiver. Cf. handset n.2

1891   Man. Instruct. Army Telegr. Field Telegraphs Plate II. (caption)    Two single current sets.
1898   Electrician 4 Mar. 625/2  A diminutive telephone set..is now being put on the market.
1903   Science Siftings XXV. 49/1  The instruments of the portable military out~fits are similar to those of the permanent station sets.
1915   A. Fage Aeroplane iv. 42  A wireless set driven by a motor-cycle engine is mounted in front of the passenger's seat.
1923   Radio Broadcast Jan. 181/2  Drug stores, music stores, cigar stores, even men's furnishing stores have radio sets for sale.
1931   B. Brown Talking Pictures vi. 146  Wherever one looked there seemed space and wide, flat walls. One of the larger-sized sets should have been required to fill such an amount of enclosing surfaces.
1936   W. H. S. Smith Let. 13 Dec. in Young Man's Country (1977) ii 46,  I dropped in on Stansbury..to hear his wireless which is a very good set.
1948   J. L. Hornung Radar Primer v. 123  The electrical features of radar sets for use in airplanes are similar to those of sets used on ships.
1955   Radio Times 22 Apr. 30/1 (advt.)    Here is a..table radiogram... Fine sets these Ferguson's.
1961   L. Mumford City in Hist. xvi. 496  Reality has been progressively reduced to what filters through the screen of the television set.
1972   Works Engineer June 12 (heading)    Standby electric generator sets.
1974   P. N. Wilson Water Turbines 17 (caption)    Model of 83,000 HP Francis turbine hydro-electric set at Eildon Power Station, Australia.
1976   M. Gilbert Night of Twelfth ix. 88  He used to have that old set going all day. You'll be just in time for the six o'clock news.

a. A number of musical instruments arranged to play together; a band; also set of music.

 b. A suite of bells to be rung together.

 c. A ‘pair’ of organs, of bagpipes: see pair n.1 6.

1561   T. Hoby tr. B. Castiglione Courtyer ii. sig. M.ivv,  The musike of a sette of Violes.
1660   Englands Joy in Fourth Coll. Scarce & Valuable Tracts (1751) II. 142  In many Places Sets of loud Musick.
1670   R. Baxter Cure Church-div. 75  As a musical instrument in tune or a set of musick, delight the hearer by the pleasing harmony.
1679   A. Lovell tr. F. A. Pomey Indic. Univ. 165  A set of Violins.
1771   T. Smollett Humphry Clinker II. 223  A variety of tunes, played upon a set of bells.
1795   Diary in Antiquary (1896) Oct. 303  Doncaster... Fine set of organs.
1893   R. L. Stevenson Catriona Concl. 368  We were guided up to the garret where he lay by the sound of Highland piping. It seemed he had just borrowed a set of them from Bohaldie to amuse his sickness.
1906   J. J. Raven Bells 11  A treble in a village set of four or five.

7. A ‘pair’ of beads. Obs.

1597   Shakespeare Richard II iii. iii. 146  Ile giue my iewels for a set of Beades.
1634   T. Herbert Relation Trav. 55  Vpon the Coffin lie a set of great Beades.

 a. A collection of volumes by one author, dealing with one subject, belonging to one department of literature, or issued in a series.

c1615   in Walcott William of Wykeham (1852) 166  Item, a sett of Ovids 0 5 4.
a1616   Shakespeare Taming of Shrew (1623) ii. i. 106  And this small packet of Greeke and Latine bookes..Take you the Lute, and you the set of bookes.
1712   T. Hearne Remarks & Coll. (1889) III. 461,  I want Setts also for several others.
1726   Advt. in J. Ker Mem.,  Price 10 Guineas the small, 15 Guineas the large Paper in Sheets for the whole Set.
1778   F. Burney Early Jrnls. & Lett. (1994) III. 54  My Father told me it was a shame that I, the Author, should not have even one set of my own Work.
1815   Scott Guy Mannering I. xx. 322  Commentaries,..sets of the fathers, and sermons.
1873   T. B. Aldrich Marjorie Daw i. 10  A complete set of Balzac's works, twenty-seven volumes.
1911   Publisher's List Dickens' Works, 18 vols.  Sold in Sets only, excepting the single vols. listed above.

 b. A number of musical compositions forming a whole, as a church ‘service’.

1590   T. Watson (title)    The first sett, of Italian Madrigalls Englished.
1603   Inventory in J. Gage Hist. & Antiq. Hengrave (1822) 24,  vj bookes covered with pchement. contg vj setts in a book, with songs of iiij, v, vj, vij and viij partes.
1788   in G. Grove Dict. Music (1883) III. 476/2  A set of Quartetts.
1829   Scott Anne of Geierstein III. vii. 189  His Highness..composed an entire set of grotesque music for the Festival of Asses.
1883   J. Stainer in Grove's Dict. Music III. 472  The Gloria has once more been included in the set... The Offertory sentences may perhaps be looked upon as a legitimate addition to the set.

 c. A complete series of the parts of a periodical publication.

1701   in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eminent Literary Men (1843) (Camden) 302,  I wish you would try..the Philosophical Transactions, our sett reaching not far, and being imperfect in the first Volumes.
1709   R. Steele Tatler No. 31. ⁋8  They had never heard of the Tatler 'till I brought down a Set.
1830   T. Carlyle in Foreign Rev. 5 12  He perused the antiquated sets of Newspapers.
1834   Macaulay in G. O. Trevelyan Life & Lett. Macaulay (1876) I. 354  All the Edinburgh Reviews are being bound, so that we shall have a complete set up to the forthcoming number.

 d. A series of prints by the same engraver.

1768   Boyer's Royal Dict. (rev. ed.) (at cited word),   A whole set of Prints ingraved by John Audran.
1841   R. Browning Pippa Passes in Bells & Pomegranates 5/1  You brought those foreign prints... Nothing but saying His own set wants the proof-mark, roused him up.
1854   Thackeray Newcomes I. xi. 118  He could talk the art-cant..and had a set of Morghens and Madonnas.

 e. A definite number of copies of a bill of exchange or of lading: see quot. 1818.

1818   Chitty Bills of Exchange (ed. 5) 81   The several parts of a foreign bill are called a set; each part contains a condition, that it shall be paid, provided the others remain unpaid.
1865   H. Phillips Amer. Paper Currency II. 91  Bills of exchange were directed to be prepared in setts of four.
1883   Law Rep.: Queen's Bench Div. 11 333  The bill of lading had been drawn in a set of three copies.

 f. A number of pieces of Jazz or popular music performed in sequence by a musician or group. Cf. sense 8b.

1946   B. Treadwell Big Bk. of Swing 125/2  Set, group of musical selections.
1955   S. Whitmore Solo ii. v. 159  Between sets at Fack's Jaeger found himself alone.
1967   New Yorker 21 Jan. 52,  I played two sets and Marsala asked me to join the band.
1977   Sounds 1 Jan.   We all write lyrics but they're too disgusting to be included in the set.

 a. A number of things connected in temporal or spatial succession or by natural production or formation.

a1616   Shakespeare Othello (1622) ii. iii. 135  Hee'le watch the horolodge a double set, If drinke rocke not his cradle.
1674   N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 74  The least bitling of it will so far club and fall in with the laws that bind the whole Set.
1681   H. More Plain Expos. Daniel App. ii. 278  The seven last plagues of the Vials supposing a Sett or Number of plagues antecedent.
1692   R. Bentley Boyle Lect. v. 32  You do not cast any given Sett of Faces with four Cubical Dice.
1759   R. Smith Harmonics (ed. 2) ix. 212   The Proper Set of Beats, which the said vths ought to make in the given organ.
1815   Scott Guy Mannering II. 303  A new set of words to the old tune of ‘over the Water to Charlie’.
1841   T. R. Jones Gen. Outl. Animal Kingdom xxviii. 574  An elaborate temporary set of muscles provided for the purpose.
1893   H. H. Howorth Glacial Nightmare I. 31  A set of low hills also intervene.

 b. The complement of teeth (natural or artificial) with which a person (or animal) is furnished.

1678   J. Browne Compl. Disc. Wounds 236  The Tongue being thus guarded with a Sett of Teeth.
1700   T. Brown Amusem. Serious & Comical ix. 97  Other knaves..take as much for Drawing out an Old Tooth, as would buy a Sett of New ones.
1705   J. Vanbrugh Confederacy i. i,  I have worn out four pair of pattens with following my old lady Youthful, for one set of false teeth, and but three pots of paint.
1854   Thackeray Newcomes I. xxiv. 230  Her ladyship's teeth (a new and exceedingly handsome set).
1878   L. P. Meredith Teeth 250  With mouths so unfavourable that it is impossible to adapt a set of teeth to them.
1886   C. Scott Pract. Sheep-farming 15  Each set when complete consists of incisor, canine, and molar teeth.

c.   set of features n. Obs. the lineaments of a person's face.

1713   J. Addison Cato i. iv,  'Tis not a sett of features, or complexion..that I admire.
1779   G. Keate Sketches from Nature (ed. 2) I. 59   That air of sensibility..accompanied with a pleasing set of features.
1815   Scott Guy Mannering I. ii. 25  He had a tall handsome figure, a good set of features.

 d. A spell (of weather); = series n. 5b. Obs. exc. dial. (but cf. set-in adj. (b) at set adj.1 Special uses 3b, to set in 5 at set v.1 Phrasal verbs 2).

1633   T. James Strange Voy. 104  Wee must haue a set of faire weather, to passe the Straight.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1666 (1955) III. 452  With a long set of faire & warme weather.
1880   W. H. Patterson Gloss. Words Antrim & Down (at cited word),  A long set of saft weather.

 a. A number of things grouped together according to a system of classification or conceived as forming a whole.

1690   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding ii. i. 37  Which Operations..do furnish the Understanding with another sett of Ideas.
1701   Swift Disc. Contests Nobles & Commons v. 57  He assumes..an entire Set of very different Airs.
1730   A. Malcolm New Syst. Arithm. 509  Conceive two or more different Setts (or Systems) of Things, containing each the same, or a different number of Things.
1738   Swift Compl. Coll. Genteel Conversat. p. xxiii,  My old Friend..did..invent a Set of Words and Phrases.
1742   E. Young Complaint viii. 387  Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.
1774   O. Goldsmith Hist. Earth VII. 240  An exact plan..of Nature's operations in this minute set of creatures.
1801   M. Edgeworth Forester in Moral Tales I. 135  The set of notions, which he had acquired from his education.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. I. vi. i. 300  The Constitution, the set of Laws,..that men will live under.
1857   A. Cayley Coll. Math. Papers (1890) III. 35  Let L denote a set of any four elements, a, b, c, d.
1897   W. P. Ker Epic & Romance ii. vi. 201  The poet is at this point free to make use of a new set of motives.

b. Math. Used variously, as defined by the individual author. Obs.

1837   W. R. Hamilton in Trans. Royal Irish Acad. (Sci.) XVII. 422  The author hopes to publish hereafter..a Theory of Triplets and Sets of Moments.
1848   W. R. Hamilton in Trans. Royal Irish Acad. (Sci.) XXI. 201  When we have in any manner been led to form successively the separate conceptions of any number of moments of time, we may afterwards form the new conception of a system, or momental set, to which all these separate moments belong.
1886   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 177 23   If the collection be such that whatever undistinguished components abcd…, pqrs…we select, and whatever other component lmno…we select, w, x, y, z…can always be selected from the collection, then the collection will be termed a set.

 c. Math. and Logic. An assemblage of distinct entities, either individually specified or which satisfy certain specified conditions. Cf. element n. 5d.

1857   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 147 717   Any values (x1, y1, z1,…) satisfying the equations, are said to constitute a set of roots of the system.
1897   W. Burnside Theory Groups of Finite Order i. 1  Let a1, a2,…, an be a set of n distinct letters.
1903   Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 4 27  A set of elements in which a rule of combination ○ is so defined as to satisfy the following three postulates shall be called an Abelian group with respect to ○.
1937   Jrnl. Symbolic Logic 2 66  According to the leading idea of the von Neumann set theory we have to deal with two kinds of individuals, which we may distinguish as sets and classes. The distinction may be thought of in this way, that a set is a multitude forming a proper thing, whereas a class is a predicate regarded only with respect to its extension.
1965   E. M. Patterson & D. E. Rutherford Elem. Abstr. Algebra i. 3  If x is an element of a set S, we write xS.
1972   A. G. Howson Handbk. Terms Algebra & Anal. ii. 8  A set is a totality of certain definite, distinguishable objects of our intuition or thought—called the elements of the set. This classic definition of a set was given by Georg Cantor in 1874. Such attempts to give elementary definitions of a set are, however, doomed to failure, their being in the main based on the use of undefined synonyms, such as ‘collection’, and leading to logical inconsistencies (see Russell paradox..). For this reason, mathematicians now regard the notion of a set as an undefined, primitive concept.
1975   I. Stewart Concepts Mod. Math. iv. 47  There is only one empty set. All empty sets are equal.

 d. transf. Used variously in Linguistics (see quots.).

1935   W. F. Twaddell On defining Phoneme 60  A modification occurs only in phonetic fractions corresponding to forms, the relations of which constitute relations of sets of micro-phonemes.
1942   B. Bloch & G. L. Trager Outl. Ling. Anal. iii. 45  A structural set is a group of all the phonemes which occur in a given phonetic environment and hence, in that position, directly contrast with each other.
1964   M. A. K. Halliday et al. Ling. Sci. ii. 22  The range of possibilities in a closed choice is called technically a system, that in an open choice a set... We often talk of ‘closed system’ and ‘open set’.

 11. The complete collection of the ‘pieces’ composing a suite of furniture, a service of china, a clothing outfit, or the like.

1687   A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 160  All these Pavillions are..lined within with sets of lovely Tapistry.
1687   G. Miège Great Fr. Dict. ii. s.v.,  A fine Set of Silver Plate.
1696   London Gaz. No. 3158/4,  Fine Sets for Dressing Tables.
1697   tr. Countess D'Aunoy's Trav. (1706) 140  Neither is it enough to have one Sett of Jewels, as our Ladies in France have.
1699   A. Boyer Royal Dict. (at cited word),  A Set of Diamonds... A Set of Buttons.
1779   Mirror No. 40,  The fall of a set of Dresden.
1798   R. W. Miller in Ld. Nelson Dispatches & Lett. (1846) VII. p. clx,  I..had every man..at work to alter some of her own sails, and some we got from the Serieuse to make up a set for her.
1847   Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848) xxix. 247  A set of Irish diamonds and Cairngorms.
1859   Habits Good Society iv. 163  Her set of winter sables.
1867   H. Latham Black & White 74  The door~keeper wears a set of shooting dittos.

 a. A series of buildings or apartments associated in use; esp. a suite of apartments let as lodgings.

1723   D. Defoe Hist. Col. Jack (ed. 2) 161   He led me into a..Set of Ware-houses.
1820   Gentleman's Mag. Jan. 79/1  A single room out of the sixteen sets composing that part of the Hall [i.e. Magdalen Hall].
1833   H. Martineau Brooke & Brooke Farm (ed. 3) iv. 53   His one set of farm buildings.
1840   J. T. J. Hewlett Peter Priggins xiv,  The Dean's scout was summoned to..show me the rooms..that I might select any set I chose.
1841   Thackeray Great Hoggarty Diamond ix,  First we went into lodgings,—into three sets in three weeks.
a1890   H. P. Liddon et al. Life E. B. Pusey (1893) I. iv. 89  At Lent term, 1826, Pusey went into rooms in Oriel College. The set he occupied [etc.].

 b. Mining. In full set of timber(s : A frame for supporting the side of a level or shaft, or the roof of a gallery.

1830   Eng. & For. Mining Gloss., Cornw. (1860) 22  Set of timber, a frame complete to support each side of the vein, level, or shaft.
1877   R. W. Raymond Statist. Mines & Mining 263 (note) ,   The ‘set of timbers’ may perhaps be fairly assumed to represent 50 cubic yards of material removed.
1877   R. W. Raymond Statist. Mines & Mining 276  Replacing the old timbers with new square sets.

 a. A team of (usually six) horses.

1687   G. Miège Great Fr. Dict. 1,  Attelage, a Set of Horses for a Coach or Cart, or of Oxen for a Cart or plough, four of each.
1701   W. Wotton Hist. Rome 402  He would give Sets of Chariot-Horses.
1748   S. Richardson Clarissa V. xxiv. 206  To wait upon my Beloved with a coach and four, or a set.
a1794   Gibbon Mem. in Misc. Wks. (1796) I. 82  The favourite team, a handsome set of bays or greys.
1825   T. Hook Sayings & Doings 2nd Ser. I. 153  A set of horses for town.

 b. A train of coal-trucks.

1863   R. Scott Ventil. Mines 10  [The doors] are at a sufficient distance from each other, so as to admit the set to pass through the one before the other is required to be opened.
1871   Daily News 17 Aug.,  When the sets had arrived at ‘meetings’, instead of passing each other, they ran on to the same line.

 14. The series of movements or figures that make up a square dance or country dance, esp. the quadrille; the music adapted to this.   first set n. see quots. 1894, 1898. (Cf. set dance n. at set adj.1 Special uses 1.) running set: see running set n. at running adj. Special uses 3b.

1836   Dickens Sketches by Boz 1st Ser. II. 300  He attached himself solely to Miss Julia Briggs, with whom he danced no less than three sets consecutively.
1849   G. Cupples Green Hand (1856) iii. 29  They were soon swimming away in the first set.
1864   Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1865) I. i. xi. 104  The discreet automaton [at the piano]..played a..tuneless ‘set’.
1894   E. Scott Dancing 119  The Quadrille. (Generally known as the First Set.)
1898   tr. Vuillier's Hist. Dancing 431  The ‘First Set’ came over from Paris,..and was introduced..as the ‘Parisian Quadrille’.


  Special Comb.

  set theory n. the branch of mathematics which deals with sets without regard to the nature of their individual constituents; an axiomatization which allows of the discussion of sets.

1936   W. V. Quine in Jrnl. Symbolic Logic June 45  Set-theoretic Foundations for Logic... In his set theory Zermelo uses the variables ‘x’, ‘y’, etc. for the representation of ‘things’ generally.
1937   Jrnl. Symbolic Logic 2 65  The system of axioms for set theory to be exhibited in this paper is a modification of the axiom system due to von Neumann.
1971   Where Nov. 332/1  Many would probably ‘solve’ it by using set theory and drawing a Venn diagram.
1975   N. Chomsky Logical Struct. Linguistic Theory iii. 107  We will assume..that each level includes a full set theory, so that we can also form sets of strings, sequences of strings, etc.

  set-theoretic adj.

1964   E. Mendelson Introd. Math. Logic p. vii,  In the belief that beginners should be exposed to the most natural and easiest proofs, free-swinging set-theoretic methods have been used.

  set-theoretical adj. of or pertaining to set theory.

1957   P. Suppes Introd. Logic xi. 232  A function is a set-theoretical, not a linguistic, entity.

  set-theoretically adv.

1952   S. C. Kleene Introd. Metamath. xiv. 424  B is a ‘theorem’ set-theoretically.

Draft additions  1993


  Bodybuilding. A fixed number of repetitions of a particular exercise, performed as a unit.

1956   Muscle Power June 41/2  Which brings us up to his routine... The exercises, the weights, the sets and the repetitions will now be listed here.
1961   Muslce Power Nov. 27/1  Going in for high sets of high reps he soon trimmed that ‘smoothness’ away.
1985   Bodypower June 5/1  Gladys began to grimace during the 8th rep but managed to perform two more for her first set.

Draft additions  1993


  A group of waves of similar height and force. Surfing slang.

1963   Surfing Yearbk. 43/1  Set, a group of waves.
1977   Fortune Aug. 75/2  Prone on his board, Hastings paddles out beyond the line of breakers, and then watches for a set of waves to roll in.
1986   Wavelength Surfing II. ii. 68/2  The surf was a constant 2–3ft with the occasional 4–5ft set, and the scoring average for the six scoring waves was around 6.0–7.5 per heat.

set, adj.1

Pronunciation:  /sɛt/
Forms:  see set v.1   Forms 3.
Etymology:  past participle of set v.1
When in concord with a following n., it was formerly often hyphened.
 1. In various strictly participial uses, with reference to corresponding senses of the vb.

 a. Of a task, a subject of study or discourse: Imposed or prescribed. Now rare exc. in set book: a book ‘set’ or prescribed as one of the subjects; also set text.

a1300   Cursor Mundi 26270  Quen nede es for to slak þe sett penance þat es for plight.
1709   Steele & Swift Tatler No. 66. ⁋1  When you are to talk on a Set Subject.
1863   W. C. Baldwin Afr. Hunting i. 2  My natural aversion to any set task.
1888   Daily News 5 Nov. 5/2  Set books are for a Tripos the exception rather than the rule.
1966   N. Nicolson in H. Nicolson Diaries & Lett. (1966) 28  He read..the whole of Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes because it was my set-book at school.
1968   Listener 22 Aug. 244/3  By the end of 1967, however, it had sold more than 15,000 copies, mainly because a few enterprising examining bodies had chosen it as a set book for A-level GCE.
1982   Times 12 Aug. 8/3  Mrs. Thatcher's Family Policy Committee has been given a set text in the form of a paper by the recently appointed head of the Downing Street Policy Unit.

b. Of law: Imposed by definite enactment; = positive v. 1. Obs.

c1200   Trin. Coll. Hom. 17  Hit is iset lage..þat me sal children fuluhtnie.
c1320   Cast. Love 170  Two lawen Adam scholde..holden In Paradis: Þat on him was þorw kynde i-let, Þat oþer was clept lawe I-set.
c1320   Cast. Love 193  Þe kuyndeliche and þe set ek, Boþe his lawen he to-brek.

c. Of plants or trees: Planted, not self-sown or growing wild. Also, that has been ‘set’ or dibbled, not ‘sown’ broadcast. Obs.

1562   W. Turner 2nd Pt. Herball f. 60,  ii. sortes of sowen or set myrtel trees.
1562   W. Turner 2nd Pt. Herball f. 60v,  The set or gardin Myrt tre.
1644   R. Symonds Diary (1859) 44  Round about the howse many rowes of sett tall oakes.
1780   Lett. & Papers Bath Soc. I. 15  A whole field was sown, and set, in alternate stetches... The produce of the set part was eight bushels per acre more than the sown.

d. Provided with a musical setting. Obs.

1598   B. Yong tr. J. de Montemayor Diana 237  The sweetenes of a Set-song.
1600   Englands Helicon sig. Tiv,  Out of M. Birds set Songs.
1706   A. Bedford Temple Musick xi. 226  Our Psalm Tunes were composed before any of our Set Services.

 e. Placed in a setting, mounted.

1535   Bible (Coverdale) 1 Chron. xxx. A,   Onix stones, set Rubyes [1611 stones to be set], & stones of dyuerse coloures.
1714   J. Gay Araminta in R. Steele Poet. Misc. 89  Her new-set Jewels round her Robe are plac'd.

 f. Inserted in a fixed framework, built in. set bowl (U.S.), a lavatory basin. set tub (U.S.), a tub for washing, fixed in masonry. Also set-pot (see Special uses 1).

1885   W. D. Howells Rise Silas Lapham ii. 50  I'll do the wash.., said Mrs. Lapham. I presume you'll let me have set tubs.
1899   W. D. Howells Ragged Lady 185  He sympathized with her in her wish that there was a set-bowl in her room.

 g. Of the teeth: Clenched.

1810   Scott Lady of Lake iii. 111  With set teeth and clenched hand.
1876   A. J. Evans Through Bosnia viii. 368  The sailors..with set teeth laboured at the oars as for grim life.

 h. Of types: That have been ‘set up’.

1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. II. ii. iv. 119  Your military ranked Arrangement going all (as the Typographers say of set types, in a similar case) rapidly to pie.

 i. Of jelly: that has become firm. Cf. set v.1 97a, 97c.

1973   Cooking for Today (Good Housekeeping) 264/4   Pour half this vanilla jelly on to the set coffee jelly.
1974   M. Lindlaw Super Sweets & Puddings 58  Make up the Angel Delight..and pipe or swirl on to the set jelly.
 2. Appointed or prescribed beforehand; †appointed for observance by the Church. Hence (with sense less distinctly ppl.), Fixed, definite, not subject to uncertainty or alteration.

 a. Of a point of time.

c1050   Laws Northumb. Priests §36 (Liebermann) 382  Gif preost on gesetne timan tida ne ringe oððe tida ne singe.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 301   Ȝef eut ilimpeð misliche þet ȝe ne beo naut ihuslet iþeose sette termes.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 12706   Arður þa hehte aðelest kinge. to ane isette time [c1300 Otho at one isat dai] þat folc isomnien.
1477   Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Hist. Jason (1913) 18  The triews faylled at tyme sette & expired.
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) viii. 213   Quhen the set day cumin was He sped him fast toward the place.
1597   R. Hooker Of Lawes Eccl. Politie v. lxx. 195  Festiuall solemnities and set dayes.
1628   J. Earle Micro-cosmogr. xvii. sig. D6,  An old Colledge Butler..keepes the set houres at his booke more duly then any.
a1659   R. Brownrig 65 Serm. (1674) I. i. 12  God..sets much by them, that put him not off with some set-dayes service.
1701   Swift Disc. Contests Nobles & Commons iii. 28  The set time for Payment.
1769   E. Bancroft Ess. Nat. Hist. Guiana 325  The Indians have no set time of eating.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. II. vi. i. 370  There will not have arrived, at the set day, Three thousand of them in all.

 b. Of wages, income, rent, quantity. Now rare.

?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 314   Nanancre seruant ne achte..to asken iset hure bute mete ant clað.
1504   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1900) II. 262  Item, to the said Maister Andro, that he gaif in almous be the Kingis command, by the set almous..xxxjs.
1587   R. Hovenden in C. R. L. Fletcher Collectanea (1885) I. 217  Which a sett rent can no wise affoord.
1593   T. Nashe Christs Teares f. 77v,  Half a Crowne..is the sette pryce of a strumpets soule.
a1640   P. Massinger Guardian i. i. 239 in 3 New Playes (1655) ,  Some..Make a set living on't.
1651   T. Hobbes Leviathan ii. xxii. 123  It is not a set number that makes the Assembly Unlawfull.
1705   J. Addison Remarks Italy 480  Handsome Fountains planted at set Distances from one End of the Streets to the other.
1851   A. Helps Compan. Solitude (1854) ix. 157  There always will be a set amount of wrongdoing.
1891   Labour Commission Gloss.,  Set wages, a fixed weekly wage, apart altogether from piece-work.

 c. Of rules, order, a form of words, etc.

1576   W. Lambarde Perambulation of Kent 211  The..Princelike Palaices..,which the Archbishops..kept..to perfourme their set solemnities of housekeping.
1597   R. Hooker Of Lawes Eccl. Politie v. xxvi. 56  A strange conceipt, that to serue God with any set forme of common prayer is superstitious.
a1620   M. Fotherby Atheomastix (1622) ii. i. §7. 182  As strictly tied vnto his set-motion, as a Mill-horse to his Mill.
1630   Bp. J. Hall Occas. Medit. §lxxx,  The Monarchicall government requires a constant and regular course of the set degrees of rule and inferiority.
1705   G. Stanhope Paraphr. Epist. & Gospels II. 215  A long preparation of set Diet.
1710   G. Berkeley Treat. Princ. Human Knowl. §30  The set rules or established methods.
1879   J. Earle Philol. Eng. Tongue (ed. 3) vi. 283   The set words of a proverb.
1883   J. Gilmour Among Mongols xvii. 201  Our religious system has no set form of liturgy to be got off by heart and repeated.

d. Of persons, things, places: Fixed, specified, definite. Obs.

1594   Selimus sig. B3v,  Things that were as common as the day, Did then to set possessours first obey.
1709   Ld. Shaftesbury Moralists i. i. 5  There are formal Set-Places, where..there is enough said and taught of this kind.

 e. Of a meal in a hotel, etc.: consisting of a predetermined collection of dishes or items of food at a fixed price.

1914   ‘Saki’ Beasts & Super-beasts 308  The one-and-sixpenny set dinner receded..to a Sunday extravagance.
1923   C. Stone Let. 30 June in C. Mackenzie My Life & Times (1966) V. 250,  I fancy F. will get herself set teas, and other meals out.
1938   D. du Maurier Rebecca xxvi. 423  Colonel Julyan waded through the whole set lunch.
1957   W. Camp Prospects of Love iii. i. 148  She promptly chose the five shilling set meal.
1973   J. Pattinson Search Warrant vii. 105  If you have the set lunch, it comes cheaper.
1978   Times 3 June 11/4  There was an advertised set lunch at £5.50 plus VAT.
 3. Deliberate, intentional.

 a. Of a purpose or design: Deliberately conceived. Chiefly in phrases, of (or †on, a) set purpose (see purpose n. Phrases 5, Phrases 6).

c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Law of Armys (2005) 78   To byde jn felde fermly of sett purpos..cummys of a calde sett mynde confermyt jn hardyness with deliberacioun.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 835/1  Evyn a set purpose.
1581   G. Pettie tr. S. Guazzo Ciuile Conuersat. (1586) i. 24 b,  How much more hainous those faults are which are committed of set mallice, then those which are done of blinde ignorance.
1600   in R. M. Fergusson Logie (1905) II. 22 (note) ,   Cruellie slaine be yame..vpon sait purpois and foirthocht fellonie.
1695   J. Woodward Ess. Nat. Hist. Earth 276  Should a Man go about with never so set Study and Design.
1872   J. Morley Voltaire ii. 57  This fatal predominance was first founded, though assuredly not of set design, by Voltaire.

 b. Of phrases, forms of expression: Deliberately composed, not spontaneously arising. Also, customary, ‘stereotyped.’ Cf. 5d. in good set terms: often used (after the context of the Shakespeare example) for ‘roundly’, ‘with outspoken severity’.

a1616   Shakespeare As you like It (1623) ii. vii. 17,  I met a foole i'th Forrest..Who..rail'd on Lady Fortune in good termes, In good set termes, and yet a motley foole.
1689   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) IV. 618  This the child did without any set or formal repetition; as one who had learned things without booke.
1695   J. Edwards Disc. conc. Old & New-Test. III. ix. 382  The Set Sayings of the Stoicks.
1827   Scott Surgeon's Daughter ix  He drew it up in good set terms, like one who had his senses much at his command.
1832   G. C. Lewis Remarks Use & Abuse Polit. Terms Introd. 1  The set phrase of Scientific inquirers.
1860   J. L. Motley Hist. Netherlands (1865) II. x. 85  The governor-general..often denounced him in good set terms.
1861   Dickens Great Expectations II. xiii. 210  It had no set beginning, as Dear Mr. Pip, or Dear Pip.

c. Contrived in order to deceive. Obs.

1603   J. Florio tr. Montaigne Ess. i. v. 10  Nor by surprises, or stratagems by night, nor by set-flights [Fr. par fuittes apostees].

 4. (In set battle, set field) = pitched adj.2 2. Now rare (cf. sense 5).

1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) viii. 367   The king, in set battalȝe..Vencust him with a gret menȝe.
1488  (▸c1478)    Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) xii. l. 9   Off set battaillis fyve he dyscumfyt haill.
1551   R. Robinson tr. T. More Vtopia sig. Piiiiv,  In sett fylde the wyues doo stande euerye one by here owne husbandes syde.
1572   J. Sadler tr. Vegetius Foure Bks. Martiall Policye Pref. *. ii. b,  Whether they should fight in skirmishe, or set battel.
1665   S. Pepys Diary 17 Feb. (1972) VI. 38  He hath fought more set fields then any man in England hath done.
1773   Hampton Polybius IV. Contents xiv,  The Carthaginians..are defeated in a set engagement.
1883   F. M. Crawford Dr. Claudius xvii,  I challenged her to a set flirtation.
 5. Formal, ceremonious, regular.

 a. As the designation of a particular style of handwriting: see quots. Now hist.

a1535   T. More Hist. Richard III in Wks. (1557) 56/1  Writen in parchment in so wel a set hande.
1597   Shakespeare Richard III iii. vi. 2  This is the indictment..Which in a set hand fairely is engrosst.
1685   J. Matlock Fax Nova Artis Scribendi 6  The Set-Hand is thought fittest..for Ingrossing all Evidences of Lands.
1685   J. Matlock Fax Nova Artis Scribendi 11  The English-Ingrossing-Hand, commonly called Set-Secretary.
1784   T. Astle Origin & Progress Writing v. 98  The writing which prevailed in England from..596 to the middle of the eleventh century, is generally termed Saxon, and may be divided into five kinds, namely, the Roman Saxon, the Set Saxon, the Running hand Saxon, the Mixed Saxon, and the Elegant Saxon.
1784   T. Astle Origin & Progress Writing v. 143  The specimens of the charters..are composed partly of characters called Set Chancery and Common Chancery.
1885   E. M. Thompson in Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 156/2  In the 8th century appears the set book-hand in an even..character.

 b. Of a meal, a meeting for business or pleasure: Carefully pre-arranged; attended with some degree of ceremony or formality; stated, regular, formal. So †set table.

1606   P. Holland tr. Suetonius Hist. Twelve Caesars 71  He feasted daily: and never otherwise than at a set table [L. cena recta].
1653   H. Cogan tr. F. M. Pinto Voy. & Adventures ii. 3  Keeping a set table for above seven hundred persons.
1680   C. Cotton Compl. Gamester (ed. 2) 95   They have one most egregious piece of Roguery more, and that is playing the High-Game at Putt; and this is to be done but once at a Sett-meeting.
1693   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §14 (1699) 21  The Romans usually fasted till Supper; the only set Meal, even of those who eat more than once a Day.
1718   Free-thinker No. 19. 2  His Physitians advised him to leave off Set Suppers.
1818   in Lady Morgan Passages from Autobiogr. (1859) 166  It is not a set party, but one without full dress or ceremony.
1862   Chamb. Encycl. at Curling,  These bon~spiels or set matches, are contested with immense spirit.
1868   E. Edwards Life Sir W. Ralegh I. xxii. 495  The ambassador would fain have discussed such grave matters only at a set audience.

c. Of costume: Suited to ceremonial occasions.

1676   G. Etherege Man of Mode iv. ii. 72  We should not alwaies be in a set dress.
1698   J. Fryer New Acct. E.-India & Persia 390  The set dress of the Persian.

 d. Of a discourse, treatise, etc.: Elaborate, composed in due form; expressly or systematically dealing with a subject. set speech: public speech more or less elaborate; an oration, as distinguished from extemporaneous or informal utterances.

1573   G. Harvey Let.-bk. (1884) 12,  I am inforcid rather to bungle up a pelting histori then to write a set epistle.
1608   G. Chapman Conspiracie Duke of Byron v. i. Q 1,  The most lawierly deliuery Of his set speeches.
1662   E. Stillingfleet Origines Sacræ ii. ii. §2  A learned man hath in a set discourse endeavoured to shew the great defects that were in it.
1701   Acct. Life in T. Stanley Hist. Philos. (ed. 3) sig. b,   He did not confine himself to set Lectures in the Chair.
1762   O. Goldsmith Citizen of World I. 125,  I had prepared a set introductory speech for the occasion.
1817   T. Moore Lalla Rookh 126  The young lady dies, in a set speech.
1834   Macaulay William Pitt in Ess. ⁋29  He was no speaker of set speeches. His few prepared discourses were complete failures.
1886   C. E. Pascoe London of To-day (ed. 3) viii. 89   It is not easy to learn beforehand when the great popular leaders may be expected to make set orations.

e. Regularly established. Obs.

1702   C. Mather Magnalia Christi iv. i. 126/1  They soon determined..That Set-Schools are so necessary, there is no Doing without them.
 6. That has assumed a permanent form or condition; immovable, persistent.

 a. Of facial expression, looks, or countenance, tones of voice: Fixed, rigid, unvarying.

1605   G. Chapman Al Fooles iv. i,  A set countenance Of rage and choller.
a1627   J. Fletcher & T. Middleton Nice Valour i. i, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Ttt3v/2,  Look who comes here sir, his love fit's upon him; I know it, by that set smile, and those congies.
1760   B. Franklin Idea Eng. School 3  Those even set Tones so common among Readers.
1865   A. C. Swinburne Two Dreams in Poems & Ballads 28  The heavy sun's Set face of heat stopped all the songs.
1892   A. Bierce In Midst of Life 96  In that set immobile face was no sign; it was as hard as bronze.

 b. Of a feeling, attitude of mind: Fixed, settled, immovable. †Of action: Resolute. Also (dial. and U.S.) of persons: Obstinate. (Cf. hard-set adj. 3.)

a1640   J. Fletcher & P. Massinger False One iv. ii, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Rr4/1,  Why doe you frowne? good gods, what a set-anger Have you forc'd into your face.
1650   R. Baxter Saints Everlasting Rest (1654) iv. vi. 146  The set and solemn acting of all the powers of the soul.
1748   S. Richardson Clarissa III. vii. 62,  I cannot, at present, write to every particular, unless I would be in set defiance.
1848   J. R. Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (at cited word),  He is very set in his ways.
1848   J. R. Lowell Biglow Papers 1st Ser. ix. 139  Wen I hev once made up my mind, a meet'nhus aint sotter.
1896   Harper's Mag. Apr. 680/1  ‘You are a terribly set person,’ she said,..after she had consented to let him have his own way.

 c. Of a kind of weather: Persistent, likely to continue some time. So quasi-adv. in set fair (also fig. and in extended use). set fair is usually marked on English barometers at the point indicating that the height of the mercury is 30½ inches.

1699   W. Dampier Voy. & Descr. ii. ii. 55  Then you have set Rains till the latter end of August.
a1823   Encycl. Metrop. XV. 281  To the next half-inch below this highest point are written set fair on the one side, and set frost on the other.
1842   Dickens Amer. Notes II. vi. 162  The road..was certainly enough to have shaken tempers that were not resolutely at Set Fair, down to some inches below Stormy.
1873   R. Browning Red Cotton Night-cap Country ii. 108  Like some kindly weathercock..stuck fast at Set Fair.
1921   W. de la Mare Mem. Midget xxix. 197  Her mood, like our weather that April, was almost always ‘set fair’.
1978   J. Pearson Façades xxiii. 399  Everything appeared set fair for the happiest of stays.

d. Of demeanour: Composed, grave. Obs.

c1660   in J. Morris Troubles Catholic Forefathers (1872) (modernized text) 1st Ser. i. vi. 286   She was always of a set and womanly carriage, not wild or given much to play.

 e. Chiefly predicative: Of settled form or habit of body.

1861   T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxf. I. ii. 28  The other man was evidently a year or two older than himself, his figure was more set.
1861   Temple Bar 4 53  Their limbs are not sufficiently ‘set’ to prevent serious accidental injury.
1894   J. D. Astley Fifty Years of my Life I. 144  Orme was, as we should say of a racehorse, ‘too set.’

 7. With prefixed adv.: Having a specified position, location, arrangement, conformation, build, adjustment, disposition, pitch, etc.See broad-set adj. at broad adj., n.1, and adv. Compounds 2   (broad adj., n.1, and adv. Compounds 2), deep-set adj., fine-set (fine adj., n.2, and adv. Compounds 2b), firm-set (firm adj. and adv. Special uses 2), hard-set adj., high-set adj., ill-set adj., low-set (low adj. 9), strong-set at strong adv. 3a, thick-set adj. and n., thin-set (thin adj., n., and adv. Special uses 2), well-set adj.

13..   K. Alis. 7112  Cadace was a ferly best, Thries set [Laud MS. shet] teth was in his teste.

Special uses

 S1. In special collocations (most of which are hyphened as compounds, and often stressed on the first syllable): See also set work n.

set board   n. Sc. Obs.  (a) ? a washboard in a ship  [compare Dutch zetboord, German setzbord] ;  (b) some kind of table.

1512   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1902) IV. 456  Item..for xvc seym and ruf for the set burdis of the greit schip.
1529   Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. (1883) 178  A comptar burd price 2 markis, a set burd with formis and trestis price 13s. 4d.

  set changes n. Bell-ringing = set peal n.

1677   F. Stedman Campanalogia 169  For such as have not yet attain'd the skill to ring these compleat peals, Sett~changes are very proper for them, being easie.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory iii. 462/2  Ringing in Set Changes, that is, the Bells being Set, they order which Bell shall lead away & what to follow.
1872   H. T. Ellacombe Bells of Church iii, in Church Bells Devon 231  Its members rang nothing but rounds and set changes, till about the year 1642, when single changes were first attempted.

set cloth   n. Obs. a kind of worsted fabric.

1467–8   Rolls of Parl. V. 629  Divers Wollen Clothes, some called brode sette Clothes, and that other called streite sette Clothes.
1523   Act 14 & 15 Henry VIII c. 11  Vesses, otherwise called Sette clothes of diuers colours.

  set copper   n. a form of metallic copper containing about 6 per cent of cuprous oxide, produced by oxidation during refining.

1904   Trans. Amer. Inst. Mining Engineers XXXIV. 671  Some of the copper is oxidized to cuprous oxide and dissolved by the metal bath. When the quantity of dissolved cuprous oxide has reached about 6 per cent, the metal is said to have been brought to ‘set-copper’.
1959   J. Newton Extractive Metall. vi. 376  Usually it is not possible to take any short-cuts in refining copper—the metal must be carried to the set-copper stage and then poled.

  set dance   n. a quadrille, country-dance, or the like.

1712   J. Addison Spectator No. 434. ¶5  Several Regular Tunes and Sett Dances.
1808   M. L. Weems Life G. Washington (ed. 6) ii. 9   He has carried down many a sett dance with her.

  set iron   n.  [compare Dutch zetijzer, German setzeisen] Shipbuilding a bar of soft iron, admitting of being bent so as to be used for transferring curves from the scrive-board to the bending plate.

1874   S. J. P. Thearle Naval Archit. 83  When the scrive board is used, a flat rod of soft iron termed the ‘set iron’ is bent to the curvature.

  set joint   n. U.S. slang (see quots. and flat joint (b) s.v. flat adj., adv., and n.3 Compounds 2).

1926   G. H. Maines & B. Grant Wise-crack Dict. 14/1  Set joint, unbeatable game.
1931   Amer. Speech 6 335  Set~joint,..a gambling device operated with a numbered wheel and arrow-spindle. These are always fitted with a gimmick which prevents the customer from winning too often, or which may be used by the operator to lead the customer on until he will place a large bet, when the operator applies the gimmick and the customer loses.

  set line   n.  [compare Dutch zetlijn] a fishing-line with baited hooks, pegged or anchored; also attrib.

1865   J. G. Bertram Harvest of Sea 160  Set-line-fishing..can only be practised in places where the tide recedes to a considerable distance.

set match   n. Obs. an agreement, conspiracy, an appointment made for a highway robbery (cf. to set a match, set v.1 56).

1587   J. Hooker tr. Giraldus Cambrensis Vaticinall Hist. Conquest Ireland 37/2 in Holinshed's Chron. (new ed.) II,   These things came not thus to passe, as it were by a set match.
1591   R. Greene Notable Discouery of Coosenage f. 9v,  When their other trades fail, as..the High Lawyer when he hath no set match to ride about.
1614   Bp. J. Hall Contempl. II. O.T. vii. 269  A set match betwixt the brethren.

  set net   n. a fishing net fastened across a stream or channel, into which the fish are driven.

1481–90   Howard Househ. Bks. (Roxb.) 192  A sett net of ij. fadom.
1745   F. Blomefield Ess. Topogr. Hist. Norfolk II. 866  Two Wardens of the Fishermen-Company..to inspect the Sett Netts belonging to them.
1863   Rep. Sea Fisheries Comm. (1865) II. 1190/1  Small quantities of herrings were taken with set-nets close in-shore.

set peal   n. Bellringing Obs. a ringing of a peal of bells in one position for a considerable length of time before a change is given.

16..   in Eng. Gilds 290  If the Master..shall neglect to warn the Company..for to ring a bisett sett peale, he shall pay..one shilling.

  set point   n. the value of a physical quantity that an automatic controller or regulator is set to maintain; also transf.

1941   T. J. Rhodes Industr. Instruments for Measurem. & Control ix. 419  Where it is not permissible for the process temperature to deviate for any appreciable period from the original set point, it is necessary to use a mode of control previously described as proportional and floating.
1972   Science 9 June 1125/1  One of the principal homeo~static ‘set points’, that for body temperature, seems to depend on the constant ratio of Na+ to Ca2 + in the caudal hypothalamus.
1975   D. G. Fink Electronics Engineers' Handbk. xxiv. 14  Display of the measurement, set point, and output levels is normally provided.

  set-pot   n. (also ˈsetpot)  (a) dial. a fixed cauldron or boiler used for heating water for domestic purposes;  (b) a copper pan, heated by a special flue, used in making varnish, and for heating oil, size, etc.

1839   A. Ure Dict. Arts 1268  Black japan [i.e. varnish], is made by putting into the set-pot 48 pounds of Naples, or any other of the foreign asphaltums.
1862   C. C. Robinson Dial. Leeds & Neighbourhood,  Set pot, a stone boiler or ‘copper’, with a fire-grate under, for the purpose of boiling and ‘stewing’ dirty linen.
1873   E. Spon Workshop Receipts 1st Ser. 65/2  Take the gum pot from the fire; let it cool for a few minutes, then pour it into the oil in the set pot.

set-pull   n. Bell-ringing Obs. the position of a bell when raised so that it stands mouth upwards.

1677   F. Stedman Campanalogia 26  The falling of the bells from a Set-pull.
1677   F. Stedman Campanalogia 46  Supposing that a peal of 5 bells were raised, and rung at a Sett-pull.

  set scene   n. an apparatus built up and placed in position upon a theatrical stage before the rise of the curtain; a collection of side scenes, ‘skies’, etc. depending upon one another for a particular effect.

1866   ‘Old Stager’ Stage Reminisc. ix. 122  The sizes and sets of yarns occupied his thoughts much less than theatrical ‘lengths’ and ‘set scenes’.
1887   Spectator 25 June 857/2  Theatrical speculators now spend such vast sums on the upholstery of their set scenes.

  set scenery n.

1854   F. W. Fairholt Dict. Terms Art 382  The scenery..was entirely of the nature of what is now termed set-scenery, regularly built up by carpenters before the curtain rises, to be taken to pieces again when it falls.

  set scrum   n. (also set scrummage) Rugby Football an organized scrummage ordered by the referee during the course of play; opp. loose scrum(mage) s.v. loose adj., n.2, and adv. Special uses 2.

1925   R. M. Rayner Man. Rugby Football for Public Schools viii. 47 (heading)    On getting possession in ‘set’ scrummages.
1938   Macdonald & Rees Rugger Practice & Tactics ii. 34  Few tries are scored in good football by movements that start from a set scrum.
1960   E. S. Higham & W. J. Higham High Speed Rugby xiv. 185  We deal with the set scrum first, because it forms the basis of loose scrums and loose rucks.
1971   Times 15 Feb. 9/4  Bryce, Miller and Moroney are an experienced front row and rubbed in the fact..at the set scrummages.
1977   S. Wales Guardian 27 Oct. 16/3  By this stage Llandovery's forwards were dominating the set scrums.

  set shot   n. Basketball a shot at the basket made from a still position.

1940   N.Y. Times 21 Jan. v1/3  The cadets, their set shots hitting the mark with a remarkable degree of accuracy, gained the upper hand at the outset.
1976   Milton Keynes Express 9 July 42/3  Wickham, Wynn and Waller were all desperately unlucky with set shots.

  set sod   n. a turf used in building up a bank of a ditch in the operation of water-tabling.

1844   H. Stephens Bk. of Farm II. 574  After a few of these smaller sods have been made ready, the hedger lays them, with the grass side downwards, upon the edges of the set-sods.

  set square   n.  (a) a plate of wood, metal, etc. in the form of a right-angled triangle, the acute angles being either 60° and 30° or both 45°, used by draughtsmen as a guide for drawing lines at one of these angles;  (b) a form of T-square with an additional arm turning on a pivot, for drawing lines at fixed angles to the head;  (c) a joiner's square.

1854   in Specif. Patents, Artists' Instr. (1872) 73  An improved artizans' tool, which may be used as a measuring rule, straight edge, set square, T square, bevel, and plumb rule.
1857   W. Binns Elem. Treat. Orthogr. Project. 1  One 8-inch set square.
1884   J. J. Holtzapffel Turning & Mech. Manip. V. 64  The sliderest is adjusted to it by means of the set square, an instrument with a straight shaft and a steel blade fixed to it at right angles.
1892   E. Rowe Hints on Chip-carving (1895) 15  The set-square of 45°.
1892   E. Rowe Hints on Chip-carving (1895) 7  The 60° set-square.

set-stitched adj. Obs. ? of ‘set-work’ embroidery.

1761   L. Sterne Life Tristram Shandy III. xxix. 142  An old set-stitch'd chair.

  set-stock   v. trans.

1956   N.Z. Jrnl. Sci. & Technol. A. 37 555  Most New Zealand farmers producing fat lambs..generally prefer to set-stock the ewes and lambs from lambing time onwards.
1964   Weekly News (Auckland) 21 Oct. 54/4   Under New Zealand conditions, ewes and lambs are usually set~stocked from lambing until weaning, although rotational grazing is practised on some farms.
1981–2   Deer Farmer (N.Z.) Summer 8/3   Hinds are set-stocked or mob-stocked over winter at about 10 to the acre.

  set stocking   n. Agric. (orig. N.Z.) the grazing of animals, esp. sheep, in the same pasture for a considerable period.

1950   N.Z. Jrnl. Agric. Feb. 100/2  Make sure that the calves are rotated through the paddocks at intervals of a few days. Set stocking at this time of the year is bound to result in..some deaths.
1975   Country Life 26 June 1702/1  In the last 35 years we would seem to have gone full circle—from set-stocking, strip-grazing, paddock-grazing..and now the so called ‘intensive’ set-stocking.

 S2. In parasynthetic derivatives. rare.

1614   G. Chapman Andromeda Liberata Ep. Ded. ¶3v,  The one-ear'd Race Of set-ey'd vulgars.
?1615   G. Chapman tr. Homer Odysses (new ed.) xvii. 602   You are a sawcy set-fac't Vagabond.
1633   T. Stafford Pacata Hibernia i. xi. 74  The treacherous Guid, who did upon a set purposed malice draw this Draught, was..hanged.
 a. With adverbs (see the corresponding combinations of the vb.)

  set-apart adj.

1830   T. P. Thompson in Westm. Rev. July 245  This act of choice baseness and set-apart iniquity.
1858   T. P. Thompson Audi Alteram Partem II. lxxvi. 28  All have sunk into a state of lamentable indifference, there is no burning zeal left except among the set-apart.

  set-down adj.

a1850   D. G. Rossetti Dante & Circle (1874) ii. 281  'Tis no set-down sickness that I have, Nor are my pains set down.
1884   J. Ruskin Bible of Amiens i. 9 (note) ,   The first fixed and set-down footsteps.

  set-on adj.

1864   Q. Jrnl. Sci. 1 467  Well set-on tails and very sloping shoulders.

  set-out adj.

1608   T. Middleton Familie of Love (new ed.) iv. sig. F3,   I am..of the spick & span new set vp Company of [por]ters.
1710   S. Palmer Moral Ess. Prov. 359  If the pomp..be carry'd out of proportion,..it is an ill set-out ambition.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas I. iii. iii. 360  There was no want of magnificence, good taste, or a well-designed set-out at table.
 b. With specific meaning:

  set-down adj. nonce-use described in books, recognized.

  set-in adj.  (a) inserted, inset;  (b) of rain, etc. that has set in or become continuous.

1534   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1905) VI. 185  To be ane set in nek to ane veluet slop.
1866   D. Livingstone Last Jrnls. (1873) I. vi. 158  A set-in rain came on.
1875   E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. 1534/2  Side-notes, marginal or set-in notes.
1895   Montgomery Ward Catal. Spring 280/2  Men's overshirts... Set in bosom, yoke back, [etc.].
1969   Sears Catal. Spring–Summer 37/3  Wing collar, set-in sleeves.

  set-off adj. Sc. of part of a tenement, let off to a sub-tenant.

a1722   J. Lauder Decisions (1759) I. 454  One may set set-off chambers and parts of a house.

  set-on adj. Sc. (see quot. 1825).

1825   J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl.,  Set-on, a term applied to what is singed or slightly burned in the pot or pan.

  set-up adj.  (a) established;  (b) in phr. well set-up (see quot. 1867; also in wider use);  (c) dial. and colloq. conceited, ‘stuck up’;  (d) of type, composed.

1856   J. Kavanagh Rachel Gray iv. 66  Serve her right—the set up thing!
1867   W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. (at cited word),  Soldiers, mariners, and small-arm men, well drilled, and instructed to be upright and soldierlike in their carriage, are ‘well set up’.
1878   Encycl. Brit. VIII. 116/1  Set-up type is also sometimes copied thus.

set, adj.2

Pronunciation:  /sɛt/
Etymology:  Sanskrit, < sa- + iṭ ‘i’.

  In Sanskrit, designating a root after which the vowel i appears before certain suffixes and endings (such roots being now widely explained as reflecting a type earlier having a laryngeal suffix). Also transf. of reconstructed Indo-European roots and formations based on them in various languages.

1897   S. C. Vasu Ashtádhyáyi of Pániṇi II. vii. ii. 1366  A root which is optionally Seṭ before other affixes, is invariably aniṭ before Nishṭhâ.
1939   E. Prokosch Compar. Germanic Gram. 129  Sanskrit grammar..distinguishes between sēṭ-bases and aniṭ-bases, i.e., bases with or without i < ə (sa- ‘with’, an- ‘without’).
1952   W. P. Lehmann Proto-Indo-European Phonol. iii. 28  The laryngeal theory demands a change of analysis of some of the most important IE form classes, such as the seṭ-roots.
1962   C. Watkins Indo-European Origins of Celtic Verb i. 186  In Indo-European, seṭ roots formed only a limited number of kinds of presents... The Celtic verbs continue Indo-European athematic seṭ presents.
1970   G. Nagy Gr. Dial. i. 45  For the extension of complex -iṣ- from seṭ-roots as replacement of simplex -s- and for the morphophonemic conditioning, cf. Kurylowicz, Apophonie, 252–257.

set, v.1

Pronunciation:  /sɛt/
Inflections:   Forms: see below. Pa. tense and pple. set.
Forms:  Inflexional Forms. 1. a. inf. and pres. stem.

α. OE settan (Northumb. setta), ME (15 arch.) setten, ME–15 sette (ME setton, seotte, ME Orm. settenn, Lay. sætten, ME Kent. zetten, ME settyn, cettyn, satte, 15 seatt-), ME–18 sett, 16–18 s.w. dial. zet, ME– set.

c725   Corpus Gloss. (Hessels) P 13   Pastinare, settan.
a900   Laws Ælfred ii. v. (Liebermann) 50  We settað æghwelcere cirican..ðis frið.
c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. xviii. 23  Seðe wil reht setta mið ðegnum his.
c1000   Ags. Ps. c. 3  Ne sette ic me fore eagum yfele wisan.
a1122   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) anno 656,   Þæt hi scoldon..seotte þa dæi hwonne [etc.].
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 3941   Soþ sahhtnesse settenn.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 8767   Heo wolden al þis lond sætten [c1300 Otho sette] on hæore tweire hond.
a1340   R. Rolle Psalter ii. 10  Settand vndire ȝoure fote ȝoure enmys.
1362   Langland Piers Plowman A. vi. 32  Boþe to sowen and to setten.
c1380   Sir Ferumbras (1879) l. 1872  Y set noȝt by þy sawes.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 12416   To sett iesu to werld lar.
c1400   Pilgr. Sowle (1859) ii. xlv. 51  Prowde men..that settyn att nought al other men.
c1420   Chron. Vilod. 1761  How lytull his martrus setton by worldelyche gode.
1499   Promp. Parv. 67/2  Cettyn or putten.
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) iii. 5   Huon and gerarde who by theyr pryde settyth no thynge by me.
1538   in T. Wright Three Chapters Lett. Suppression Monast. (1843) 199  Setteynge many on worke.
1552   Bk. Common Prayer (new ed.) Exhort. Morning Prayer,   To sette foorth his moste worthye prayse.
1584   Eltham Churchwardens' Accts. in Archaeologia 34 63  For seatting fourthe of a soldger into Frawnce.
1590   Spenser Faerie Queene i. iv. sig. D2,  Themselues to setten forth to straungers sight.
1605   London Prodigall sig. G4v,  Che zet not a vig by a wife, if a wife zet not a vig By me.
1613   E. Wright Descr. & Use Sphære 61  Such starres as sett when the sunne riseth, are said to set cosmically.
1711   in 10th Rep. Royal Comm. Hist. MSS (1885) App. v. 176,  I sett again the quære, how can the Irish..be..deemed rebels?
1801   Ld. Nelson Let. 28 Jan. in Quaritch's Catal. Oct. (1909) 28  To sett in a dark room.
1904   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. Feb. 193/2  Unless you have..seen him..‘sett’ the game he fetches.

β. north.ME seit(t, ME sete. (Cf. 2 δ. forms, 3 η. forms.)

a1300   Cursor Mundi 1177,  I sal seit on þi mi merk.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 6060   To seitt him soru at his hert.
1455   in J. Raine Testamenta Eboracensia (1855) II. 215,  I sete vij marcs to a preste to syng a yere for me.
c1480  (▸a1400)    St. Katherine 27 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 443   Quhar all þe folk..he mycht seit opynly and see.

γ. ME sitt, syte, ME sitte, 15–16 sit. (Cf. 2 ζ. forms.)

13..   Cursor M. (Gött.) 1580   Þe schame, þe sin,..To tell war lang to sitt aboute [Fairf. syte].
c1420   Sir Amadace (Camden) xxxiv,  Men sittus ryȝte noȝte him bye.
14..   in J. Gairdner Sailing Direct. (1889) 18  Be ware of your stremes of flode for they sitten north est on the Iron groundes.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 57  Sittand thair strenth thy word againe.
a1616   Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) i. iii. 130  Shall we sit about some Reuels?
1683   in Colonial Rec. Pennsylvania (1852) I. 82  For sitting up of Bouyes in the River and Bay.

b. pres. ind. 2nd pers. sing. OE– settest, ME settist, ME -yst, 15–16 setst, settst; north.OE settes, OE, ME–15 settis.
c825   Vesp. Ps. xx. 4  Ðu settes heafde his beg of stane deorwyrðum.
c950   Lindisf. Gosp. John xiii. 38  Saul ðin fore mec ðu settis [Rushw. setes].
c1000   Ags. Ps. lxxiii. 16  Þu dæg settest.
c1400   Melayne 988  Thou settis more by a littill golde,..Þan to fighte one goddes foo.
1411   in 26 Pol. Poems 43  Þou settest at nouȝt, y bouȝt so dere.
c1460   Wisdom 927 in Macro Plays 66  Why werkyst þou hys consell? by myn settis lyght?
a1475   J. Russell Bk. Nurture (Harl. 4011) in Babees Bk. (2002) i. 121   When þow settyst a pipe abroche.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Job vii. 17   What is man that thou..settest so moch by him?
1558   T. Phaer tr. Virgil Seuen First Bks. Eneidos i. sig. C.jv,  My son, that of the thonderblastes of hye Ioue settst but light.
1562   J. Heywood Prov. & Epigr. (1867) 134  Shall I set at my hart, that thou settst at thy heele.
1611   Bible (A.V.) Deut. xxiii. 20   In all that thou settest thine hand to.
1682   Dryden Mac Flecknoe 13  With what e're Gall thou sets thy self to write.
c. pres. ind. 3rd pers. sing.

α. OE–ME setteþ, (Anglian seteþ), ME -eþþ, ME zetteþ, ME–15 settyth, -ith, ME -eth.

c825   Vesp. Psalter ciii. 3  Se seteð wolcen upstige his.
c975   Rushw. Gosp. Matt. xxiv. 51  Dæl his [he] seteþ mið liceterum.
c1000   Ags. Ps. lxxxiv. 12  And on weg setteð wise gangas.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 7821   Drihhtin setteþþ i þin þohht. God dede to biginnenn.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 6  Huo þet ine þise þinges agelteþ zetteþ zuo moche hire herte..[etc.].
c1450   Mirk's Festial 283  Ȝe settyth noght by no worldely worschyp.
1551   R. Robinson tr. T. More Vtopia sig. Iiii,  He settethe nothynge by yt.
1637   S. Rutherford Lett. (1664) 169  Let Christ (as it setteth him well) have all the glory.

β. OE–ME set(t, (ME sæt, ME Kent. zet).

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xxxv. §4  Þæt hehste god, ðæt..hit eall set.
a1122   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ann. 963,   Nan man buton se abbot ane, & þam þe he þærto sæt.
c1200   Trin. Coll. Hom. 179  Gief he him set a speche.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 7  Ine þe stede of þe sabat..zet holi cherche þane sonday to loky.
c1400   Rom. Rose 4925  Youthe sett man in all folye.
1422   J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. xxxvi. 191  Man be-hettith woman loue when he Set the Ring on hir fynger.

γ. OE (Northumb.), ME settes, ME settus, ME–15 north. settis, -ys, (ME setis, sattys), 15– sets ( setts).

c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. xxiv. 51  Dal his [he] settes mið legerum.
1340–70   Alex. & Dind. 182  Þe..king..þere-on settus his sel.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 1221  Sampson on anothire side setis out belyue.
14..   Erthe upon Erthe (1911) 32/4  How erthe vpon erthe sattys all at noght.
?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 579  He saies he settes here þat he fande.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney tr. Psalmes David (1823) ciii. ii,  He setts thee free.
a1616   Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) iii. iv. 70  And consequently setts downe the manner how.
a1616   Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) iii. i. 270  Which he so sets at naught.
1807   A. Young Gen. View Agric. Essex II. xiii. 334  At this Michælmas (1805) he setts 2000.

d. imp. OE–ME sete (OE Northumb. sett), ME–15 sette, ME zete, ME–15 sett, ME– set; pl.OE settaþ, ME setteþ, ME settith, north. settis.
c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. ix. 18  On sett hond ofer hia [Rushw. gesette].
971   Blickl. Hom. 87  Sete nu þin wuldres tacn in helle.
c1000   Ælfric Homilies II. 542  Settað eornostlice on eowerum heortum þæt [etc.].
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 13584   Setteð [c1300 Otho wendeþ] heom after.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 1847   Þu..irum al þat lond. and sete hit Cordoille an hond.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 254  Zete ane brydel to þine couaytises.
1374   Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde iv. 622  But manly set þe world on sixe and seuene.
1410   in 26 Pol. Poems 37  Among seyntes þy soule sete.
c1449   R. Pecock Repressor (1860) 257  Lord,..sette thou me bisidis thee.
c1450   Mirk's Festial 139  Castys don þes mawmetys..and settyþe þer a cros.
1482   Monk of Evesham 27  Settith before vs the bred.
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) xi. 563   Beis nocht abasit..Bot settis speris ȝow befor.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Coloss. iii. A,   Set youre mynde on the thinges which are aboue.
2. pa. tense.

α. OE–15 sette ( OE–ME sætte, ME seate), ME sete, (ME zette), ME–16 sett, ME– set.

OE   Guthlac A 434  Guðlac sette hyht in heofonas, hælu getreowde, hæfde feonda feng feore gedyged.
c975   Rushw. Gosp. John xx. 15  Sæge hræðe me hwer ðu settes hine.
OE   Beowulf 325  Setton sæmeþe side scyldas..wið þæs recedes wael.
a1122   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ann. 1086,   He sætte mycel deorfrið.
c1160   Hatton Gosp. Luke xix. 21  Þu nymst þæt þu ne settst.
a1175   Cott. Hom. 221  God him sette nama adam.
c1330   R. Mannyng Chron. (Rolls) 2086  Gwyndolene a child had þan,..When tyme was, [she] set hit to boke.
c1380   Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 208  Wher-to, my modir, settist þou me on þi knees,..and rokkid me, and fed me?
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 4175   Siþen þai settam [= sett þam] dun and ete.
c1405  (▸c1387–95)    Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 509   He sette noght his benefice to hyre.
a1561   G. Cavendish Metrical Visions (1980) 184  Thou didest me avaunce And settest me vppe in thys great pompe and pryde.
1579   S. Gosson Apol. Schoole of Abuse in Ephemerides Phialo f. 82v,  The same proposition..which I sette downe before.
c1610–15   Life Holie Helena in C. Horstmann Lives Women Saints (1886) 35  Some she sett out of prison.
1685   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) IV. 441  The Jeweller and Gooldsmith who set the Jewells.

β. ME–18 sat, sate.Frequent in inferior writers of the second half of the 18th c., esp. in intr. senses.

c1420   Master of Oxf. Catech. in T. Wright & J. O. Halliwell Reliquiæ Antiquæ (1845) I. 231  C[lerk] Who sat first vines? M[aister] Noe set the first vines.
1430–40   Lydgate tr. Bochas Fall of Princes (1558) viii. xv. 10  Theodose..Smote of his heed, and sate [1494, 1554 set] it on the gate.
a1547   in Fosbrooke Econ. Mon. Life (1796) 84  She sate forward aft[er] masse.
1566   T. Nuce tr. Octavia (1581) f. 183,  That..rage..Sate them agog.
1677   W. Hubbard Narrative II. 66  We sate Sayle.
1716   B. Church Philip's War i. 36  The fore-most sat down his load and halted.
1742–3   Observ. Methodists 19  The Lord sat his Banner over us.
1755   J. Shebbeare Lydia (1769) II. 74  Like Yorick, he often sat the table on a roar.
1756   W. Toldervy Hist. Two Orphans I. 109  The coach being ready, the ladies..sate out for the hall.
1790   C. M. Graham Lett. Educ. 318  The example which the king and his courtiers sat.
1808   ‘H. St. Victor’ Ruins of Rigonda I. 186  He then sat before them some dried fruits.
1824   H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. 1st Ser. III. 137 (note) ,   The Prince and Marquis..sate out with the names of Thomas and John Smith.
1843   J. C. Frémont Rep. 25 Aug. in D. Jackson & M. L. Spence Exped. J. C. Frémont (1970) I. 482,  I sat out on my return to the camp.

γ. dial. 17–18 sot, s.w. zot.

1776   T. Hutchinson Diary 5 June (1886) II. 67,  I sot out from Falmouth this morning.
1803   M. Charlton Wife & Mistress (ed. 2) II. 51   Dolly informed her that she was to depart the next day..because, as the caravan sot off by five in the morning, they should not catch her travelling before day~light.
a1855   W. T. Spurdens Forby's Vocab. E. Anglia (1858) III. 47  Sot, ‘I sot it down’.
1857   C. Kingsley Two Years Ago III. 161  If ever he sot a foot here!
1888   F. T. Elworthy W. Somerset Word-bk.   Zot his back up purty well.

δ. north. [1 pl. seton], ME seit, sete, ME, 17–18 seet(e.

[c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Mark xv. 19  Seton cnewa.]
a1300   Cursor Mundi 2442  Þar he seit first his auter stan.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 4654  For many seerties we seet þat sysed all þe werde.
1489  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) iii. 394   And certane tyme till him he sete [rhyme meite].
?1748   ‘T. Bobbin’ View Lancs. Dial. (ed. 2) 26   Then they aw seete ogen meh.

ε. ME settede, ME -ide, ME -id, -yd, ME–15 -ed, 15 Sc. -it, 18 s.w. dial. zetted.Frequent in Caxton.

a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Isa. liii. 3   Wherfore ne wee setteden by hym.
c1449   R. Pecock Repressor (1860) 530  Crist..settid the lawe of hise sacramentis to the seid lawe of kinde.
1490   Caxton tr. Foure Sonnes of Aymon (1885) ix. 245  Reynawde setted noughte by his lyffe.
c1520   M. Nisbet New Test. in Scots (1901) I. Matt. iv. 5  The feend..settit him on the pynacile of the tempile.
1582   T. Bentley et al. Monument of Matrones iii. 330  O heauenlie King, who..settedst me in the regall throne.
1888   B. Lowsley Gloss. Berks. Words & Phrases 12,  I zetted.

ζ. ME sitt. (Cf. 1a γ. forms.)

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 5058   And þan on bink he sitt him bi [Fairf. sete, Gött. sett, Trin. Cambr. set].


α. OE geset(t, -sæt, ME iset, (ME infl. isette, ME Lay. isæt, hi(i)-sette, ME ysett, Kent. y-, izet), ME ( 15–16 arch.) yset, ME ysett(e, isett(e, ME i-sete.

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xi. §2  Þa gesælða þe ge oninnan iow habbað..geset.
c1050   Ags. Hom. (Assmann) 183   Hys flæsc wearð eall gesett.
c1175   Lamb. Hom. 11  Þas daȝes beoð iset us to muchele helpe.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 304   Þeos riche ancres þe..habbeð rentes isette.
c1330   Arth. & Merl. 9  Childer, þat ben to boke ysett.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 167 Erþan hi by yzet ope þet bord.  
a1440   Sir Degrev. 1373  Swythe chayres was i-sete And quyschonis of vyolete.
c1450   Godstow Reg. 491/11  In tymys I-sette.
?c1450   tr. Bk. Knight of La Tour Landry (1906) 1  My seruice wel ysette and quitte.
1596   Spenser Second Pt. Faerie Queene iv. iii. sig. C6v,  The stone therein yset.
1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit. i. 387  With words in forme yset.

β. OE–18 sett, ME (infl.), ME–15 sette, (ME cette), ME– set, (18 s.w. dial. zet).

c1000   Ags. Ps. cxliii. 14  Settum beamum.
1128   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ,   Fulle feoht was sett betwenen ða Cristene & þa heðene.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) Ded. l. 101   Wiþþ all swillc rime alls her iss sett.
a1300   Havelok 2612  Þe helmes heye on heued sette.
1303   R. Mannyng Handlyng Synne 189  She shal noght to any be sette Withoutyn leue of my maumette.
c1340   Nominale (Skeat) 850   Henne is set.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 179  Sen it is sett to be soo.
c1440   Promp. Parv. 67/2  Cette, or putt.
1477   Earl Rivers tr. Dictes or Sayengis Philosophhres (Caxton) (1877) lf. 34,   I haue not sette by golde ne siluer.
1607   Stat. in Hist. Wakefield Gram. Sch. (1892) 59  All partialitie sett apart.
1719   in J. A. Picton City of Liverpool: Select. Munic. Rec. (1886) II. 62  To be sett out so as not to prjudice the highway.
1746   Exmoor Scolding (ed. 3) ii. 12   When tha art zet agog.
1757   R. Robertson Let. in J. Russell Haigs of Bemersyde (1881) 359  All your neighbours are sett to be upon you.
1850   J. Greenwood Sailor's Sea-bk. 140  To make a sett near to another that cannot be sett on any more.

γ. OE Anglian geset(t)ed, -et, ME settyt, 15 -it, 18 dial. zetted.

c825   Vesp. Ps. ii. 6  Ic soðlice geseted ic eam cyning.
c900   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. iii. xviii. §1  Þa wilnade he liif onhyrgan, þe he wel geseted geseah in Gallia rice.
c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Mark iv. 21  Gesetted bið, ponatur.
c1520   M. Nisbet New Test. in Scots (1901) I. Luke xix. 21  Thou takis away that that thou has nocht settit.
?1533   G. Du Wes Introductorie for to lerne Frenche sig. Cciv,  The soule vegetable..is setted within the myght elemented.
1888   B. Lowsley Gloss. Berks. Words & Phrases 12 Zetted.  

δ. OE Northumb. gesatted, ME isat, ME sat(t)e, 15–16 sat.

c950   Lindisf. Gosp. John xx. 6  Ða linne hræglo gesattedo vel asetedo, linteamina posita.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 15087   Þe dæi wes isæt [c1300 Otho iset].
14..   Three Chron. (Camden) 77  Sir Baudwyns hede caryed to Excester and sate upon the castell yate.
14..   Tundale's Vis. (Wagner) 2031   A crowne..satte aboute..Wyth precious stones.
1594   R. Ashley tr. L. le Roy Interchangeable Course 47 b,  To be sat at their ease.
a1695   A. Wood Life ann. 1683 (1772) II. 324  In the Pump below the Star Inn was a Tub sat.

ε. dial.18 a-sot, sot, zot (see Eng. Dial. Dict.).

1836   T. C. Haliburton Clockmaker (1839) xxi. 76  To get it sot to rights.
1888   F. T. Elworthy W. Somerset Word-bk.   He's a quiet sort of a man like till he's a zot up.

ζ. Chiefly north.OE geseten, ME settyn, 15 settin, ME, 18 setten.

c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Luke Pref. 9  Geseteno mið bisene, positaque similitudine.
1484   Caxton tr. Subtyl Historyes & Fables Esope i. xvi,  Of euery one I am setten aback.
?1567   Declar. Lordis just Quarrell 91 in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation (1891) I. l. 60  Quhen faceles fuillis sall not be settin by.
1887   D. Donaldson Jamieson's Sc. Dict. Suppl.,  Setten... This old part. form is still used by the common people.
1889   E. Peacock Gloss. Words Manley & Corringham, Lincs. (ed. 2) ,   Setten up.

η. north.ME seeit, ME seit, ME seete, seyt, ME, 18 seet, ME–15 sete.

a1300   Cursor Mundi 1166  Mi sin me has seit in vnsell.
c1380   Wyclif Wks. (1880) 74  Goddis curs is seit at nouȝt.
c1380   Wyclif Wks. (1880) 174  Here herte is seeit to loue his muk.
c1380   Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 451  Holy Chirche is seet in virtues and good lif.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 20179   Has he sete me ani dai?
c1420   Sir Amadas (Weber) 370   Full mykyll seyt by.
c1449   R. Pecock Repressor (1860) 3  Thei hem silf..ben despisid and ben not seet bi.
1488   in C. Innes Registrum Episcopatus Aberdonensis (1845) I. 320  The said reuerend fadir..has seit and to male lattin..þe saidis landis.
1584   Shuttleworth's Acc. (Chetham Soc.) 21   Payed for a horce showe wch was sete on in Chorlaye iijs.

Etymology:  Common Germanic: Old English sęttan   = Old Frisian setta   (modern Frisian sette  ), Old Saxon settian   (Middle Dutch, Middle Low German setten  , Dutch zetten  ), Old High German sezzan   beside sazzan   (Middle High German sezzen  , German setzen  ), Old Norse setja   (Swedish satta  , Danish sætte  ), Gothic satjan  ; causative of *setjan   (sitjan  ) to sit v.

Confusion between set   and sit   arose as early as the beginning of the 14th cent., owing partly to the identity or close similarity of the forms of their past tenses and past participles, and partly to the identity of meaning in some uses, as between to be set   (= seated) and to sit  ; compare sit v.   (etym. note and 5a   note). For cases of mere substitution of forms of sit   for forms of set  , see 1 γ. , 2 ζ. forms. The spelling sett   is still sometimes found in technical senses; compare set n.1

General arrangement of senses. I. To cause to sit, seat; to be seated, sit. II. To sink, descend. III. To put in a definite place (the manner of the action being implied either in the verb itself or in the context). IV. To place or cause to be in a position, condition, relation, or connection. (This group embraces a large number of uses in which the precise implication of sense depends mainly on the kind of construction employed.) V. To appoint, prescribe, ordain, establish. VI. To arrange, fix, adjust. VII. To place mentally, suppose, estimate. VIII. To put or come into a settled position or condition. IX. To put in the way of following a course, cause to take a certain direction. X. Senses perhaps arising from reversal of construction or from ellipsis (their origin being often obscure). XI. With prepositions in specialized senses. XII. With adverbs in specialized senses. (Combinations formed on the verb-stem are given in a separate article, set- comb. form.)
 I. To cause to sit, seat; to be seated, sit.The intransitive sense ‘to sit’ (5) was apparently developed out of the reflexive and passive uses of the original transitive sense of ‘to seat’. Set, being thus used synonymously with sit, became capable of taking its other senses and constructions (see 5d, 5e, 6, 7).

 a. trans. To place in a sitting posture; to cause to occupy a seat; to seat.This sense is barely exemplified outside certain phraseological expressions, e.g. to set on a seat, a throne, on horseback , etc., in which the sense ‘cause to sit’ is now lost sight of. (Prov. to set a beggar on horseback : to give an undeserving person an advantage which he will misuse.)

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. viii. §5  Þu settest us on þæt setl ðines sceoppendes.
1130   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ,   Þa munecas..setten him on þes abbotes settle.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 7023   Þe king..sætte hine bi him-seoluen.
1300–1400   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) App. xx. 446  To king he was iblessed..& iset in trone.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B. xii. 198  Riȝt as sum man ȝeue me mete and sette me amydde þe flore.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur iii. ii. 101  The Bisshop of Caunterbury..sette the viij and xx knyghtes in her syeges.
1485   Device Coronation Henry VII in W. Jerdan Rutland Papers (1842) 19  The King..shalbe sett a gayn in his chair befor the high aulter.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 712/1  Come hyther, Kate, and I wyll set the on my lappe, and daunce the.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/1  In the stede of a good man we set a shrewe upon the benche.
1607   T. Middleton Revengers Trag. i. sig. B2,  Dut. Nay set you a horse back once, Youle nere light off. Spu. Indeed I am a beggar.
1621   R. Burton Anat. Melancholy ii. iii. ii. 395  Set a beggar on horseback, and he will ride a gallop.
1660   N. Ingelo Bentivolio & Urania (1682) i. 158  Having set the two Ladies..upon two green Seats.
1692   R. L'Estrange Fables lxx. 69  They..Set Boys upon the Back on't [a camel].
1735   Johnson tr. J. Lobo Voy. Abyssinia Descr. xiv. 132  Who setting us upon Camels, conducted us to Mazna.

b. To cause (a body of persons) to sit in deliberation. Obs. (Cf. 4c.)

a1122   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ann. 675,   Ða heot seo kining þone ærcebiscop Theodorus þæt he scolde setton ealle gewitenemot æt þone stede þæt man cleopeð Heatfelde.
1489  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) i. 591   The king a parlyament Gert set tharefter hastely.
1560   Inchaffray Charters (S.H.S.) 167   With power to gar set and affirme courte or courtis.

 c. To put (a hen) to sit on eggs.

c1440   Pallad. on Husb. i. 575  What wommon connot sette an hen obrood And bringe her briddis forth?
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandrie §146  Whan they waxe brodye, to sette them there as noo beastes..hurte them.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 710/2,  I will set sixe hennes a brodyng agaynst this Marche.
1707   J. Mortimer Whole Art Husbandry 191  The best Age to set a Hen for Chickens, is from two years old to five.
1844   H. Stephens Bk. of Farm II. 709  It is not an unusual practice to set a hen at any time of the day.
1867   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 2nd Ser. 3 522,  I never set less than three hens at one time.

 d. To cause (a bird) to perch.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 710/2,  I set a hauke on her perche, je perche... Go set my hauke on her perche.
1864   R. Browning James Lee's Wife iii. i,  The swallow has set her six young on the rail.

2. refl. To go down upon one's knees (aknee, a-knewling, on knee(s, etc.); = sit v. 19.Obs.

c1250   Meid Maregrete lxvii,  Malchus herde thes wordes, he sette him acne.
a1300   K. Horn 781  He sette him a knewelyng.
c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) 1211   On knes ful fayre he hem setten.
c1385   Chaucer Legend Good Women 455  Doun I sette me on myn kne.

 3. refl. To seat oneself, take a seat, sit down. (Most freq. to set oneself down : see to set down 9 at Phrasal verbs 2, adj.)

a1300   K. Horn 1475  He sette him on þe benche His harpe for to clenche.
c1374   Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde iii. 608  After to þe souper alle and some..þey hym sette.
c1500   Melusine (1895) 154  My doughter, sette you here by me.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 5092   Þerfore set you full sone.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 12214   He..set hym to ground.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney tr. Psalmes David (1823) ix. ii,  Setting thy self, in throne which shined bright, Of judging right.

 a. pass. To be seated. (See also to set down 9b at Phrasal verbs 2.)

c1330   Arth. & Merl. 6516  Afterward her compeinie Was yset,..& next hem..Sat þe kniȝtes of þe rounde table.
c1380   Eng. Wycliffite Serm. in Sel. Wks. I. 62  Þe men weren sette as it were fyve þousand.
c1410   Sir Cleges 469  The kynge was sett in his parlor, Wyth myrth solas and onor.
1503   in Lett. Richard III & Henry VII (1861) I. 192  Next the..Saxon, the marques of Brandeburgh..bisshop of Laufenburgh were sett.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 1711   When þe souerayne was set in a sete rioll.
1553   T. Wilson Arte Rhetorique (1580) 156  It so fortuned that as thei were set, the Italian knockt at the Gate.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vi, in tr. Virgil Wks. 386  The Queen of Furies by their sides is set.
1793   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse (ed. 2) §305   Most of the workmen were set round the fire.
1852   Thackeray Henry Esmond II. xv. 314  Most of the party were set to cards.
1875   E. A. Freeman in W. R. W. Stephens Life & Lett. E. A. Freeman (1895) II. 254  Soft chairs, in which, when one is once set, it is hard to get up again.

 b. To be seated to partake of a meal (to meat, at or to dinner, etc.). Obs. or arch.Partly a spec. use of prec., partly a true passive of sense 1.

13..   K. Alis. 538  To the mete they weoren y-set.
c1440   Generydes 387  The Kyng was sette and serued in the hall.
1523   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Chron. (1812) I. 396  He..was set at the table to eate some meate.
1572   Taill of Rauf Coilȝear (1882) 183  Quhen thay war seruit and set to the Suppar.
1596   T. Danett tr. P. de Commines Hist. (1614) 118  After the K[ing] was set to dinner.
1633   P. Massinger New Way to pay Old Debts iii. ii. sig. G4,  I play the foole To stand here prating, and forget my dinner. Are they set Marrall?
1777   H. Brooke Fool of Quality (rev. ed.) V. xvii. 205   When they were again set to dinner, the page entered.

c. To be seated for deliberation or judgement; (of a court) to be in session. Obs.

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 249  Whan the Court is set.
c1400   Pety Job 422 in 26 Pol. Poems 134  Thou shalt me call at domesday, When thow art set on iugement.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. clxxxjv,  After that thei [sc. the Legates] wer set..their Commission was redde.
1592   T. Kyd Spanish Trag. iii. sig. F2,  Bring forth the Prisoner, for the Court is set.
1631   B. Jonson Staple of Newes iii. i. 41 in Wks. II,  Is the examiner set?
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1671 (1955) III. 579  We tooke all our Places..being all set, our Patent was read.

 d. Of a rabbit: To be resting.

1801   J. Strutt Glig-gamena Angel-ðeod i. i. 17  A hare [was said to be] formed, a rabbit set.
1817   J. Mayer Sportsman's Direct. (ed. 2) 195   The stag is said to be harboured,..the hare formed, the rabbit set, the marten-cat treed.

 a. intr. To sit, be seated. (Sometimes, as in 4b, 4c, with spec. reference to partaking of a meal or sitting in judgement, etc.). Now U.S., dial. or vulgar. (See also to set down 9c at Phrasal verbs 2.)

c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 11434   A bord swiðe hende. þat þer maȝen sitten [c1300 Otho sitte] to sixtene hundred & ma.
c1300  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Otho) (1978) l. 9832   Here-vte setteþ [c1275 Calig. sitteð] six men.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur xiii. vii. 620  And soo after vpon that to souper, and euery knyȝt sette in his owne place.
c1480  (▸a1400)    Prol. 132 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 5   Quhen at he suld sit in sege of maieste, þai twelf suld set with hym-self.
1490   Caxton tr. Foure Sonnes of Aymon (1885) xvi. 377  He made theim to set vpon a benche.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/2,  I set hyest, or upper moste in a companye, je preside.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 5095   Þen set þai sone, as said hom the kyng.
1596   T. Nashe Haue with you to Saffron-Walden sig. K,  Such men as..set on the pillory for..periurie.
1658   Sir T. Browne Hydriotaphia iv. 65  They may set in the Orchestra, and noblest Seats of Heaven.
1662   B. Gerbier Brief Disc. Princ. Building 30  The King and Queen only remaining..setting under the Cloath of State.
1788   T. Jefferson Writings (1859) II. 385  It is very possible that the President and the new Congress may be setting at New York.
1825   R. P. Ward Tremaine I. xxiii. 173  He had set upon tenter-hooks during the whole conversation.
1845   Dickens Chimes i. 30  You must always go and be a settin on our steps, must you!
1848   Thackeray Vanity Fair lv. 490  I'm thinkin' if I set here until I'm paid my wages, I shall set a precious long time, Mrs. Raggles; and set I will, too.
1884   C. H. Smith Bill Arp's Scrap Bk. vi. 74  Lawyers and doctors have to set about town.
1897   T. Watts-Dunton Aylwin vii. ii,  When you two was a-settin' by the pool, a-eatin' the breakfiss.
1913   H. Kephart Our Southern Highlanders xiii. 298  ‘Come in and set.’ ‘Cain't stop long.’
1938   M. K. Rawlings Yearling i. 12  ‘If a feller'd light me a candle,’ she said, ‘I'd git shut o' the dishwashin' and mebbe have time to set and enjoy myself.’
1974   P. De Vries Glory of Hummingbird (1975) iii. 37  Lolly came almost every evening to set a spell.

 b. Of a hen: To sit upon eggs.

1587   J. Hooker Chron. Ireland 153/2 in Holinshed's Chron. (new ed.) II,   That Romish cockatrice, which a long time had set abrood vpon hir egs, had now hatched hir chickins.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues,  Oeuvé, layed, or set on, as an egge.
1721   R. Bradley Philos. Acct. Wks. Nature 85  Stopping when they have laid as many as they can set upon.
1726   R. Bradley Country Gentleman & Farmer's Monthly Director 31  Chuse the old Hens to set upon the Eggs, for they will set close.
1840   F. D. Bennett Narr. Whaling Voy. I. 371  The boobies..that were ‘setting hard’, as the schoolboys say,..screamed..on our approach.

 c. To become lodged upon.

1869   E. J. Reed Shipbuilding i. 16  Sand is the worst description of ground for a ship to set on as it forms a curved base.
1887   G. B. Goode Fisheries U.S.: Hist. & Methods II. 540  The first thing found out was that the floating spawn would not attach itself to, or ‘set’ (in the vernacular of the shore) upon, anything which had not a clean surface.

 d. transf. and fig. = sit v. 7, 8, 14. Now dial. or vulgar.

c1400   Rule St. Benet (Verse) 317  Þam..Þat for godes sake here sett Vnder þe band of Sant Benett.
1482   in H. E. Malden Cely Papers (1900) 121  They off Gaunte hath sent to the Inglysch naschon and to Dutch naschon..commaundyng them to sett styll..and entermete wt noo party.
1536   in T. Wright Three Chapters Lett. Suppression Monast. (1843) 113  The emperor him selfe was glad to sett still.
1586   T. Bowes tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. I. 514  That which setteth neerest hir husbands hart.
1592   T. Kyd Spanish Trag. iii. sig. F3,  O monstrous times, where murders set so light.
1651   J. Howell S.P.Q.V. 2  The Eastern Emperors have divers times set upon her skirts [see skirt n. 3].
1674   N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 34  Setting full as close to the very stamp or inmostness of a thinking Being, as [etc.].
1803   Forest of Hohenelbe iii. 103  A disappointment that ought not to set very heavily on her mind.
1892   Harper's Mag. Dec. 22/1  The cat ate a rat, and it did not set well on her stomach.

 e. To have a certain set or hang; to sit (well or ill, tightly or loosely, etc.). Cf. sit v. 16b.

1804   tr. J. H. F. La Martelière Three Gil Blas II. 95  Your new clothes, which do not by any means set so well upon you.
1861   Temple Bar 3 250  To make the artificial hair curl and set naturally to the head.
1878   G. H. Napheys Physical Life Woman 205  A body-case of strong linen..setting snugly to the form.
1883   J. P. Quincy Figures of Past 129  His brown wig, which set low upon his forehead.
1887   Lady V. 46  Sleeves lined with stiff or harsh linings never set well.
1892   Field 2 July 30/1  Her sail did not set at all well.

 a. trans. To become, befit, suit. Chiefly Sc. (in mod. use often ironical).

?a1505   R. Henryson Garmont Gud Ladeis 40 in Poems (1981) 163  Scho woir nevir grene nor gray That set hir half so weill.
?1507   W. Dunbar Tua Mariit Wemen (Rouen) in Poems (1998) 46   How it settis him!— so syde to sege of sic materis.
c1560   A. Scott Poems (S.T.S.) iv. 41   It settis not madynis als To latt men lowis thair lace.
a1599   R. Rollock Lect. 1 Thess. (1606) 190 (Jam.)  It is ouer sore to a Gentleman to doe that, it settes him not.
1637   S. Rutherford Lett. (1664) 55  It sets him well howbeit he be young, to make Christ his garland.
1725   A. Ramsay Gentle Shepherd iv. i,  It sets him weel To yoke a plough where Patrick thought to till!
1814   Scott Waverley II. vii. 125  It wad better set you to be nursing the gudeman's bairns than to be deaving us here.
1827   T. Carlyle tr. E. T. W. Hoffmann in German Romance II. 241  How prettily the lace cap sets her.
1860   G. J. Whyte-Melville Holmby House II. xxi. 301  It set him well now, a worn and broken man, to be taking thought of his looks like a girl.
1891   J. M. Barrie Little Minister ii,  Gavin,..do you think this bonnet sets me?

 b. Also said of the person with regard to clothing, etc.

1892   Longman's Mag. Nov. 59  Mysie..was a pretty creature, ‘setting’, in Scottish phrase, everything she wore.

 7. To sit (a horse); = sit v. 22a. rare.

1648   Petit. Eastern Assoc. 11  It will try how the new Riders will set the saddle.
1710   R. Steele Tatler No. 248. ⁋1  She set her horse with a very graceful air.
 II. To sink, descend.

8. intr. To subside, abate. Obs.

c1000   Sax. Leechd. III. 86  Nim fyrs..& lege uppa þat geswollene & hyt sceal sona settan.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 201   Þe swalm schal setten.

 a. Of the sun or other luminary: To go down; to make an apparent descent towards and below the horizon. (Conjugated, like other intr. verbs of motion, with either be or have.)Not in Old English: cf. ON. setjask.

c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) 2671   So þat þei nouth ne blinne, Til þat to sette bigan þe sunne.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 3050  Als sone as þe son hup soght þe slaghter begynnys, And to sett was þe same sesytt þai neuer.
c1440   Alphabet of Tales 74  Þou sall dye or þe son sett.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. xv. sig. Z4,  The Sun was readie to set.
1613   G. Chapman Memorable Maske Inns of Court sig. a2v,  The ruddy Sunne was seen ready to set.
1625   N. Carpenter Geogr. Delineated i. x. 220  With them all the stars ęqually set & rise.
1787   A. Young Jrnl. 10 June in Trav. France (1792) i. 18  The sun, on the point of being set.
1816   Scott Black Dwarf vi, in Tales of my Landlord 1st Ser. I. 119  The sun setting red.
1823   F. D. Hemans Siege Valencia i. 121  Till the last pale star had set.
1847   C. Brontë Jane Eyre I. v. 68  The moon was set, and it was very dark.
1874   C. M. Yonge Cameos cxix, in Monthly Packet Feb. 109  The sun had long been set.
1667   Dryden Indian Emperour i. ii. 6  Distant skies that in the Ocean set.

 b. Of the day: To come to its close. poet.

1604   M. Drayton Moyses ii. 48  Euery minute is a day and night That breakes and sets in twinkling of an eie.
1612   B. Jonson Alchemist ii. ii. sig. D2,  The euening will set red, vpon you, Sir.
1838   S. Bellamy Betrayal 67  The third day Had set upon the sepulchre.

 c. fig. To decline, wane.

1607   T. Middleton Revengers Trag. v. sig. I4v,  May not we set as well as the Dukes sonne.
1611   Second Maiden's Trag. 1302  And rise againe in health, to set in shame?
a1627   T. Middleton Chast Mayd in Cheape-side (1630) v. 65  Your malice sets in death, does it not Sir?
1654   Z. Coke Art of Logick Ep. Ded. sig. a6v,  Having absolved your courses through the Zodiac of praise-worthy Actions, you wil set laden with Lustre.
1812   Scott Let. 4 Apr. (1932) III. 101  She should have no twilight but set in the full possession of her powers.
1890   T. F. Tout Hist. Eng. from 1689 282  The British Empire in India seemed setting in fire and blood.
1892   Argosy June 496  The glory of Egypt seemed to have set.

10. Naut. to heave and set : to rise and fall with a heavy sea. Obs.

1509   S. Hawes Pastime of Pleasure (1555) xxi. 99  Quadrant it was, and did heve and sette At every storme whan the wind was great.
1574   W. Bourne Regim. for Sea (1577) vi. 26  The Sea..causeth the shippe to heaue, and sette little or much.
1630   J. Winthrop Hist. New Eng. (1825) (modernized text) I. 9   This day the ship heaved and set more than before.
1674   W. Petty Disc. before Royal Soc. 60  If the said water be so rough, as that the Vessel heavs and sets.
 III. To put (more or less permanently) in a definite place.
 * Where the manner of the action is implied in the verb itself.

 a. trans. To place on or as on a foundation; to build, erect; = to set up at Phrasal verbs 2. Obs.

OE   Crist I 356  Þu ærest wære mid þone ecan frean sylf settende þas sidan gesceaft.
OE   Genesis 1881  Ongunnon..heora burh ræran, and sele settan.
a1300   K. Horn 1395  Strong castel he let sette.
a1325  (▸c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 562   Ðat arche..Set and limed a-gen ðe flood.
c1330   Arth. & Merl. 1238  For mi blod no worþ it þe bet, Neuer more þe bet yset.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 20902   Quen he of antioche had fund þe kirk, and graytli set on grund.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 1649  Godis awen temple, Þat of sir Salamon þe sage sett was & foundid.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 4305  And þat sullepe sire at sett all þe werde, In him we lely beleue & in na laȝe ellis.
1470   Little Red Bk. Bristol (1900) II. 133  A litill newe howse..is bild and sett vpon the Comyn grond in the hye strete iij fote.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 1689   Qwhen this Citie was set & full sure made.
1474   Caxton tr. Game & Playe of Chesse (1883) ii. v. 61  That oure lawe is sette alle vpon loue and charyte.

b. pass. Of a figure: To rest (on a base). Obs.

1570   H. Billingsley tr. Euclid Elements Geom. vi. f. 173v,  If from a parallelogramme be taken away a parallelograme like vnto the whole and in like sorte set.
1660   tr. I. Barrow Euclide's Elements i. 30  Triangles..set upon equall bases.

 a. To put (a shoot or young plant) into the ground to grow; to plant (a tree, also by extension, a vineyard, flowers, a crop). Also, less usually, to plant (seed) by hand, as opposed to sowing; sometimes said of the plant; formerly also, †to cause to grow from seed (of a kernel).

c725   Corpus Gloss. P 13,  Pastinare, settan.
OE   Genesis 1558  Ða Noe..wingeard sette, seow sæda fela.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 278   Ȝe beoð ȝunge ympen iset igodes orhȝeart.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 1015  Treis o frut þan es þarsett Þat serekin vertu has at ette.
a1325  (▸c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 1278   Abraham..tillede corn and sette treen.
c1440   Pallad. on Husb. i. 14  His appultreen, what hour Best is to sette.
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandrie §127  If the hedge be of .x. or .xii. yeres growing sythe it was first set.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/2,  I have set rosemarye and sage ynough in my gardayne.
1538   T. Elyot Dict.,  Sertor, he that soweth seedes or settethe herbes.
1572   L. Mascall Bk. Plante & Graffe Trees (1592) 36  Ye ought to transplant or set your trees from Alhallow-tide vnto March.
1602   T. Kyd Spanish Trag. iii. sig. H3,  This was the tree; I set it of a kiernnell.
1612   A. Hopton Concordancy of Yeares (1615) 112  The time [December] is good..to set beanes, pease, &c.
a1616   Shakespeare Winter's Tale (1623) iv. iv. 100  Ile not put The Dible in earth, to set one slip of them.
1662   E. Stillingfleet Origines Sacræ iii. iii. §2  To order his trees, and set his flowers.
1767   A. Young Farmer's Lett. 154  Those trees which are propagated by..setting shoots.
1820   Keats Isabella in Lamia & Other Poems 75  She..cover'd it with mould, and o'er it set Sweet Basil.
1830   Examiner 796/1  The seed is to be set by hand.
1890   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 148 717/1  If a man sets potatoes in wet bog.

b. absol. or intr.

c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. vi. 26  Ne settas vel sauues non serunt.
1340–70   Alex. & Dind. 912  For to sowe & to sette in þe sad erthe.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B. vii. 6  Alle þat halpe hym to erie to sette or to sowe.
?a1586   A. Montgomerie Misc. Poems xxxi. 17,  I sau, I sett—no flour nor fruit I find.
1690   R. Lucas Humane Life 245  Idleness..never ploughs nor sows..it never plants nor sets.

 c. transf. and fig.

OE   Cynewulf Crist II 663  Eac monigfealde modes snyttru seow ond sette geond sefan monna.
a1325   Prose Psalter xliii. 3  Þyn honde desparplist þe folk, and þou settest hem.
c1325   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 51  Suete Iesu,..in myn huerte þou sete a rote of þi loue.
c1374   Chaucer tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (1868) ii. pr. v. 48  It is þan so þat ye men ne han no propre goode I-set in ȝow.
c1425   Cast. Persev. 1011 in Macro Plays,  And þorwe Mankynde we settyn & sowe þe dedly synnys seuene.
?1533   G. Du Wes Introductorie for to lerne Frenche sig. Cciv,  The soule vegetable..is setted within the myght elemented.
1580   J. Lyly Euphues & his Eng. (new ed.) f. 75,   Fayre women are sette thicke but they come vppe thinne.

d. As a literalism or contextually: To graft.

a1425  (▸c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Rom. xi. 24   For if thou art kit doun of the kyndeli wielde olyue tre, and aȝens kynd art set in to a good olyue tre, hou myche more thei that ben bi kynde, schulen be set in her olyue tre.
1645   J. Ussher Body of Divin. 165  We see one tree may be set into another, and it groweth in the stock thereof, and becommeth one and the same tree.

13. To put down, deposit (a pledge, security). Cf. wadset v.

c1000   Laws Æthelred i. i. (Liebermann) 218  Gif he þonne ful wurðe, æt þam forman cyrre..sette getreowe borgas, þæt he ælces yfeles geswice eft.
1602   in J. Stuart Sel Rec. Kirk Aberdeen (1846) 23  The said day, John Michell is ordanit to be put in the kirk wolt, thairin to remane quhill he sett cautioun to adhear to Margrat Quhytt, his spous.
c1650   J. Spalding Memorialls Trubles Scotl. & Eng. (1850) I. 66  Thay with the Marques suld set cautioun for keping of the Kingis peace.

 a. To put (a sum) down as a stake; to stake, wager. Also fig. Obs. or arch.

c1460   R. Roos tr. La Belle Dame sans Mercy 524  He leseth his after game, That surely cannot sette his poyntes double.
?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) 119  Ȝoung airis, That his auld thrift settis on ane ais.
1599   J. Minsheu Pleasant Dialogues Spanish & Eng. 67 in R. Percyvall & J. Minsheu Spanish Gram.,  I set him two shillings, he cast and drew them.
1608   Shakespeare King Lear iv. 119  Set lesse then thou throwest.
1671   Dryden Evening's Love iv. 54  He is nettled, and sets me twenty: I win them too.
1726   Art & Myst. Gaming 23  Whatever Sum you set me, I will do the same to you.
1817   Shelley Laon & Cythna x. xli. 232  His great Empire's worth Is set on Laon and Laone's head.
1853   G. J. Whyte-Melville Digby Grand ix,  The stakes were ‘set’, the dice rattled [etc.].

 b. absol. or intr. To put down a stake, lay money on (or at). Also fig. to give a challenge to. Obs. or arch.Freq. with dat. of the person against whom the stake is laid. The dat. being interpreted as a direct obj., a personal pass. const. was evolved (see quot. 1823).

a1553   Nice Wanton 212  Heer six come on seuen. They set them... Come on fiue. She casteth and they set.
1575   W. Stevenson Gammer Gurtons Nedle ii. ii. sig. Biiii,  Thou shalt set on the king.
?1577   Misogonus in R. W. Bond Early Plays from Ital. (1911) 210  Sett lustilye my boykins... that was knavishlye throwne.
1605   G. Chapman Al Fooles v. i,  Come, Dariotto, set me.
1612   B. Jonson Alchemist i. ii. sig. C,  If I doe giue him a Familiar, Giue you him all you play for; neuer set him: For he will haue it.
1616   B. Jonson Epicœne iv. iv, in Wks. I. 575  A very sharke, he set me i' the nicke t'other night at primero.
1668   Dryden Secret-love 2nd Prol. sig. a4,  Throw boldly, for he sets to all that write.
1716   E. Parker Mr. J. Fielding his Acct. Comet 6  Happy the Man who Punts upon a Knave during the Month of January, or sets on 6 upon Twelfth Night.
1739   Act 12 Geo. II c. 28 §3  Every Person..who shall..set at, stake or punt at..Ace of Hearts [etc.].
1807   E. S. Barrett Rising Sun I. 132  Come, seven's the main—who'll set me?
1823   Mirror 1 176/1  Observing that he was completely set, he stopped short,..saying, ‘I believe I am set, gentlemen!’
1825   Examiner 631/2  The King would at one time set higher than usual.

 c. Dominoes. To play first.

1844   W. J. Pell Treat. Game of Dominoes 22  The largest count that can be made..is 129. To effect this, the winning hand must set.
1897   R. F. Foster Compl. Hoyle 561  The one whose turn it is to set lays down any domino he pleases.

 a. To put (a thing, such as an ornament, fitting, piece of furniture, etc.) in a place allotted or adapted to receive it; (contextually) to fit, fix.

c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 3905   Þa Bruttes..nomen longen ræftres..& setten heom i Temese flod.
a1483   Liber Niger in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (1790) 29  A tortayes to sett his lyverey in the wynter nyghtes.
1531   in J. W. Clay Testamenta Eboracensia (1902) VI. 26  The side borde in the haull with the tristillis sett in the ground.
1556   in Shropshire Par. Doc. (1903) 58  For ii Wode Candyllstyckes to set apon tapurs.
1575   W. Stevenson Gammer Gurtons Nedle i. iv. sig. Aiiii,  Set me a candle, let me seeke.
1590   H. Barwick Breefe Disc. Weapons 10 b,  There be other peeces [viz. guns], to be set vpon Blockes.
1610   Shuttleworth's Acc. (Chetham Soc.) 192   For Coventrie blue to sett lettres in the chaffe beddes.
1645   Milton On Christ's Nativity: Hymn xii, in Poems 7  While the Creator Great His constellations set.
1645   Milton L'Allegro in Poems 34  How the drudging Goblin swet, To ern his Cream-bowle duly set.
1673   Dryden Assignation ii. iii. 20  Set the Ladder, and mount first.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1645 (1955) II. 391  Setting the Candles in littl paper lanterns.
1730   J. T. Desaguliers in Philos. Trans. 1729–30 (Royal Soc.) 36 202   If the Pulley be set backwarder still.
1807   G. Crabbe Parish Reg. iii, in Poems 119  The Fire-side Chair, still set, but vacant still.
1808   Lady's Econ. Assist. 4  The sleeves must be set into the shirt rather full.
1871   B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues I. 84  When he considers if he shall set a bridle on a horse.
1891   M. M. Dowie Girl in Karpathians vii. 83  No chair is wiped and set for the visitor.

b. To fit or attach (one thing) to another.

c1480  (▸a1400)    St. Paul 372 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 39   Þe hed to set þe body till.
1490   Caxton tr. Foure Sonnes of Aymon (1885) ix. 233,  I shall set to your necke an halter.
1497   in M. Oppenheim Naval Accts. & Inventories Henry VII (1896) 237  Workmanship in..settyng the Newe ledders vnto the seid Bellowes.
a1616   Shakespeare King John (1623) iv. ii. 174  Be Mercurie, set feathers to thy heels.

c. To place in a certain sequence in a literary work, in writing or print. Obs.

1535   G. Joye Apol. Tindale 19  Tindals vncharitable pistle set before hys newe Testament.
1560   J. Daus in tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries Ep. sig. Aiii,  I haue set before the beginnyng of euery boke, the some or argument.
1679   Dryden Troilus & Cressida Pref. sig. a,  I made..an Order and Connexion of all the Scenes; removing them from the places where they were inartificially set.

 d. To put (eggs) under a hen to be hatched.

1726   R. Bradley Country Gentleman & Farmer's Monthly Director 31  You may now likewise set Duck-Eggs under Hens.
1815   Sporting Mag. 46 27  The saving of eggs..which you intend to set.
1826   J. Wilson Noctes Ambrosianae xxvi, in Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. June 753  James, you shall have a dozen eggs to set.

 16. pass. To have a certain position or arrangement by nature.

c1325   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 38  Swannes swyre swyþe wel ysette.
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 98  Her yhen smale and depe set.
1657   W. Coles Adam in Eden vii. 15  At the tops of the stalks come forth the flowers set at certain spaces one above another.
1719   D. Defoe Life Robinson Crusoe 244  His fine Teeth well set.
1883   M. E. Mann Parish of Hilby iii,  Their heads were set on long and graceful necks.
 ** Where the manner of the action is implied in the adverbial complement.
(Many of the divisions under this heading do not indicate a difference of sense, but serve mainly to exhibit the great variety of usage.
The development of phraseological expressions has brought into existence many uses in which the original physical reference is obscured. Cf. IV.)

 a. To put or place, cause to be, lie, rest, or stand, in a locality specified by an advb. expression. (See also branch XII with advs.)

OE   Beowulf 1242  Setton him to heafdon hilderandas.
OE   Genesis 312  [God] heo..under eorðan neoðan..sette sigelease on þa sweartan helle.
a1000   Ælfric Genesis ix. 13  Ic sette minne renbogan on wolcnum.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 11351   Þe deofell..brohhte himm o þe temmple. & sette himm heȝhe upp o þe rhof.
a1225   Leg. Kath. 1972  Her, amid heapes, wes þis meiden iset.
c1300   K. Horn (Laud) 738   He sette sadel on stede.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 179   Basilius awook and fonde..his armour i-sette þere as it was raþer.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 21624   A wessel..Sett vnder þat licure to hint.
c1400   Mandeville's Trav. (Roxb.) xix. 87  Þai sett þis mawmet with grete wirschepe in a chariot.
c1450   Jacob's Well (1900) 260  As an erthyn pott..sett on þe fyir brestyth on-sundir.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Jer. xlix. 38,   I wil set my stole [1611 throne] in Elam.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry IV f. xxxiiv,  He caused his crowne to be set on the pillowe at his beddes heade.
1549   Bk. Common Prayer Svpper of the Lorde f. cxxvi,  Settyng both the breade and wyne vpon the Alter.
1594   Shakespeare Titus Andronicus v. iii. 178  Set him brest deepe in earth and famish him.
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary iii. 82  They set this iuyce vpon the fier, continually stirring it.
1743   E. Moxon Eng. Housewifry (ed. 3) 25   Set it over a Fire in soft Water.
1856   E. B. Browning Aurora Leigh i. 37  They saw a light at a window now and then, They had not set there.
1869   A. J. Evans Vashti xxv. 339  Two drops of blood had fallen on the tablecloth, and the girl instantly set her cup and saucer over them.

 b. pass. To be situated, lie (in a certain locality); to be placed (at a certain height, interval, etc.).

c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. v. 14  Ofer mor geseted, supra monte posita.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 527  Seuen maister sterns er sette in heuen.
c1325  (▸c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) l. 2   Engelond his a wel god lond..ech londe best Iset in þe on ende of þe worlde as al in þe west.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1876) VI. 5   Þe citee Oxenford, i-sette bytwene þe tweie riveres of Tame and of Temse.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 10005   Þe four torels on hei er sett.
c1440   Pallad. on Husb. iii. 381  The graffes..With gemmes fele aboute on hem ysette.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/2  Rychemonte is very well set.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie i. vi. 4 b,  A small fountaine beeing no higher set then the pauement.
1594   W. West Symbolæogr.: 1st Pt. §60 d,  The said W.M. set, lying, or being in W.
1649   R. Baxter Saints Everlasting Rest (new ed.) iii. i. §6. 275   Betwixt them and you will be a great gulf set.
1868   W. Morris Man born to be King in Earthly Paradise 118  Nor struggle in the net Wherein thine helpless feet are set.

 a. To place (a thing) upon or in some kind of contact with some part of a person's body, esp. as a part of insignia. Obs. or arch.

971   Blickl. Hom. 23  [Hie] wundan beag of þornum & him setton on heafod.
a1225   Leg. Kath. 1571,  & te an toc ane guldene crune, & sette on hire heauet.
?a1366   Romaunt Rose 846  His leefe a rosen chapelet Had made, and on his heed it set.
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 15  Upon the hond to were a Schoo And sette uppon the fot a Glove.
c1450   Mirk's Festial 17  Then anon com oure lady..and set a garlond on his hedde.
1525   J. Russell in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1827) 2nd Ser. I. 298  If your Highnes woll, he woll sett the crowne of Fraunce on your hed.
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) xlvi. 152   He sette his horne to his mouthe and blewe it.
1575   W. Stevenson Gammer Gurtons Nedle ii. iv. sig. Cii,  Chil in Diccon a cleene aperne to take, and set before me.
a1724   D. Manley Secret Mem. (1736) IV. 213  It is they that occasioned the Crown having been set upon your Head.

b. To put (a thing) in a person's hand. (Cf. 27.)

c1000   Oaths iii. (Liebermann) 396  Swa hit me se sealde, ðe ic hit nu on hand sette.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 8181   Himm wass sett inn hiss rihht hannd An dere kineȝerrde.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 17629   Son in his hand he þe letter sett.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 4472   Me-thought..i þis cupe in hand him sette.

 c. To put (something) in one's sight (or view), before one or one's eyes (or view), †to show n.1, †to the sight, †to view n. to set before , orig. = to place so as to be seen by, acquired the meanings of to put before one for use, consideration, imitation, etc.

a1000   Ælfric Deut. xi. 26  Nu to dæg ic sette beforan eow bletsunga and wirignissa [L. En propono in conspectu vestro].
c1000   Ags. Ps. lv. 7  Ic..sette on ðinre gesyhðe sarige tearas.
1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) Gen. xviii. 8   He toke butter, and mylk..and sette bifore hem.
1422   J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. lxiv. 241  Whan a man syttyth atte mette, and dyuers maner mettis afor hym Is sette.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Rev. iii. 8,   I haue set before the an open doore.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 436   With pelur and pall..set to þe sight.
1576   G. Gascoigne Delicate Diet in Wks. (1910) II. 464  They dyd Clarkly in figures, set before us sundry tales.
1671   Milton Samson Agonistes 1624  What was set before him Which without help of eye, might be assay'd,..he still perform'd All.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vi, in tr. Virgil Wks. 391  To set before your sight your glorious Race.
1725   W. Broome in Pope et al. tr. Homer Odyssey III. x. Observ. 65  The description sets the figure [of Terror] full before our eyes.
1848   E. B. Pusey Parochial Serm. (1873) I. xix. 371  He cannot set them before him; he cannot see, believe, grasp them.
1888   J. W. Burgon Lives Twelve Good Men II. v. 2  His birth..and his parentage have been fully set before the public.

d. To put (a person) in prison. Similarly to set in (on) the pillory (see pillory n.). Obs.

c1100   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (MS. D) ann. 1036,   Ða let he hine on hæft settan.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 23315  Þai sal be sett in þair prisun.
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) cxxviii. 468   My wyfe set in pryson.
1535   Layton in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1827) 2nd Ser. II. 61  We have sett Dunce [sc. Duns Scotus] in Bocardo.
a1547   in J. R. Boyle Early Hist. Town & Port of Hedon (1895) App. p. lxxiv,  Then the maiore to sett theym in presone.

e. With adv. compl. or phr. expressing removal or issue from or out of a place. Obs.

c1450   Brut 336/20  Þei sette out of þe Tour þe Archebishop of Caunturbury.
1596   J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1888) I. 25  All this tyme settis na man his heid out of the hous.
a1610   J. Healey tr. Epictetus Manuall (1636) 25  Is the dish set from thee? stay it not.
1667   in J. Barmby Churchwardens' Accts. Pittington (1888) 335  For setting the watter away from the church style, 2d.
1684   J. Bunyan Pilgrim's Progress 2nd Pt. ii. 180  Now they..befooled themselves for setting a Foot out of doors in that Path.

 f. to set on the sea, water, afloat , etc.: to launch.

1559 [see to set afloat (†on float) 1 at Phrasal verbs 2].
1568   C. Watson tr. Polybius Hist. 48  They were vndockte, and sette on the water.
1587   Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. viii. 112  The first Shippe that euer was set a flote, was vppon the red Sea.
a1800   Fair Janet i, in F. J. Child Eng. & Sc. Pop. Ballads (1885) II. iii. 105  Ye'll build to me a bonnie ship, And set her on the sea.

g. To lay (siege) before a place. Obs.

1474   Caxton tr. Game & Playe of Chesse (1883) iii. vi. 130  A prynce that setteth a siege to fore a castell.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/2  Whan the kynges good grace dyd set his siege byfore Tournaye.

 h. To put (pen) to paper (†book).

1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection Pref. sig. Aii,  As I had set the penne to the boke.
?c1535   L. Cox Arte Rhethorycke (new ed.) sig. Fivv,   I wolde..that they wolde set the penne to the paper.
1579   E. Hake Newes out of Powles Churchyarde newly Renued Ep. Ded. sig. A2v,  And so shall I..set my Pen to Booke againe.
1583   B. Melbancke Philotimus sig. Z,  Setting pen to paper.
1621   T. W. tr. S. Goulart Wise Vieillard A 4 b,  My fingers did euen itch to set pen to paper.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 62. ¶7,  I am apt to think that Euclid is the greatest Wit that ever set Pen to Paper.
1895   C. Kernahan God & Ant Apol.,  The worst of all reasons which inexperienced writers put forward for setting pen to paper.

 a. To place (a part of the body) upon a surface or an object.

c900   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. ii. xii. §5  [He] sette his þa swiðran hond him on þæt heafod.
971   Blickl. Hom. 239  He sette his hand ofer hiora heortan.
a1000   Ælfric Genesis xxiv. 2  Sete þine hand under min þeoh.
a1300   K. Horn 758  To lond he him sette & fot on stirop sette.
c1528   Everyman (1961) 778  Now set eche of you on this rodde your honde.
1607   F. Beaumont Woman Hater ii. i. sig. C3,  When her husband sets first foot in the bedde.
1692   R. L'Estrange Fables xxx. 29  A Child of the Family happen'd to set his Foot upon't [sc. a snake].
1749   T. Smollett tr. A. R. Le Sage Gil Blas I. ii. iii. 114  Fabricius,..set his hands in his sides.
1870   D. G. Rossetti Dante at Verona xxxii,  At such times, Dante, thou hast set Thy forehead to the painted pane Full oft.
a1908   F. Thompson Poppy i,  Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare.

b. to set (one's) hand(s on : to lay hands upon, seize; esp. to lay violent hands upon, attack. Also to set one's hand against , to oppose. Obs.

c1290   Beket 931 in S. Eng. Leg. I. 133  Ȝif ani man hond on ov set.
c1330   Arth. & Merl. 5815  Hir hondes sche sett on hir here & hir fair tresses al totere.
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 2290   Macaigne arose..And set hond fast on Beryns othir scleve.
1490   Caxton tr. Foure Sonnes of Aymon (1885) iii. 79  Aymon..began to sette sore hande vpon theym.
1635   E. Pagitt Christianographie (1636) iii. 37  Our Princes and Bishops set their hand against Image-worship.
c1641   Youths Behaviour (1663) 36  Without setting hand on any thing before him.

 c. to set (one's) hand to : to lay hold of, take into one's hand; fig. to set about, engage upon (†formerly const. inf.). to set one's hand to the door: see door n. 5a.

1477   Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Hist. Jason (1913) 81  Argos sette hand vnto the werk.
1542   N. Udall in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eminent Literary Men (1843) (Camden) 2  Of your aboundaunt pitie to sette your helpyng hand to the bestowyng of me to suche condition.
156.   Thersites (Roxb.) 47  They wyll not ones set hande to fight with me.
1638   W. Tirwhyt tr. J. L. G. de Balzac Lett. 144  If you appoint him to set hand to his Penne.
1639   T. Fuller Hist. Holy Warre i. ix. 13  God set his hand to this warre.
1662   J. Evelyn Sculptura sig. b6v,  Painters encouraged to set their hands to the Graver.
1788   Trifler No. 4. 47,  I..resolved to set hand to work.
1865   A. C. Swinburne Atalanta 1972  She set her hand to the wood, She took the fire in her hand.
1889   F. Barrett Under Strange Mask I. iii. 46  He set his hand to this good work.

d. To take (a step). Obs.

1609   Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida ii. ii. 154  Can it be, That so degenerate a straine as this, Should once set footing in your generous bosomes?
a1616   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 2 (1623) iii. ii. 87  Seeke not a Scorpions Nest Nor set a footing on this vnkinde Shore.
1622   J. Mabbe tr. M. Alemán Rogue i. 219  The first step that I set within those holy gates.
1642   Remonst. conc. Ch. & Kingd. Irel. 7  They will, with the assistance of Spaine and France, set footing in England.
1767   B. Gooch Pract. Treat. Wounds I. 212  He was not able to set a step.
1780   A. Young Tour Ireland (Dublin ed.) I. 241   Every step the horse set.

 a. To plant or deal (a blow); with dat. of the person or upon. Obs.

c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) 2405   He robert sette Biforn þe teth a dint ful strong.
c1330  (▸?c1300)    Guy of Warwick (Auch.) l. 1382   So wele his strok he sett Þat his heued fram þe bodi flei.
c1400   Arth. & Merl. 2422  And when they were together mett, There were strokes sadlye set.
c1430   Syr Tryam. 1498  They settyd strokes of mode.
a1500   Lancelot of Laik (1870) 3175  Nor he so hard his strok apone hyme set.

b. transf. To strike (a person). Obs.

a1400   K. Horn (Harl.) 714   Wel sone bote þou flette myd suert yshal þe sette.
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) Prol. l. 577   [He] set hym with þe ladill on the grustill on þe nose.

c. To direct, aim (trans. and intr.). Obs.

a1300   K. Horn 1201  To herte knif heo sette.
?1473   Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Recuyell Hist. Troye (1894) I. lf. 145v,  Theseus was the firste..that sette and cowched his speer ayenst hym.
16..   Sir Andrew Barton xxxi,  A noble gunner..That can sett well with his eye.

 d. To apply (a weapon, etc.) to.to set spurs to: see spur n.1 3b.

a1425  (▸c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Luke iii. 9   An axe is sett to the roote of the tree.
1595   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 3 ii. ii. 165  We set the axe to thy vsurping root.

 a. (orig. †to set on write .) To put down in writing; to put on paper; †occas. to depict. Now to set down at Phrasal verbs 2.

a900   Laws Ælfred i. xlix. (Liebermann) 46  Ic ne dorste geðristlæcan þara minra awuht fela on gewrit settan.
OE   Cynewulf Elene 654  Ond þa wintergerim on gewritu setton.
c1175   Lamb. Hom. 75  Þet rihte ileue setten þe twelue apostles on write.
c1450   Myrr. our Ladye i. vi. 20  That he shulde se that they were sett in trew and conuenyente termes.
1486   Bk. St. Albans, Her. b iv,  Ye token of a beest..set with in the cootarmure.
1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus i. i. Metres sig. Eijv,  I..haue soo often as any greke word was to be englished, set ouer him..græca uox.
1613   J. Tapp Path-way to Knowl. 38  Therefore I take but 8, which I set in the quotient.
1621   in A. J. Kempe Losely MSS (1836) 460  Theyr armes in ye window, genealogically sett.
1686   Dissert. iii, in W. Hopkins tr. Ratramnus Body & Blood 38,  I conceive it will not be unacceptable to the Reader to see them set in parallel.
1810   P. Barlow in Jrnl. Nat. Philos. 25 187  Set the inches, parts, &c. as decimals.

 b. Geom., etc. To lay or mark off (a line of a definite length). (Cf. to set off at Phrasal verbs 2.)

1617   Speidell Geom. Extract. 21  From the end A, drawe the line AE,..then set the line C, from A, to F.
1660   tr. I. Barrow Euclide's Elements vi. 117  Set the side BC in a direct line to the side CE.
1725   W. Halfpenny Art Sound Building 42  Take lm in your Compasses and set it from D to the Dot in the Line DE.
1805   Shipwright's Vade-mecum 171  Next proceed to set aft the distance of dead-flat from the foremost perpendicular.
1830   P. Hedderwick Treat. Marine Archit. 247  On this line set the half-thickness of the stem from the centre-line.

 22. To put down in a record, catalogue, etc.; to mention or treat of in a writing or composition; to put down or enter in an account. Now to set down at Phrasal verbs 2.

?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 3282   He badd settenn upp o writt All mann kinn.
c1325   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 35  Of leuedis loue, þat y ha let,..Ofte in song y haue hem set.
c1386   Chaucer Wife of Bath's Prol. 209  Why sholde men elles in hir bookes sette That a man shal yelde to his wyf hyr dette?
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 12  Whan Crist him self hath bode pes And set it in his testament.
1474   Caxton tr. Game & Playe of Chesse (1883) iv. vii. 182  Wherfore he setted not the versis of homere in his book.
1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus i. i. sig. Diij,  Sette in a byll, what thy chyldes parte commeth to.
a1616   Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) iv. ii. 152  All his faults obseru'd, Set in a Note-booke.
1745   P. Thomas True Jrnl. Voy. South-Seas 105,  I know it was set in the Ship's Log Book by Order.

 23. To put (one's signature), affix (a seal) to (†on) a document. (Cf. to set to at Phrasal verbs 2.)

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Gött.) l. 6889   He..wrat þe name and set þe [Vesp. sett to, Fairf. sette on] sele.
1405   Rolls of Parl. III. 605/2  In Witnessing of whilk thyng, to thys presentes we have sette our forsaide Seal.
1524   in J. H. Glover Kingsthorpiana (1883) 66  We have hereunto set the comon seal of Kyngesthorp.
1567   T. Harman Caueat for Commen Cursetors (new ed.) sig. Eiv,   One should make writings and set seales for lycences and pasportes.
1600   Weakest goeth to Wall sig. I3v,  Here is your hand set to confirme the deed.
c1616   R. C. Times' Whistle (1871) v. 2029  Hee'l make the landlord set both hand & seale To this new lease.
1629   P. Massinger Roman Actor iv. i. sig. G4,  Haue you set your hands To the accusation?
1699   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) V. 369  For setting the greate seale to an arch pyrates being pardon'd.
1736   Gentleman's Mag. Aug. 473/1  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal.
1892   Temple Bar Nov. 358  He set his hand to the death-warrant.
1611   Second Maiden's Trag. 310  Force grace into that cheeke wher impudence setts her seale.
1637   S. Rutherford Lett. (1664) 342  Lend Christ your heart: Set him as a seal there.
 IV. To place or cause to be in a certain position (other than merely local), condition, relation, or connection.
 * Where a person or thing is placed in or brought into a condition.

 a. To place in a state or sphere specified by an adverbial expression.Now less freq. than place or put.

?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 10728   Ȝho doþ þe to settenn þe Bineþenn þine lahȝhre.
a1225   Leg. Kath. 1758  Ȝef ȝe beoð mine, as under me isette.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 23552  If it sett þam into will to mak anoiþer erth or heuen.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B. vi. 48  Þat he worth worthier sette and with more blisse.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 11408   Quen ani deid o þat dozein, His sun for him was sett again.
c1400   Rom. Rose 4957  Celde gan..sette men by her ordinaunce In good Reule and in gouernaunce.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 714/2  And I be set ones in auctorite.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 223   Hit wold sothely me set as souerayne in Joye.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 1728   Þat ben set vnder seruage.
1566   T. Drant Wailyngs Hieremiah in tr. Horace Medicinable Morall sig. Kviijv,  Preists haue set God, in this chafinge moode.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 159  Quhen Sathan was lousit out of hell, And had set man in my place.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts ii. 7  This holy calling, wherein yee are set.
1662   E. Stillingfleet Origines Sacræ ii. ix. §1. 253  Everything remains in the course and order wherein it was set at the Creation.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 255. ¶4  Providence for the most part sets us upon a Level.
1831   Scott Castle Dangerous iii, in Tales of my Landlord 4th Ser. IV. 107  My age sets me beyond your cruelty.
1846   R. C. Trench Christ the Desire of All Nations viii. 153  He must be set in those conditions, in which to abide by the good shall bring upon him every outward calamity.
1847   H. Miller First Impressions Eng. vi. 101  It had to be set under a keeper, to insure better behaviour.

b. With adv. compl. or phr. expressing removal from a condition or position. Obs.(Now commonly expressed by put.)

c1050   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (MS. C) ann. 1043,   & raðe þæs man sette Stigant of his bisceoprice.
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis III. 1  This vice, which so out of rule Hath sette ous alle.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Gött.) l. 8639   Þe dede childe for-soth es þin, þat þi-selue of lijf has sett [Fairf. atte þou fra life to dede has sette].
1523   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. ccccv. 285 b,  His mynde was so sore therof, that no man coude set hym therfro.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/1,  I feare me he hath set my fote out of joynte.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/2  Who hath set my bookes out of order on this facyon?
1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Matt. in Paraphr. New Test. ii. 25  Least he should be set beside the kingdome whiche he..held.
1559   in J. Strype Ann. Reformation I. App. x. 31  Note th' end of these men's doctryns, that is to sett us withowt God.
1593   Spenser Elegie in Phœnix Nest 6  Perhaps this may a suter be, To set Mars by his deitie.
1598   Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 1 v. i. 88  This present enterprise set of his head.
1606   G. W. tr. Justinus Hist. xxxi. 105  It was a far easier labor to depose them of Rome then to set them beside their Empire.
1693   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §54. 54  This..spoils his Mind, and sets that farther out of order.
1756   in Coltness Coll. (Maitland Club) 209  They wanted to have a haggas, but John said we must set our hearts bye that.

 a. In a large number of phraseological expressions (often equivalent to a single verb), in which set acquires the sense of: To cause to be or become (so-and-so). Cf. put v. 17, 28. to set at ease, at rest, to rest, †in or at peace ; †to set at debate , †to set at difference , †to set at a jar , †to set at jars , to set at odds , to set at one , to set at variance , †to set at square , to set at war , to set by the ears , †to set in sunder ; to set agog , †to set at gaze , to set astray ; to set aglow , to set afire , to set on fire , to set aflame , to set in flame(s , etc.; to set in array , to set in order , to set in readiness , to set to rights ; to set †in effray , †to set on fear ; to set at large , to set at leisure , to set at liberty ; to set on edge ; to set in or on a roar ; to set in action , to set in motion , to set in operation ; to set at bay , to set at fault , †to set in press , †to set in stay ; to set at contempt , to set at defiance ; etc.: see also the ns. and advs. Also, to set afoot or on foot (see afoot adv. 3, foot n. 32c).

OE   Genesis 2729  Ne þearf ðe on edwit Abraham settan.
a1000   Solomon & Saturn 344  Hine god seteð ðurh geearnunga endgum to ræste.
c1325  (▸c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 7805   Þe grete cite of medes suþþe afure [?a1425 B in a feer; c1450 B on a fere] he sette.
c1407   Lydgate Reson & Sensuallyte 2188  Sette thyn herte best at ese.
1473   J. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 472,  I trust to God thatt the ij Dukes off Clarans and Glowcester shall be sette att on.
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) xvi. 427   The Yngli rout in gret effray War set, for douglass suddandly.
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) x. 257   Settand in pess all the cuntre.
1509   S. Hawes Pastime of Pleasure xxv. iii,  Whan that God set them [the planettes] in operacyon.
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid viii. iv. 142  That on this wise had Cacus set in pres [L. telis premit].
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/2  Set your herte at rest.
c1530   Crt. of Love (MS.) 418   And lovers true to setten at debate.
1569   R. Grafton Chron. II. 35  He set that Countrie in good rest and peace.
1575   G. Gascoigne Glasse of Gouernem. iv. i. sig. Hiiiv,  I haue..set al thinges in redynesse for my Sonnes departure.
1578   M. T. in R. Edwards Paradyse Daynty Deuises (new ed.) sig. Ciiii,   The stately Stagge..by yalping hounds at bay is set.
1615   R. Cocks Diary 30 July (1883) I. 28  An other matter is now set on foote, which I never did heare of till this instant.
a1616   Shakespeare King John (1623) iii. iii. 10  Imprisoned angells Set at libertie.
1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. ii. 48  An vnresolued man..is distracted here, set on feare there.
1656   R. Sanderson 20 Serm. viii. 160  Pride..setteth contentions a foot at the first and afterwards keepeth them afoot.
1668   S. Pepys Diary 8 Nov. (1976) IX. 354  At my chamber all the morning, setting papers to rights.
1736   T. Lediard Life Marlborough III. 364  A Treaty of Peace was again set on foot.
1774   O. Goldsmith Grecian Hist. I. v. 111  The Athenians..sat many of their ships on fire.
1805–6   H. F. Cary tr. Dante Inferno xxviii. 132  Father and son I set at mutual war.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas IV. x. x. 160  Which set my lungs as well as appetite in motion.
1829   Scott Anne of Geierstein III. ix. 263  He..has in a right godly manner tried to set afoot a treaty of peace with my own father.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. II. vi. ii. 376  They have quite another feat to do: a paralytic National Executive to set in action.
1854   H. Miller Schools & Schoolmasters (1858) 284  A peculiarity which had set at fault..the modern ship-carpenter.
1869   A. J. Evans Vashti xxiii. 305  At last she was set once more adrift in the world.
1879   M. J. Guest Lect. Hist. Eng. xxxi. 316  His followers set themselves in battle array.
1890   Sunday Mag. Aug. 531/2  Enquiries were at once set on foot.
1895   Cornhill Mag. Mar. 298  That day's incident set the whole neighbourhood agog.

 b. With adj. compl.; chiefly to set free, loose, right : see also the adjs.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/2  As for your costes, take no thought for, I wyll set you fre.
c1570   W. Wager Longer thou Livest (Brandl) 1558  Let me helpe you to set your gowne right.
a1616   Shakespeare Timon of Athens (1623) iii. iii. 30,  I cannot thinke, but in the end, the Villanies of man will set him cleere.
a1639   W. Whately Prototypes (1640) xvi. 8  She is a bad and unloving wife,..who sets him short, and cares not to fit him with pleasing food.
1695   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. (new ed.) §89. 140   His Practice must by no means cross his Precepts, unless he intend to set him wrong.
1780   Mirror No. 92,  Who make people laugh, or set them asleep.
1799   R. Kirwan Geol. Ess. 19  An immense quantity of inflammable air set loose.
1853   Thackeray Newcomes (1854) I. iii. 32  Orme's Hindostan, the book..which set poor dear Tom wild to go to India.
1855   R. Browning Fra Lippo Lippi in Men & Women I. 37  Let's sit and set things straight now.
1890   T. F. Tout Hist. Eng. from 1689 155  The death of the old king set them free from their last scruple.

 a. To place (a person) in a certain sphere of activity or occupation; esp. to set to lore (also to book, to school) ; also, to place with an instructor or employer. Obs. (Cf. sense 114.)

a1225   Leg. Kath. 115  Hire feder hefde iset hire earliche to lare.
c1290   Beket 210 in S. Eng. Leg. 112  Þis child was ȝong to schole i-set.
c1330   Arth. & Merl. 9  Childer, þat ben to boke ysett.
1340–70   Alex. & Dind. 454  We ben lered..lore of no scole, Ne to no sience i-set vs silue to wisse.
1486–93   Early Chanc. Proc. 94/14 (P.R.O.) ,   Your said oratour (when newly set to Courte in Davys Inne).
a1513   H. Bradshaw Lyfe St. Werburge (1521) i. iv. sig. b.iii,  He set her for doctryne, to the abbesse saynt Hylde.
a1538   T. Starkey Dial. Pole & Lupset (1989) 29  Settyng themsefe in relygyouse housys ther quyetly to serve god.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VII f. xlixv,  The sayde Barlo set me with a merchaunt of Middelboroughe too seruyce.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 104  Set him betimes to School.

b. to set above (also aloft, high, on high) : to exalt. to set nether : to bring low. Obs.

c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 2020   Feowere here weren riche þe haueden ferden muchele. þeo nedden al þæ oðere & heom neððer sætten.
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 7  Tho was the vertu sett above And vice was put under fote.
c1430   Hymns Virgin 37  Wrong is an hiȝ seete þere riȝt schulde be.
1488  (▸c1478)    Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) vi. l. 58   Feyll sys or than he had beyne set abuff.
1509   S. Hawes Pastime of Pleasure xxxiii. xxv,  Verite on the first fane Did sette aloft of falshoed the hede.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/1,  I set a lofte, as a man is whan one dothe promote him.
c1591   J. Norden Progr. Pietie (1847) 28  That God that can give and take away, set aloft and pull down.
1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit. i. 244  Fortune..hath set no man so high, but she threatneth to take from him as much.
c1675   E. Waller Epit. Col. Cavendish 25  Equal success had set these champions high.

c. To put (singers) at the proper pitch. Obs.

1506   in Legg Clerk's bk. (1903) 76  The said clarkis..whanne ony seruyce shalbe don by note shall sett the quyer not after his owne brest.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 714/1  Can you nat set these syngyng men in tune yet?

 d. orig. to set upon the muzzle : To muzzle (a horse) so as to prevent him feeding improperly.

1834   T. Medwin Angler in Wales II. 115  My training groom had his orders and yet I was afraid Idris would not be set upon muzzle, and so get improperly filled.
1856   ‘Stonehenge’ Man. Brit. Rural Sports ii. i. vi. §7  Some [horses] requiring to be set over night after having eaten their hay.
1857   H. H. Dixon Post & Paddock (new ed.) 143   They set them [sc. the horses] very sharp.

 27. To place (a person or thing) in one's possession or control, or in a condition to be used, dealt with, or occupied. to set in hand :  †(a) to place in (a person's) possession or control;  †(b) to take in hand, undertake; also intr. with with, in the same sense;  (c) to put out to be done. to set to (for, on) sale, a-sale : see sale n.2 2a, 1cto set at pawn, to pledge, to wed : to pledge, pawn.

c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 12562   Mi lond ich wulle sette to wedde for seoluere.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 6161   Cheorles..hefden al þis kine-lond iset [c1300 Otho hii-sette] a cheorlene hond.
c1420   Sir Amadace (Camden) xxxiii,  That he had sette, and layd to wedde.
a1425  (▸c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Ecclus. x. 10   For whi this man hath also his soule set to sale.
c1500   Robin Hood liv,  My londes beth sette to wedde..To a ryche abbot.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Esdras v. 3   Let vs set our londes..to pledge.
1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. John vii. 6–10  He left them and set in hand to preache.
1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. John x. 19–24  New matter to set in hand and dispute wt him again.
1553   J. Bale tr. S. Gardiner De Vera Obedientia G ij,  He setteth them asale..in an open place.
1577   E. Hellowes tr. A. de Guevara Familiar Epist. (new ed.) 280   The first that set Physick asale.
1601   R. Hakluyt tr. A. Galvano Discov. World 77  He set in hand sending foorth two ships.
1602   W. Watson Decacordon Ten Quodlibeticall Questions 349  Neither done, nor set in hand withall.
1750   Johnson Rambler No. 28. §7  A man who has..set his country to sale.
1812   G. Crabbe Tales xix. 351  Concerns it you what books I set for sale?
1864   Builder 16 Apr. 281/3  The proposed restoration of St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, is to be set in hand forthwith.

 a. To cause (a thing) to assume a certain physical position expressed by an adj. compl. or adv. phr.; chiefly to set open (wide) , set on end, set upright (see also these words).

a1300   Cursor M. 25049  Þe cros..quen it es sett on end vp euen, It takens pes tuix erth and heuen.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 3804   He it sett vp right.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 2142  Werpis þam vp..& wyde open settis.
1549–62   T. Sternhold & J. Hopkins Te Deum,  Thou heavens kingdom didst set ope.
1615   J. Murrell New Bk. Cookerie 32  To make Pancakes so crispe that you may set them vpright.
1678   E. Phillips New World of Words (ed. 4) ,   To set taught the Shrouds, in the Navigators Dialect, is to make them stiffer when they are too slack.
c1720   N. Du Bois & G. Leoni tr. A. Palladio Architecture III. xxi. 35  Seeing that the..legions were so close and crowded.., he commanded them to set themselves more at large.
1724   E. Calamy Mem. Life J. Howe 11  Setting the Top on the piqued end downwards.
1791   J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1775 I. 507  [Johnson:] The plate..is..then set sloping to drop the superfluous mercury.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. II. iv. viii. 259  With door set ajar.
1896   Pall Mall Mag. May 7  An ill-tempered frown, that set her beauty askew.

 b. To cause to take a certain shape (defined by an adj. or adv. phr.).

1678   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises I. i. 12  Turn the other side of your work, and with your Hammer set it flat and straight.
1842   Penny Cycl. XXIII. 432/2  The sword is then set to the required shape by placing it on a sort of fork upon the anvil, and wrenching it by means of tongs.

 29. To place (a person, his body or limbs) in a certain posture. Also refl. to set on one's feet, legs : see foot n. 27, leg n. 2c.

c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 1838   The hoost..Set his hond in kenebowe.
?1566   J. Phillip Commodye Pacient & Meeke Grissill sig. B.iv7,  I was set on my legges and reyzed vpright.
1662   Bp. E. Hopkins Funeral Serm. (1663) 27  What are they..but..Nothings set a strutt?
1665   R. Hooke Micrographia 200  Standing still, and setting itself on its hinder leggs.
1750   Johnson Rambler No. 116. ⁋10  When a man can set his hands to his sides, and say he is worth forty thousand pounds every day of the year.
1835   H. Harewood Dict. Sports at Cock-fighting,  When brought beak to beak, and set on their legs.
1837   J. G. Lockhart Mem. Life Scott I. ii. 82  Unless the old man would set him astride on his shoulder.
1859   Habits Good Society vii. 250  In standing, the legs ought to be straight, or one of them bent a little, but not set wide apart.
 ** Where something is assigned, applied, allotted, apportioned, etc.

30. To give, bestow, assign (a name). Const. dat. or equivalent with to, upon. Obs.

c1000   Ælfric Homilies I. 12  God him sette naman Adam.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 722   Whatt name he shollde settenn. Vpp o þatt illke child.
a1635   R. Sibbes Heavenly Conf. (1656) 79  God setteth a stile upon us suitable to the excellency of our spirituall being.

31. To apply or allot (money) to, spend (a sum) on a certain object; to expend, invest. Obs.

1154   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ann. 1137,   [He] wrohte on þe circe & sette þar to landes & rentes.
1455 [see β. forms].
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 2244   Wele settith he his peny, þat þe pound [therby] savith.
1475   Bk. Noblesse (Roxb.) 81  Late it be set in money to the remedie and socoure of this gret importunyte and necessite.
1485   in M. Oppenheim Naval Accts. & Inventories Henry VII (1896) 7  All somes of money sett upon hym for the same [office].
1507   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1901) III. 334  To the King himself, quhilk was set on the syment riall,..xx Franch crounis.

32. To apply (a remedy) to; to bestow (pains).

a1300   Cursor Mundi 89  To sette traueil On thyng þat may not auail.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Fairf. 14) l. 4722   Bot ȝe sette bote our life ys gane.
c1440   York Myst. v. 19  My trauayle were wele sette Myght y hym so betraye.
1481   Caxton tr. Siege & Conqueste Jerusalem (1893) 277  To thende that they myght sette remedye for theyr affayres.
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) x. 100   And he mycht set no help thar-till.
a1500  (▸?c1450)    Merlin (1899) vii. 114   That alle shull be distroied but god sette remedye.
a1578   R. Lindsay Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) I. 394  To sett ane remedy thairto.

33. To add (one thing) to another. Obs.

c1055   Byrhtferth's Handboc in Anglia VIII. 303  Nim þæt an, & sete onforeweardum þam concurrentium.
c1175   Lamb. Hom. 19  We wrecche sunfulle..setteð deihwamliche sunne uppon sunne.
c1375   Lay Folks Mass Bk. (MS. B) 23   Grett saumpel he settis þer-to, whi hit is ful ille to do.
c1449   R. Pecock Repressor (1860) 55  That to Holi Writt men schulde not sett eny exposiciouns, declaracions, or glosis.
1532   T. More Confut. Tyndale in Wks. 505/2  If any manne any thing set to these thynges.
1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus i. i. Metres sig. Eiijv,  They..sette a syllable or mo to the nexte verse folowynge.

 34. to set (a) fire in, †on, †upon, †of, now only to : to kindle, ignite. (Cf. sense 25.) Also U.S. to set a fire (without prepositional complement): to kindle or start a fire.

c1400   Laud Troy Book 5879  Thei sette ffir In schip.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Matt. xxii. 7   The kynge..destroyed those murtherers & set fyre vpon their Citie.
1568   R. Grafton Chron. II. 107 b,  Thei set fire in their lodgynges, and departed in good ordre of battail.
1582   N. Lichefield tr. F. L. de Castanheda 1st Bk. Hist. Discouerie E. Indias 120  Our men..did set fire to all the Townes yt were in the Ilande.
1604   E. Grimeston tr. True Hist. Siege Ostend 45  A firie Bullet..set fire of a barrell of Poulder.
1623   J. Bingham tr. Xenophon Hist. 50  All arose and..set fire on the Carts, and Tents.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts i. 549  Who shall invade their countrey, and set a fire on their chiefe city.
1657   T. Jordan Walks Islington iv. ii. sig. F4,  I will even make bold to set fire of your Bush [tavern], then throw your water and spare not.
1700   J. Tyrrell Gen. Hist. Eng. II. 786  They set Fire on the Suburbs.
1726   Swift Gulliver I. i. vii. 121  By setting fire on your House.
1885   Manch. Examiner 8 July 5/2  These set fire by rockets to the straw barracks.
1906   N.Y. Evening Post 15 Nov. 3  Two fires in tenement house letter boxes were set to-day at an early hour.
1907   E. Glyn Three Weeks vi,  As a child..who sets a light to a whole box of matches in play.
1976   Washington Post 19 Apr. b1/7  The school had been broken into and the fire had been set.

 35. To stake the welfare or existence of (something) upon; also pass. to be dependent for its destiny upon.Phr. to set on (at) cinque and sice , to set on six and seven : see cinque n. 3, six adj. and n.

1597   Shakespeare Richard III v. vii. 9,  I haue set my life vpon a cast, And I will stand the hazard of the die.
a1616   Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) v. i. 74  To set Vpon one Battell all our Liberties.
1670   Dryden Tyrannick Love v. i. 49  Yet all my Fortune on his death is set.
1832   R. Southey Hist. Peninsular War III. 859  When Rochejaquelein.. set life and fortune thus upon the die.
1894   W. J. Dawson Making of Manhood 74  Their life is set upon a rushing whirling star.

 36. To put (one thing) in the balance against another; to compare (one thing) by or to another.

[a1000   Boeth. Metr. vi. 7  Hiora birhtu ne bið auht to gesettane wið þære sunnan leoht.]
1589   G. Puttenham Arte Eng. Poesie iii. xix. 196  When a man wil seeme to make things appeare good or bad,..he sets the lesse by the greater, or the greater to the lesse.
1687   G. Burnet Def. Refl. Varillas's Hist. Heresies 30  Improbabilities ought never to be set against Positive Proofs.
1692   R. L'Estrange Fables lxviii. 68  This method of Setting what we Have against What we have Not.
1729   Act 2 Geo. II c. 22 §13  Where there are mutual Debts between the Testator or Intestate, and either Party, one Debt may be set against the other.
1873   H. Spencer Study Sociol. ii. 40  Against his professed theory may be set his actual practice.
1890   Illustr. London News 13 Sept. 331/1  Has she no human faults to set against so much sterile virtue?
 *** Where something is made to dwell in or rest upon a person or thing.

 a. To place (one's hope or trust) in (also †on); to cause (one's thoughts or affections) to dwell upon or to be centred in something. Phr. to set one's heart on (also (†in) .

c825   Vesp. Ps. lxxvii. 7  Ðæt hie setten in gode hyht.
971   Blickl. Hom. 227  Up to heofenum..þyder his modgeþanc a geseted wæs.
a1300   E.E. Psalter lxi. 11  Nil þou set on þam þi hert.
1340   R. Rolle Pricke of Conscience 7226  Þai..on þe world þair hertes sett hard.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B. x. 392  Many men..more sette here hertis In good þan in god.
c1386   Chaucer Monk's Tale 854  In vengeance he al his herte sette.
c1400   Rule St. Benet (Verse) 607  In god we set al our thoght.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur i. xvii. 62  Kyng Arthur sette his loue gretely vpon her.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VII f. iiiv,  Whose myndes and studyes he..knewe to be..set in the poletique regiment..of the publique wealthe.
1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day in Wks. (1910) II. 307  To set mynde, upon vice and wickednesse.
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary ii. 195  His heart is very much set upon the enterprize of Ireland.
1714   J. Addison Lover No. 10. ⁋3  The fragility of china is such as a reasonable being ought by no means to set its heart upon.
1801   M. Edgeworth Forester in Moral Tales I. 110  He had set his fancy upon..his friend's horses.
1848   Thackeray Vanity Fair xliii. 391  She had set her mind on the Major.
1862   J. Tyndall Mountaineering in 1861 i. 3  We set our thoughts on the sublime and beautiful.
1870   J. E. T. Rogers Hist. Gleanings 2nd Ser. 203  He had set his heart on seeing his son a clergyman.
1891   E. Gerard & D. Gerard Sensitive Plant III. iii. xii. 91  Jeannette had set her fancy there.

b. pass. and intr. (said of the affections). Obs.

1607   T. Middleton Revengers Trag. iv. sig. G3,  Where the hearts set, there goes the tongues consent.
1831   Scott Count Robert x, in Tales of my Landlord 4th Ser. I. 290  Whether she had..felt a partiality towards one whose heart was not particularly set upon gaining hers.

38. To cause (a feeling or state of mind) to arise in a person; to fix in one's mind. Obs.

971   Blickl. Hom. 125  Uton we symle þæs dæges fyrhto & egsan on ure mod settan.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 7185   Iss ned tatt he. dredinng. & aȝhe sette. Onn alle þa [etc.].
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 2337   Þe laffdiȝ sannte marȝe..haffde sett inn hire þohht. To libbenn i clænnesse.
a1225   Leg. Kath. 646  Sete, Iesu, swucche sahen i my muð to marhen.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 27   Alle menne sares setteð in oure heorte.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 6060   To seitt him soru at his hert.
c1475  (▸?c1400)    Apol. Lollard Doctr. (1842) 24   If ȝe wil not sett to þe hert to ȝef glory to my name.
1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus i. iii. sig. Gijv,  What care goest thou about to set at thy fathers hart.

 a. To rest (one's eye, one's look) upon.

c1330   R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 13821  Ilk on oþer auisement sett.
c1386   Chaucer Clerk's Tale 233  Vp on Grisilde..this Markys sette his eye.
c1386   Chaucer Man of Law's Tale 1053  At the firste look he on hire sette.
?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 4423  His syght on þe lyght he settys.
1579   Tale Hemetes the Heremite in A. Fleming tr. Synesius Paradoxe sig. e.ij,  I cold neuer more set eie vpon her.
a1645   E. Waller To Amoret 5  Joy salutes me when I set My blest Eyes on Amoret.
1765   S. Foote Commissary ii. 29  The first time I set eyes on captain Wilkins..I accost him.
1853   Dickens Bleak House xlvi. 446  He..never has been seen or heard of since, till I set eyes on him just now.

b. to set sight of (in) = to set eyes on, to sight. Obs.

c1595   Capt. Wyatt in Voy. R. Dudley to W. Indies (1899) 11  On which daie it pleased God that wee sett sight of a carvell.
1746   Exmoor Scolding (ed. 3) i. 4   Nif zo be tha dest bet zet Zeert [= sight] in Harry Vursdon.

 40. To put (a mark, impression) upon; to place as a distinguishing mark, token, or imprint. Now rhetorical.

OE   Genesis 2371  Abraham..sette friðotacen [viz. circumcision]..on his selfes sunu.
1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) Gen. iv. 15   The Lord sette a signe in Caym [1611 set a marke vpon].
1412–20   Lydgate tr. Hist. Troy iv. 2156  Al paie is good, be so þe prente be set.
a1616   Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) ii. ii. 30  In womens waxen hearts to set their formes.
1653   E. Manlove Liberties & Customes Lead-mines Derby 21  The Barghmaster..on the Spindel ought to set a nick, If that the grove unworked be three week.
1653   A. Marvell Corr. in Wks. (1875) II. 4,  I shall hope to set nothing upon his spirit but what may be of a good sculpture.

 41. To lay or spread (a surface of a certain kind) on an object; hence, to put (a favourable or specious appearance) upon a thing.to set a good face upon: see face n. Phrases 8b. to set a gloss upon : see gloss n.2 1.

1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus ii. i. sig. Iiij,  Seinge thou settest as good a face vpon beanes, as if they were blanched almondes.
1573   G. Gascoigne tr. Ariosto Supposes iv. v, in Hundreth Sundrie Flowres 48  Oh, see..What a brasen face he setteth on it?
1594   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 2 iv. ii. 6  Iack Cade..meanes to turne this land, and set a new nap on it.
1604   Shakespeare Hamlet iv. vii. 105  Weele..set a double varnish on the fame The french man gaue you.
a1616   Shakespeare Timon of Athens (1623) i. ii. 143  You haue..Set a faire fashion on our entertainment.
1649   Milton Εικονοκλαστης Pref. sig. B4v,  They took him to set a face upon thir own malignant designes.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Pastorals ix, in tr. Virgil Wks. 41  Kick'd out, we set the best Face on't we cou'd.
1716   Lady M. W. Montagu Let. 14 Sept. (1965) I. 262,  I find that I have.., whatever face I set on't, a strong disposition to beleive in miracles.

 42. To put (an edge or point) on, to. (Cf. sense 75.)

1600   T. Nashe Summers Last Will F 1,  What sets an edge on a knife? the grindstone alone? no, the moyst element powr'd vpon it, which grinds out all gaps, sets a poynt vpon it.
1620   Westward for Smelts (Percy Soc.) 11   This did but set an edge to her wanton appetite.
1647   C. Harvey Schola Cordis xxxix. 3  What I get Serves but to set An edge upon mine appetite.
1891   Cornhill Mag. Dec. 638,  I am now setting a very keen edge to my blade.

 a. To fix (a certain price) upon a thing; now chiefly in to set a price upon one's head and the like; otherwise expressed by put. (Cf. sense 89.)

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/2  And you set nat a price upon your marchaundyse, howe can it be bought?
1652   M. Nedham tr. J. Selden Of Dominion of Sea 492  Setting great ransom upon their Fisher-men.
1667   A. Marvell Let. 5 Jan. in Poems & Lett. (1971) II. 50  A Bill has bin read for setting the prices of wine as well upon the Merchant as Retaylor.
1687   G. Burnet Contin. Refl. Mr. Varillas's Hist. Heresies 35  There is not a word of any sum set on his Head.
1720   J. Ozell tr. R. A. de Vertot Hist. Revol. Rom. Republic II. xi. 184  Sylla set a Price upon the Heads of all that were proscribed.
1765   T. Hutchinson Hist. Colony Massachusets-Bay, 1628–91 (ed. 2) ii. 305   He knew the premium set upon his head.
1861   Temple Bar 1 521  A price was set upon the head of the Prince.
1880   D. C. Davies Treat. Metallif. Minerals & Mining 420 s.v.,  To set a price upon a share in a mine.

 b. fig. To put (a certain value) upon, have (a certain estimate) of.

a1616   Shakespeare Cymbeline (1623) iv. iv. 48  Since of your liues you set So slight a valewation.
1671   Milton Paradise Regain'd iv. 160  That I On what I offer set as high esteem.
1756   M. Calderwood Lett. & Jrnls. (1884) x. 272  After setting a just value upon others, I must next set it on myself.

44. To lay (something burdensome) upon; to impose or inflict (a penalty, tax, etc.) upon. Obs.

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xxxix. §10  Þæt God nylle..nan unaberendlice broc him an settan.
OE   Genesis 1266  Hwonne frea wolde on wærlogan wite settan.
c1200   Trin. Coll. Hom. 61  Listeð nu wich þreat dauid setteð uppen us.
1338   R. Mannyng Chron. (1810) 55  Forto reise þe treuage, þat on þe lond was sette.
a1400   Cursor M. (Gött.) 23666   [Pine] Þat godd has sett vs for vr sin.
?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 6246  þe tax on þaim to sett.
1537   in I. S. Leadam Select Cases Court of Requests (1898) 47  The seid felaweship..sett vpon euery of the seyd compleynauntes for his contribucion xij d. by the yere.
1552–3   Act 7 Edw. VI c. 12 §10  The somme or sommes upon hym sett to be due.
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary i. 115  There being a great penalty set upon any that carry their Armes.
1639   S. Du Verger tr. J. P. Camus Admirable Events 220  This man sets a seisure on Nilamon's lands.
a1715   Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 399  He was to have a proportion of all the fines that should be set upon this evidence.
1761   Chron. in Ann. Reg. June,  Of which offence he being convicted, the Court set a fine on him.
 V. To appoint, institute (a person); to prescribe, ordain, establish (a thing).

 45. To post or station (a person) in a certain place to perform certain duties.With infin. this sense passes into 112b.

971   Blickl. Hom. 177  Þa he bebyrged wæs, settan him hyrdas to.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 198   Isboseth lei slepde. & sette a wimmon ȝetewart.
1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 8113  Hii..at ech of þe vour ȝates sette an compaynie.
1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 10685  He astorede þe castel..& sette þer uolk inou to holde him aȝe þe kinge.
1362   Langland Piers Plowman A. x. 22  Þeose sixe ben I-set to saue þe Castel.
a1425   Edward, Duke of York Master of Game (Digby) xxxv. f. 55 b,   Þe stable þat oweth to be sette or þe kyng comme.
c1450   Mirk's Festial 16  Þen wer þer þefes set for hym yn a wod þat he most nede goo þrogh.
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) lxxxiii. 259   Loke that ye set good watche at euery gate.
1598   R. Barret Theorike & Pract. Mod. Warres ii. 22  He shall..assist him..in setting the watch.
1630   J. Winthrop Hist. New Eng. (1825) (modernized text) I. 10   Our captain, so soon as he had set the watch, at eight in the evening, called his men.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iv, in tr. Virgil Wks. 140  Like Centries set.
1769   W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine (1780) Rr4b,  To set the Watch, is to appoint one division of the crew to enter upon the duty of the watch.
1821   Scott Kenilworth III. xiii. 251  How came he to leave the Castle after the watch was set?
1872   C. M. Yonge Cameos cviii, in Monthly Packet Jan. 29  A watch was set all round the castle.
1873   H. Spencer Study Sociol. x. 251  Spies have to be set to check them.

46. To place (a person) in an office, appoint to a certain function or to perform a certain duty; to appoint (an official). Obs.

c1000   Ags. Ps. civ. 17  He sette hine on his huse to hlafwearde.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 13438,   I sette ȝuw to ben. Amang hæþene lede. Lihhtfattess muþ.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 23877  Hirdes þat þe lauerd has sett.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 11753   Preistes..To do þe folk, als þai war sete, Ma sacrifies to þair maumet.
c1400   Rule St. Benet (Prose) 20  Þabbes ah at set nan þar-to bot þat scho is sikir offe.
c1450   Brut 429  He..made his testament full, and sette his executoris.
c1460   Oseney Reg. 5  The which sett in the seyde church seculer chanons.
c1460   R. Roos tr. La Belle Dame sans Mercy 613  There is no iuge yset on such trespace.
1486   in H. Littlehales Medieval Rec. London City Church (1905) 7  Than I woll..admytte..an honest preest to the said Chauntry, & hym set & inducte in the same.
1498   Cov. Leet Bk. 597  Auditours therupon to be sett.

 a. To place in a position of superiority or control over another (e.g. as a ruler, protector, guard).

c1000   Ags. Ps. xvii. 48  Þa hælo þæs cynges ðe ðu gesettest ofer folcum.
1123   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ,   Hit wæs togeanes riht þæt man scolde setten clerc ofer muneces.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 3910   To..settenn enngless oferr hemm To ȝemenn hemm.
c1230  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Corpus Cambr.) (1962) 38   Þe beoð ouer oþre iset & habbeð ham to witene.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 6222   Ouer al þat ost he sett leders.
a1450   Rule St. Benet (Vesp.) 966   Lord, o-bouen set hase þou Souerayns to wham vs bus bew.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie iii. iv. 76 b,  The Ambassadors, vnto whom they are set ouer as theyr gard.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost ix. 941  Us his prime Creatures,..Set over all his Works.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1646 (1955) II. 512  [They] set a guard upon us.
1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison IV. xiii. 80  The seventh man was set over the post-boy.
1844   H. H. Wilson Hist. Brit. India I. 235  In the estimation of those whom he was set over.
1879   M. J. Guest Lect. Hist. Eng. xiv. 127  He promoted the French clergy, and set them over the English.

 b. To cause (a person) to act in a grievous way upon.Phr. to set (one) in another's neck: see neck n.1 Phrases 1c. Similarly to set on another's back.

1551   R. Robinson tr. T. More Vtopia sig. Piv,  They reyse vp the people..and them they sette in theyre neckes vnder the coloure of some olde tytle of ryghte.
1692   Dryden Cleomenes iv. i. 41  Your Friend was set upon you for a Spy.
1695   A. Wood Life (1895) IV. 49  He endeavoured to set Sir William Glynn on his back.

 c. to set (a person) on (another): to get him to use influence with. rare.

a1715   Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 241  He took care to set the English Bishops on the King.

 48. To appoint (a boundary, limit). Const. dat. of person or equivalent with to.

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xxi,  He hæfð heora mearce swa gesette þæt hie ne mot heore mearce gebrædan.
a1000   Ælfric Exodus xix. 23  Þu hete settan gemæro.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Psalms ciii. 9   Thou hast set them their boundes, which they maie not passe.
a1577   G. Gascoigne Grief of Joye i. xx, in Wks. (1910) II. 521  Asthough ye bounds were sett, How longe mans lyfe, might heere on earthe endure.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) iii. vi. sig. Mm1,  Since she found she could set no limits to his passions.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost iii. 538  Where bounds were set To darkness.
1678   R. Cudworth True Intellect. Syst. Universe i. v. 882  Those narrow Limits, which Vulgar Opinion and Imagination sets them.
1749   T. Smollett tr. A. R. Le Sage Gil Blas III. ix. i. 189  Ambitious fellows, who set no bounds to their desires.
1827   Scott Highland Widow in Chron. Canongate 1st Ser. I. xii. 243  My sufferings will soon be over; but yours—Oh, who but Heaven shall set a boundary to them!
1885   ‘L. Malet’ Col. Enderby's Wife II. iv. i. 130  The limits of our nature are set, and we can never cross them.

49. To appoint (a season, festival, etc.) to be observed. Obs.

c1000   Ags. Ps. lxxv. 7  Þæt ic þe symble dag sette and gyrwe.
c1000   Ælfric Homilies I. 310  Þes dæg [Pentecostes] wæs on ðære ealdan æ gesett and gehalgod.
c1175   Lamb. Hom. 11  Þas daȝes beoð iset us to muchele helpe.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 28260  Þe festes þat in kyrk ar sette.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 171  Þe festes principals þet byeþ yzet ine holy Cherche vor God to bidde.

 50. To ordain or establish (a regulation); to lay down (a law); to prescribe (a form or order). †Also, in Old English and Middle English, to ordain or lay it down (that something should be done). Obs. or arch.Cf. set adj.1

c893   tr. Orosius Hist. i. ii. §3  Hio gesette ofer eall hyre rice þæt nan forbyrd nære [etc.].
OE   Crist I 236  Sylfa sette þæt þu sunu wære efeneardigende mid þinne engan frean.
a1122   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ann. 1102,   Hi þær manega beboda setton þe to Cristendome belimpað.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 491   Drihhtin haffde þanne sett. Þatt nan ne shollde wurrþenn. Þa sett to wurrþenn prest butt iff. He prestess sune wære.
a1225   Leg. Kath. 359  Alle ich iseo þine sahen sotliche isette.
c1449   R. Pecock Repressor (1860) 461  Seint Poul..which made this now rehercid lawe and settide it to be had in vce.
1477   T. Norton Ordinall of Alchimy iv, in E. Ashmole Theatrum Chem. Britannicum (1652) 46  Rasis set the Dietary.
1599   R. Bodenham in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigations (new ed.) II. i. 100   The chiefe of the Turkes set order yt none shal do any harme to the people or to their goods.
1667   S. Pepys Diary 14 Feb. (1974) VIII. 61  When our rules are once set..no Governor should offer to alter them.
1865   G. Grote Plato I. xii. 422  Actual positive laws: which..have..been set by some ill-qualified historical ruler, or have grown up insensibly.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) Ded. l. 10   An reȝhell boc to follȝhenn. Vnnderr kanunnkess had. & lif. Swa summ sannt awwstin sette.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 379   After custome to kepe as the Kyng set.

 a. To fix or appoint (a time) for the transaction of an affair, or as the term of a period. Also, to fix a time for. Cf. set adj.1 2a.

a1056   Diplom. Angl. (Thornton) 376   [Hi] settan dæg to þæt man to ðam lande scolde faran.
a1122 [see α. forms].
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 1278   A þon daie þet wes iset þa comen heo to-sumne.
c1290   Beket 782 in S. Eng. Leg. 129  Ich þe lende þo fif hondred pound..Sete me þar-of ane schorte day for þov schalt heom ȝelde ech-on.
1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Rolls) VIII. 103  Þere was i-sette a day to answere.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 5939   Sett vs term wen we sal for þe prai.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur x. lxxxvii. 568  Sette ye a day said sir Tristram that we shalle doo bataille.
1548–77   T. Vicary Profitable Treat. Anat. (1888) i. 16  They shal..neuer set any certaine day of the sicke-mans health, for it lyeth not in their power.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts i. 308  Within three yeares (which shall be as precisely set and observed, as the hireling uses to keep account of the time agreed upon for his service).
1693   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §120. 148  Upon his dispatching his Study within the time set him.
1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison IV. xxi. 163,  I thank my grandmamma and aunt for their kind summons. I will soon set my day.
a1810   R. Tannahill Poems (1846) 21  Let's set the bridal night afore ye gang.
1890   M. E. Wilkins Far-away Melody 305  Two o'clock had been the hour set for the wedding.
1893   Field 18 Feb. 225/3  The club's opening day..is set for April 22.

 b. Said of God, destiny, etc.; also in impers. pass.

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 191  The time set of kinde is come.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 15163   Þe tide, þat in his suete wil was sett.
a1475   Bk. Quinte Essence 1  Þe teerme þat is sett of god, þat noman may a-schape.
1590   T. Lodge Rosalynde (Hunterian Club) 1 b,   You see that Fate hath set a period of my yeares.
1594   T. Kyd tr. R. Garnier Cornelia iv. ii. 147  Heauen sets our time.
1611   Second Maiden's Trag. 364  Yet sir ther is a date set to all sorrowes.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost x. 499  His Seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head.
1681   H. More Plain Expos. Daniel 199  God had set his time wherein these afflictions..should end.

c. intr. To fix upon a time. Obs.

1648   T. Gage Eng.-Amer. 84  We set upon the time that we should take our flight.

52. trans. To appoint as one's lot or destiny. Also absol. Obs.

c1000   Ælfric Homilies I. 64  Ac he sette gecamp geleaffullum sawlum.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 4836   All þatt he setteþþ upp o þe Off sellþe. & off unnsellþe.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 775,   & forr þi sette himm drihhtin godd To ben iohan ȝehatenn.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 15548   Als prophetis has sett..I sal rise on þe thrid dai.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 522  He..Said it was sett to be so he saȝe by his artis.
1488  (▸c1478)    Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) viii. l. 691   For Inglismen he settis no doym bot ded.

53. To appoint or provide to be used or observed by a person. Obs.

c1000   Ælfric Homilies I. 312  On ðam ealdan Pentecosten sette God æ ðam Israhela folce.
1129   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ,   Crist sette red for his wrecce folc.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 11690   Þe lare off haliȝ boc Þatt ȝuw iss sett to follȝhenn.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 11  Þe tuelf apostles þet hise zette to hyealde and to loky to alle þon þet wyleþ by yborȝe.
c1430   Life St. Kath. (Roxb.) 28  After þe offices þat he hath sett vn to hem.
c1450   J. Capgrave Life St. Augustine xi,  Sche took councell of Seyn Ambrose, and he sette hir þis reule.
1690   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding ii. xxvii. 158  It would be in vain for one intelligent Being, to set a Rule to the Actions of another.

 a. To present (an example or pattern) for others to follow; to introduce (a fashion).

c1175   Lamb. Hom. 5  Godalmihti..sette us bisne.
a1340   R. Rolle Psalter xxvii. 1  Crist..settand him ensaumpile til rightwismen.
1642   Milton Apol. Smectymnuus §12. 57  Their Maister Christ gave them this precept, and set them this example.
a1732   F. Atterbury Serm. (1734) I. 81  To trace all the Steps of that Example which he set us in the Flesh.
1786   Microcosm No. 11. 130  Homer having prescribed the form, or, to use a more modern term, set the fashion of Epic Poems.
1867   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest I. v. 378  A Thegn of Danish descent, Thurcytel.., set the example of flight.
1883   Church Times 9 Nov. 813/3  He set a pattern of controversial violence at a time when tolerance was the lesson most needed by all parties.
1890   S. Lane-Poole Barbary Corsairs ii. xvi. 213  The Genoese and Venetians set the models of these vessels.
1895   A. J. Balfour Found. Belief i. ii. 54  A fashion, as the phrase goes, has to be ‘set’.

 b. To put before a person (a specimen of work) to be followed, mark out (the lines) on which he is to work or proceed.

1594   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 2 iv. ii. 89,  I tooke him setting of boyes coppies.
1638   F. Junius Painting of Ancients 8  Children follow the copies which are set them.
c1680   W. Beveridge Serm. (1729) I. 586  To walk..in the ways which he hath set them.
1714   Pope Corr. 16 Aug. (1956) I. 242,  I could turn writing master at last and set copies to children.
1862   A. Maclaren Milit. Syst. Gymnastic Exerc. 9  The instructor will set (i.e., perform in its perfect manner) each exercise.
1912   Scott. Hist. Rev. Jan. 193  Successful in a brief military campaign on lines set for him by his circumstances.

c. To start (a hymn, etc.) for others to take up.

?c1450   in G. J. Aungier Hist. & Antiq. Syon Monastery (1840) 360  The chefe chauntresse. To whos charge..it belongeth for..to sette the songe euen and mensurably.
1712   R. Steele Spectator No 284 ⁋5,  I had one Day set the Hundredth Psalm, and was singing the first Line in order to put the Congregation into the Tune.
1726   W. R. Chetwood Voy. Capt. Boyle 165  One Sunday, as the Clerk had set the Psalm.
1742   H. Fielding Joseph Andrews I. i. vi. 25,  I should be very willing to be his Clerk: for which you know I am qualified, being able to read, and to set a Psalm.

 d. In a chase or race, to set the pace , to proceed at a rate of speed to be followed by another; also in extended use. So to set the stroke (in rowing).

1891   Murray's Mag. Mar. 367  Walking the pace set by her pupil.
1892   Field 2 Apr. 480/1  Elin, in the Cambridge boat, is setting a longer stroke.
1898   H. Newbolt Island Race 84  He's leading them straight for Blackmoor Gate, And he's setting a pounding pace!
1928   J. M. Barrie Peter Pan i, in Plays 19  Nana must go about all her duties in a most ordinary manner..; naturalness must be her passion; indeed, it should be the aim of every one in the play, for which she is now setting the pace.
1928   E. Wingfield-Stratford Hist. Brit. Civilization II. iii. 1090  Britain was ceasing to set the pace to her neighbours; she was beginning to show signs of flagging in the race.
1958   Engineering 4 Apr. 424/2  Do things before anyone else not wait to see what someone else does—set the pace and keep them hopping.

 e. Bowls, etc. (See quots.)

1888   F. T. Elworthy W. Somerset Word-bk.   At each round [sc. of skittles] the loser has to set—i.e. to fix the spot where the bowl shall be delivered in the next.
1897   Encycl. Sport I. 129/2  [article Bowls] A ‘mark’ is set, thrown, or led, by the winners of an end after the score has been settled.

 a. To allot or enjoin (a task). Const. dative of person or upon.In mod. use often pass. said of what is required to be done.

a1300   Cursor Mundi 29000  Crist..has he sett vs certain task quilk ar þai bones for to ask.
1693   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §127 (1699) 235  Set him such a Task, to be done in such a time, as may allow him no opportunity to be idle.
1821   Scott Kenilworth III. xii. 234  Repeating the words like a task which was set him.
1821   Baroness Bunsen in A. J. C. Hare Life & Lett. Baroness Bunsen (1879) I. 187  While I sit working or setting work.
1845   J. Pycroft Collegian's Guide 107,  I shall close my door another morning after the first five minutes, and then set impositions.
1847   F. Marryat Children of New Forest I. xiv. 265,  I shall not set him anything to do.
1884   Manch. Examiner 17 June 5/1  The master..was in the habit of setting lessons for the children to work upon at home after school hours.
1892   Standard 27 July 7/5  The Club were set 94 runs to win.
1892   Field 6 Feb. 188/1  We had our work set to keep up with hounds.

 b. Mining, etc. To appoint the amount of (work to be done).

1742   Defoe's Tour Great Brit. (ed. 3) I. 141   They appoint..the Quantity each Dredgerman shall take in a Day, which is usually called Setting the Stint.
1868   R. M. Ballantyne Deep Down xxviii,  The manager..read out the names, positions, etc., of the various ‘pitches’ that were to be ‘sett’ for the following month.
1880   D. C. Davies Treat. Metallif. Minerals & Mining 420  To set bargains or work to miners.
1900   Daily News 3 Dec. 10/3  Those other bargains which it was impracticable to ‘set’ on the 19th and 20th November will be ‘set’ as usual on the same day (December 5th).

 c. To propound (a question or set of questions) to be solved or answered; to prescribe (a book) for an examination or a course of study.

1711 [see α. forms].
1845   J. Pycroft Collegian's Guide 317  [It] enabled Williamson.. to answer two of the ethical questions with the ipsissima verba of two of the examiners who set them.
1889   E. Lynn Linton Thro' Long Night I. i. vii. 101  No mind-reader..could have solved the problem had it been set him.
1890   Jrnl. Educ. 1 June 297/2  He will henceforward set no papers either in Greek or in Latin verse.
1891   Murray's Mag. X. 743  Milton's ‘Areopagitica’ is set for examinations.
1895   Law Times 99 547/1  The intermediate examination is in special books set from time to time.

 a. To appoint (a meeting), make (an appointment). Also absol. Obs.

c1330   Arth. & Merl. 4702  Galathin & Gawainet To gider com, þer þai hadde set.
c1480  (▸a1400)    St. Mary of Egypt 1160 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 329   To þe kirk he come but let, quhare scho to hyme triste set.
1598   Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 1 i. ii. 106  Nowe shall we knowe if Gadshill haue set a match.
a1810   R. Tannahill Poems (1846) 19  They set their tryst where neist again to meet.

b. To appoint (a council, etc.) to be held. Obs.

1523   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. l. 30  Ther was a counsell set to be at Uyllenort.
a1578   R. Lindsay Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) I. 394  He sett ane parliament at Edinburgh to be haldin the tent day of Juin.

 a. To let on lease, lease, let. Also to set in feu, in feu ferm, in lease, in tack . Now local.

1422   in J. Raine Hist. & Antiq. N. Durham (1852) App. 104  For til haue Set & to ferme latty[n] to my der frende all my landis of Eddirham.
1426   in C. Rogers Chartul. Priory Coldstream (1879) 43  Be it kend..ws Wilȝame Drax..till haue set and to ferme lattyn al ye landis of Litill Swynton.
c1480   Oseney Reg. (Exch. MS.) 60 b,   Howses..the which, to whoome soo ever they will, they maye sett or lette.
1495   Rolls of Parl. VI. 465/1  Moche lesse Rent..then the said Lordshippes..myght resonably be sette for.
1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Surueyeng iii. f. 2v,  How moche euery acre is worthe to set by the yere.
1564   Reg. Privy Council Scotl. I. 304  He..hes.. set and disponit the few of the saidis landis owir his heid.
1600   P. Holland tr. Livy Rom. Hist. xxvii. 635  That these Censors should set and to ferme let the territorie of Capua.
1618   in Rec. Convent. Roy. Burghs Scot. (1878) III. 61  Thai..sall nather sell, dispone or sett in few or in tak anie of the saids lands.
1682   G. Vernon Life P. Heylyn 120  He removed his Study to Alresford, setting his House for no more than 3 l. a year.
1693   J. Dalrymple Inst. Law Scotl. (ed. 2) ii. xi. 347   All Tacks set by the Vassal without the Superiors Consent.
1710   Swift Jrnl. to Stella 26 Oct. (1948) I. 70,  I have had also a letter from Parvisol, with an account how my livings are set, and that they are fallen, since last year, sixty pounds.
1788   E. Burke Speech against W. Hastings in Wks. (1822) XIII. 233  By setting the rest to farmers at rents and under hopes, which could never be realized.
1790   J. Wolcot Compl. Epist. to Bruce in Wks. (1816) II. 163  A comely spot..; A lease-hold though..; Set..at a moderate rent.
1806   W. M. Morison Decisions Court of Session XXXIII. 14259  The magistrates and council did set in lease to certain persons a stell fishing.
1884   R. Hunt Brit. Mining 107  The custom of setting or leasing a mine on tribute.
1910   P. W. Joyce English as we speak it in Ireland 319  A struggling housekeeper failed to let her lodging, which a neighbour explained by: ‘Ah, she's no good at setting’.

b. intr. To take a (mining) lease. Cf. set n.1 3b. Obs.

1653   E. Manlove Liberties & Customes Lead-mines Derby 3  May set In any ground, and there Lead-oar may get.
1653   E. Manlove Liberties & Customes Lead-mines Derby 37  The Vulgar term, is setting for a Mine, For the grace of God, and what I there can find.
1653   E. Manlove Liberties & Customes Lead-mines Derby 41  Another Miner for a Crosse-vein sets.

 a. trans. To establish by agreement or authority (a settled condition, an alliance, a peace). Obs.

c900   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. iii. xviii. §1  Þa wilnode he þæt lif onhyrigan, þe he well gesæt geseah in Gallia rice.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 14988   Heo setten grið heo sette frið.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 25870  Þer has þi schrift sett end o pyne, Þat elles war wit-vten fine.
a1450   Le Morte Arth. 2331  A trews they sette and sekeryd thare.
1523   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. lii. 30 b,  The thyrde shulde set agrement bytwene them.
1535   T. Cromwell in R. B. Merriman Life & Lett. Cromwell (1902) I. 411  As ye can..sett a fynall ende therin.
1545   in I. S. Leadam Select Cases Court of Requests (1898) 175  To sett suche fynall ordre and determinacion therin as maye stand with our Lawes.
1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day in Wks. (1910) II. 352  Thynke not..that I came to set peace in the world.
1581   G. Pettie tr. S. Guazzo Ciuile Conuersat. (1586) i. 31  It is now high time to set an end to this discourse.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie i. ii. 2  Hauing sette an order in his householde affaires.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts ii. 27  Why do thy disciples violate and neglect this good order, set by our wise Elders in their repast?
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts i. 113,  I have in my first sentence set an order in these affaires.
1652   M. Nedham tr. J. Selden Of Dominion of Sea Ep. Ded. 14  You were readie to set an end to the present differences.

b. To settle (an affair). Obs.

1605   J. Stow Annales 1426  [Jas. I] called a councell to him, and taking order for setting all things in his Realme of Scotland, began his voyage towards England.
1619   Cushman in Bradford Plymouth Plant. (1856) 36,  I..could not effecte yt which I aimed at, neither can yet sett things as I wished.
 VI. To put in position, arrange, fix, adjust.
 * To fix or arrange in a required position or manner.

 59. To spread out (a net) to catch animals; to lay (a trap). †Also absol.For set a gin, snare, trap used phraseologically in a fig. sense, see the ns.

c825   Vesp. Ps. cxviii. 110  Setten synfulle gerene me.
a1000   in T. Wright & R. P. Wülcker Anglo-Saxon & Old Eng. Vocab. (1884) I. 92  Ic brede me max and sette hig on stowe gehæppre.
a1250   Owl & Nightingale 1057  Þe louerd.., Lym & grune & wel ihwat Sette & leyde þe for to lacche.
?a1366   Romaunt Rose 1620  His gynnes hath he [Love] sett withoute, Ryght for to cacche in his panters These damoysels & bachelers.
a1425  (▸c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Jer. v. 26   Fouleres settynge snaris and trappis.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/2  Go set for some connyes.
a1578   R. Lindsay Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) I. 56  As they had ben settand tinchellis for the murther of wyld beistes.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics i, in tr. Virgil Wks. 61  For stalking Cranes to set the guileful Snare.
1817   J. Mayer Sportsman's Direct. (ed. 2) 176   To have traps constantly set and baited.
1827   Act 7 & 8 Geo. IV c. 18 §1  If any Person shall set or place..any Spring Gun, Man Trap, or other Engine calculated to destroy human Life.
1842   Act 5 & 6 Vict. c. 106 §7  Every Person offending by setting or leaving set any such Net.
1889   A. Conan Doyle Micah Clarke iv. 26  We..proceeded to set our lines [for fishing].
1890   Good Words Aug. 549/1  The snare was set..outside the field.

 a. To put (a thing) in place; to fix up in the proper or required manner; †to erect (a tent, a mast); in early use often = to set up at Phrasal verbs 2.

1399   Langland Richard Redeles iii. 166  Kerving þe cloþe all to pecis, Þat seuene goode sowers..Moun not sett þe seemes ne sewe hem aȝeyn.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 1143  And þen trussis him to Tyre & þare his tentis settis.
1429–30   in H. Littlehales Medieval Rec. London City Church (1905) 73  For ijc latthes set..xvj d.
1533   J. Heywood Play of Wether sig. Ciiiv,  Except ye be perfyt in settynge your [mill]stones.
1603   Shuttleworths' Acc. (Chetham Soc.) 151   A mason, iiij days and halfe settinge the chimly pyppes.
a1647   P. Pett Life in Archaeologia (1796) 12 283  We reared our sheers to set our masts.
1669   R. Boyle Contin. New Exper. Physico-mech. (1682) ii. 187  Whilst I set the screw all things in the Receiver suffered a compression.
1720   D. Defoe Capt. Singleton 294  She lay to set her Mast.
1735   T. Dyche & W. Pardon New Gen. Eng. Dict.,  Set,..a Term used for turning a Crane round, so as to raise the Weight that is to be shipped from the Shore.
1765   B. Franklin Let. 4 June in Wks. (1887) III. 390  You mention nothing of the furnace. If that iron one is not set, let it alone till my return.
1830   P. Hedderwick Treat. Marine Archit. 280  Having the sheer adjusted and set fair on one side.
1863   G. A. Lawrence Border & Bastille iv,  The fore and hind wheels are nearly the same height, and set very close together.
1870   Inquiry, Yorksh. Deaf & Dumb 18  She has been occupied in setting cards to card wool with.
1883   Law Times Rep. 49 139/1  He [a slater] was to have 4s. a square, 2d. a foot for setting the ridge.
1890   J. S. Billings National Med. Dict. II. 498  The lancets are set and released simultaneously.
1891   Labour Commission Gloss.,  Setting trees, the placing of timber props to support the roof in a coal mine.

 b. = to set (a-)going at sense 114c.

c1500   T. More Wks.  iij,  A toppe can I set, and dryue it in his kynde.
1781   W. Cowper Let. 28 May (1979) I. 487  When the press is once set..[the printers] are rather impatient of any delay.
1819   Hayman Art of Brewing 16  When the tap is set, the liquor passes perpendicularly through the goods.
1832   D. Brewster Lett. Nat. Magic xi. 294  He can, by setting an engine, produce [etc.].

 61. To insert (a stitch). Phr. to set a stitch , to use needle and thread, to sew. Formerly †to set seams .

1683   W. Kennett tr. Erasmus Witt against Wisdom 94  For a poor Cobbler to set a stitch on the Sabbath day.
c1771   S. Foote Maid of Bath iii. 66,  I am almost resolved never to set another stitch for him as long as I live.
1856   C. M. Yonge Daisy Chain xxvii. 654  Bellairs..shed a tear for every stitch she set in the trousseau.
1862   C. M. Yonge Countess Kate xiv. 269  She has never let Lily wear a stitch but of her setting.

 62. Baking, Glass-making, etc. To put into the oven or furnace.

1483   Cath. Angl. 263/1  To set in Owen..jn fornacem ponere.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 714/1  At the settyng in to the oven folkes make syde loves.
1735   T. Dyche & W. Pardon New Gen. Eng. Dict.,  Set,..in particular used by Bakers, as putting their Bread, &c. into the Oven.
1839   A. Ure Dict. Arts 577  [article Glass-making] Before setting the pots in the furnace.
1845   P. Barlow in Encycl. Metrop. VIII. 459/1  The seggars, in setting-in the oven, are first placed in the spaces between the bags opposite the entrance.
1845   G. Dodd Textile Manuf. IV. 45  The withdrawal of an old pot and replacing it with a new one is called ‘setting a pot’.
1854   G. Read Biscuit Baker's Assist. (ed. 2) 15   An old practice of setting a suit of biscuits, called ‘chuck and shove’.
1885   Lock in Workshop Rec. 4th Ser. 171/1  Before commencing to ‘set’ the retorts.

 a. To fix (a stone or gem) in a surface of metal as an ornament; †formerly also on a garment (cf. set n.1 22). Also, to fashion (a design or pattern) in precious stones.

1501   in S. Tymms Wills & Inventories Bury St. Edmunds (1850) 91  A ryng of gold wt a toorkes set in.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 710/2,  I wyll set my rubye in fyne golde.
1598   Floure & Leafe in T. Speght Wks. G. Chaucer f. 366v/1,  Many a rich stone Was set on the purfiles.
1604   E. Grimeston tr. J. de Acosta Nat. & Morall Hist. Indies vi. xiv. 459  To cut, and set the stones in worke.
1611   Bible (A.V.) 1 Chron. xxix. 2   Onix stones, and stones to be set.
1612   Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 141   Vertue is a rich ston, best plaine set.
1710   R. Steele Tatler No. 245. ⁋2  A Crochet of 122 Diamonds, set strong and deep in Silver.
1737   S. Berington Mem. G. di Lucca 17  We found several Precious Stones, some Set, some Unset, of a very great Value.
1828   Mirror V. 15/2  Fine brilliants are always set open.
1890   W. C. Russell Ocean Trag. xxvii,  On the back..were his initials set in brilliants.
transf. and fig.
1600   Shakespeare Merchant of Venice ii. vii. 55  O sinful thought, neuer so rich a Iem was set in worse then gold.
1681   Dryden Spanish Fryar iv. ii. 58  And him too rich a Jewel to be set In vulgar metal, or for vulgar use.
1827   J. Keble Christian Year I. iv. 15  Each tender gem, Set in the figtree's polish'd stem.
1890   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 148 23/2  No vice could be odious when set in so much gold.

 b. transf. and fig. To place (a thing) in a certain setting; †to frame (a picture).

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/1  Now that my picture of the crucifix is set in bordes.
1713   J. Addison Spectator No. 328 2nd ed. v.  She..draws all her Relations Pictures in Miniature; [which]..must be..set by no body but Charles Mather.
1822   S. T. Coleridge Table-talk 29 Dec.,  A scrubby boy, with a shining face set in dirt.
1825   New Monthly Mag. 16 534  It is a dark and terrible picture richly set in a massive framework of old English manners.
1866   Trollope Belton Estate I. iii. 73  Large square windows set in stone.

 c. To fix (artificial teeth) on the plate.

1844   P. B. Goddard (title)    The anatomy..of the human teeth; with methods of treatment; including operations, and making and setting teeth.
1878   C. Hunter Mech. Dentistry viii. 100  The models..must now have wax plates made for them, and upon these the teeth are set.

 a. To put (a sail) up in position to catch the wind. Also said of a ship carrying (so much canvas).

a1300 [see to set to 2 at Phrasal verbs 2].
1627   J. Smith Sea Gram. ix. 41  Set your fore-saile.
1669   S. Sturmy Mariners Mag. i. ii. 16  Loose the Main-sail, and set him.
1799   Naval Chron. 1 377  Their..ships..set all their plain sails.
1805   in Ld. Nelson Dispatches & Lett. (1846) VII. 166 (note) ,   All our masts badly wounded and no sail fit to set.
1890   Chambers's Jrnl. 26 July 469/2  There was no more canvas on her to set.
1892   Eng. Illustr. Mag. X. 42  When under full sail this vessel sets 45,000 square feet of canvas.
1819   G. Crabbe Tales of Hall I. xi. 316  A daily guest the man appear'd, Set all his sail, and for his purpose steer'd.
1843   A. Bethune Sc. Peasant's Fire-side 15  Setting all the sail they could to catch the gale of admiration.

 b. phr. to set sail : to start on a sea voyage. Also †to set one's sails : to sail.

1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid v. xiii. 69  That salflie throw the se It may be lefull thai thare salis set.
1599   R. Bodenham in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigations (new ed.) II. i. 100   After the sayde dayes expired, I wayed & set saile for the Iland of Chio.
1615   G. Sandys Relation of Journey 227  On the sixt of June they were licensed to set sail.
1712   J. Addison Spectator No. 507. ¶6  When Pompey was desired not to set Sail in a Tempest that would hazard his Life.
1768   H. Brooke Fool of Quality III. xvi. 180  He reimbarked in the frigate, and directly set sail.
1890   T. F. Tout Hist. Eng. from 1689 118  Buonaparte set sail from Toulon.

 a. To put (a movable part of an instrument or piece of mechanism) in a certain position.

c1400  (▸1391)    Chaucer Treat. Astrolabe (Cambr. Dd.3.53) (1872) ii. §3. 17   Tho sette I the centre of this Alhabor vp-on 18 degrees among myn Almy-kanteras.
1639   E. Chilmead tr. R. Hues Learned Treat. Globes iv. xii,  The Globe being set to the latitude of the place.
1675   J. Smith Horol. Dialogues ii. 39  What hour soever you would have your Larrums to ring at, to that figure..set your Larrum hand.
1833   Encycl. Brit. VI. 800  A larger knob or button..sets the hand of the watch backward or forward as may be necessary.
1857   C. Hoare Wine & Spirit Merchant's Guide 49  Set the length on the slide to 18.79 on D.
1879   Man. Artill. Exerc. 116,  No. 1 having set his scale replaces it in the gun.
1879   Man. Artill. Exerc. 117  He first sets the tangent scale to the required deflection.
1883   R. H. Scott Elem. Meteorol. 68  Just before setting the vernier.

 b. Computing. To cause (a binary storage unit) to enter a prescribed state, spec. that representing 1. Also intr., to enter a prescribed state.

1948   Electronics Apr. 127/1  The initial values can be set into the computer without too much time lag.
1957   R. K. Richards Digital Computer Components & Circuits vi. 263  The real problem in devising a large-capacity storage system is not so much in the storage elements themselves as in providing means to gain access to any specified individual storage element for the purpose of sensing..or setting its status.
1968   Maley & Heilweil Introd. Digital Computers vi. 82  The latch is simply a circuit whose output can be set to 1, or reset to 0, and it will remain at either one of these two values until another set or reset operation changes its value.
1971   J. H. Smith Digital Logic i. 12  A binary divider is a modified toggle which has only one input. If electrical pulses are applied to this input the unit will ‘set’. The second pulse will ‘reset’ the circuit.

 66. Bell-ringing. To ring (a bell) up till it stands still in an inverted position, either balanced or held by the stay and the slider. Also intr. of the bell.

1671   Tintinnalogia 3  He is able to Set a Bell Fore-stroke and Back-stroke.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory iii. 462/2  Ringing in Set Changes, that is, the Bells being Set, they order which Bell shall lead away & what to follow.
[1788   W. Jones et al. Key to Art of Ringing (repr.) 9 (note) ,   As the first half-pull sets the bell up at back-stroke..; so the next half-pull brings her at hand or fore-stroke, which is the position we suppose her to have set off from.]
a1823   Campanologia in Encycl. Metrop. XV. 410  The first step he (the learner) makes in this art, is to learn perfectly to set a Bell, both back stroke and fore.
1860   E. B. Denison Clocks & Watches & Bells 420  A bell of about 52 cwt...which he and some other boys used to raise and set (i.e. ring till it stands mouth upwards).
1871   W. Wigram Change-ringing Disentangled 41  The learner should begin his practice on a bell when ‘set’.
1875   Haweis in Encycl. Brit. III. 539/1  The first half-pull ‘drops’ the bell, the second ‘sets’ it.

 a. To put (a liquid) in a vessel, at a certain temperature, strength, etc., ready to undergo a process; spec. in Cheese-making (see quot. 1861   and cf. to set together at Phrasal verbs 2).

1736   N. Bailey Dict. Domesticum at Cheese,  The milk must be set to turn in two different vessels.
1789   W. Marshall Rural Econ. Glocestershire I. 275  The evening's meal is set for cream; and, being skimmed in the morning, is added to the morning's meal.
1789   W. Marshall Rural Econ. Glocestershire I. 297  The heat of the milk when set 83½°.
1852   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 13 i. 37  The churn should be set at 58° or 60°.
1861   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 22 i. 50  The temperature of the milk when it is ‘set’ (that is, when the rennet is added).
1875   F. J. Bird Dyer's Hand-bk. 39  Run your cloth through a jigger, set with cutch at 4° Twaddle, temperature about 180° Fahr.
a1861   T. Woolner Wild Rose in My Beautiful Lady ii,  And sets a crimson rose to bleach.

 b. Baking and Brewing. To add barm or yeast to. to set the sponge : to leaven a mass of flour.

1743   W. Ellis Suppl. to London & Country Brewer (ed. 2) 329   This Servant..being obliged to set his Drink that Night.
1841   Guide to Trade, Baker 41  The..journeyman..is occupied in carrying out bread till about half-past four, when he sets the sponge.
1844   T. Webster Encycl. Domest. Econ. §4317  The sponge being thus set, cover the whole over with a cloth.
 ** To put in a certain order or arrange according to a plan.

 a. To compose, write (a treatise, book). Obs.

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. ii,  Ða lioð..ic sceal nu..mid swiþe ungeradum wordum gesettan.
a950   Prose Life Guthlac (1848) Prol.,  For ðisum þingum ic ðas boc sette.
c1000   Ælfric Homilies II. 576  Dauid ðurh ðone Halgan Gast ða sealmas sette.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 12  Þe uerste article ys þellich. ‘Ich beleue ine god þe uader almiȝti..’. Þis article zette saynte peter.
a1400   Launfal 4  Of a ley that was ysette, That hyght Launval.
?1473   Caxton in tr. R. Le Fèvre Recuyell Hist. Troye (1894) I. Pref. lf. 1v,  Whyche was in prose so well and compendiously sette and wreton.

b. Contextually: To translate. Obs. (Cf. to set out at Phrasal verbs 2, b.)

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. Proem,  Hwilum he sette word be worde, hwilum andgit of andgite.
c1425   Eng. Conq. Irel. 90  The forme of thay preuyleges..ne myght I nat comly setten yn Englyshe.
1601   W. T. tr. R. Nannini Civill Consid. 1st Ep. Ded.,  I attempted to set it out of French into our vulgar tongue.

c. To arrange (words) in speech; to phrase, give a particular turn to. Obs.

c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 3781   Geffrey set his wordis in such manere wise.
1484   Caxton tr. Subtyl Historyes & Fables Esope ii. xii,  Of a fewe wordes euyll sette cometh a grete noyse and daunger.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 714/2  Beware of hym, he can sette his wordes, I tell you.

d. Astrol. = cast v. 39.Obs.

1570   in Archaeologia XL. 391  Bedo..desyred this examynate to cast a fygure for certen monny that was hydden..and upon his importunat sute this examynate sett a fygure.

69. To settle or dispose of (land). Obs.

[971   Blickl. Hom. 79,  & þæt land gesetton swa hie sylfe woldon.]
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 12020   Arður hafde France and freoliche heo sette.
1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 7780  Þo he adde iset is londes.
c1330  (▸?a1300)    Sir Tristrem (1886) l. 903   Tvo ȝere he sett þat land, His lawes made he cri.

70. To settle the arrangement of (an army) for battle. to set a field: see field n.1 7a.Obs.

c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 13691   Ælc king of his folke ȝarkede ferde. Þa hit al was iset & ferden isemed.
1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 432  Brut ordeinede is ost, and sette hom wisliche.
c1420   Lydgate Assembly of Gods 634  The capyteyns..B[e]st to set hys felde and folow on the chase.
c1503   R. Arnold Chron. sig. Avv,  Ye duke of yorke set his felde at brent heth.
1562   P. Whitehorne Certain Waies Orderyng Souldiers f. 1 (heading) , in tr. Machiavelli Arte of Warre,   Certaine waies for the orderyng of Souldiours in battelray, & settyng of battailes.
1608   G. Chapman Conspiracie Duke of Byron v. H 4,  I am not hee that can set my Squadrons ouer-night [etc.].

 a. To make (a table) ready for a meal, spread (a table) with food, etc.

 b. To lay (a meal).

c1386   Chaucer Clerk's Tale 975  She gan the hous to dighte, And tables for to sette.
a1547   in Fosbrooke Econ. Mon. Life (1796) 84  The bordes was divers times set.
1575   W. Stevenson Gammer Gurtons Nedle ii. i. sig. Bii,  Was there none at home thy dinner for to set.
1700   Dryden tr. Ovid Baucis & Philemon in Fables 158  The good old Huswife tucking up her Gown, The Table sets.
1794   A. M. Bennett Ellen I. 21  He..declined partaking of the supper, which was setting on the table.
1861   Temple Bar 1 343  Go and set the tea.
1884   J. T. Trowbridge Farnell's Folly II. xxxvi. 101  You may as well set the table for two.
1890   Universal Rev. Aug. 580  A table is set with refreshments.

 c. To arrange the colours in the desired order on (a palette).

1847   Man. Oil-painting 126  To set a palette is to arrange the tints and colours in their due order for service.
1866   E. Yates Land at Last I. vii. 122  By the easel were a big palette already ‘set’, a colour-box, and a sheaf of brushes.

 72. Printing. To place (type) in the order in which it is to be printed from; to compose, set up (type); hence, to put (manuscript) into type. Also absol.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/2  Your worke must nedes go forwarde, for I have foure that do nothyng else but set upon it.
1535   G. Joye Apol. Tindale (Arb.) 20,   I correked but the false copye wherby and aftir whyche the printer dyd sette his boke.
1609   C. Tourneur Funerall Poeme 428  As practis'd printers sette and distribute Their letters.
1637   Decree Starre-Chamber conc. Printing xxiv. sig. G2v,  If any person..that is not allowed Printer..shall worke at any such Presse, or Set, or Compose any Letters to bee wrought by any such Presse.
1708   in T. Hearne Remarks & Coll. (O.H.S.) II. 126   The third sheet..is set.
1830   M. R. Mitford Our Village IV. 241  The proprietor of the county newspaper, who keeps the advertisement of this matchless villa constantly set.
1864   Daily Tel. 28 June,  Next, to the composing-room, where I find about seventy men at work ‘setting’ small scraps of copy before them.
1892   Leisure Hour Feb. 232/2  The type from which the journal is set.
1899   Tit-Bits 8 Apr. 36/2  A good compositor can set 12,000 letters a day.
1964   F. Bowers Bibliogr. & Textual Crit. vi. i. 161  The sole purpose of saving the printer the labour of setting from a difficult manuscript.

 a. To put (words) to (†in) music; to write (a musical composition) for certain voices or instruments. Also (less freq.) to put (music) to words, adapt (a melody) to, compose (a tune).

1502   in N. H. Nicolas Privy Purse Expenses Elizabeth of York (1830) 2  For setting an Anthem of oure lady and Saint Elizabeth.
1502   in N. H. Nicolas Privy Purse Expenses Elizabeth of York (1830) 83  Item to Cornishe for setting of a carralle upon Cristmas day.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. viij,  Exercisyng hym self dayly..in settyng of songes, makyng of ballettes, & did set .ii. goodly masses, euery of them fyue partes.
1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. ccxxxiij,  This Psalme..he made it also in metre, and set a note to it.
1600   T. Nashe Summers Last Will D 2,  He..setteth wanton songs vnto the Lute.
1607   G. Chapman Bussy d'Ambois v. 61  Consorts fit to sound forth harmony, Set to the fals of kingdomes.
1645   (title)    Poems of Mr. John Milton... The songs were set in Musick by Mr. Henry Lawes.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1661 (1955) III. 293  [It] plaied 9 or 10 Tunes on the bells very finely; some of them set in parts.
1693   N. Luttrell Diary in Brief Hist. Relation State Affairs (1857) III. 134  A fine consort of musick, wherein the word Maria was soe sett it took up halfe an hour in singing.
1762   G. Colman Musical Lady ii. i. 19  Sophy. And you really think it is set prettily... Mask. Delightfully!..and sung — O heavens!
1774   A. M. Storer in J. H. Jesse G. Selwyn & his Contemp. (1844) III. 77  An air set to the words of one of his own ballads.
1821   Shelley Song iv,  Let me set my mournful ditty To a merry measure.
1870   Tennyson Window Pref.,  Sullivan..had been very successful in setting such old songs as ‘Orpheus with his lute’.
1891   Sat. Rev. 14 Nov. 558/2  The poem is set for chorus and orchestra.
1965   Listener 3 June 836/2  One does not make music ‘colloquial’ by using it to set colloquial words.
1966   J. A. W. Bennett & G. V. Smithers Early M.E. Verse & Prose 108  The music to which it [sc. a lyric] is set clearly shows that the words were composed to fit the tune.
1970   Oxf. Compan. Music (ed. 10) 498/1   The tunes set to these hymns were partly adaptations of the ancient plainsong, partly arrangements of folk song and partly original.
1979   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 17 May 32/4  Byrd set this notorious poem to music, and the setting certainly did not escape notice.

 b. fig.

1789   H. L. Thrale Observ. Journey France I. 8  He sets his talk to a sounding tune.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas IV. x. x. 159  Get out of my sight, or I shall set your solfeggio in a crying key.
1862   J. Tyndall Mountaineering in 1861 xi. 92  Clothing the crags with splendour, and setting the wind to melody.
1879   J. Morley Burke x. 209  Burke's mind was not easily set to these tunes.

 c. intr. To be capable of being put to music; to go (well) to music.

1697   J. Lewis Mem. Duke of Glocester (1789) 82  He thought that they [the verses] would set very well to music.

 74. trans. Theatr. To make up (a scene) on the stage; to arrange (an item of the scenery) in a particular way. Also to set the stage (also fig., to prepare the way or conditions for (an event, etc.)).

1781   R. B. Sheridan Critic ii. i,  Sir, the scene is set, and everything is ready to begin.
1889   E. Lynn Linton Thro' Long Night II. ii. ii. 4  He wanted to see how he should be received when the stage was not set nor were the lamps trimmed for his reception.
1890   Harper's Mag. June 68/2  The palace of the Borgias was ‘set’ as a modern apothecary's shop.
1892   Illustr. London News 23 July 110/2  The time necessary for setting and changing scenes.
1937   Discovery June 175/1  Given suitable conditions, the stage is always set for the transformation.
1972   Review & Herald 7 Dec. 12/2  However, it is first necessary to ‘set the stage’.
1980   Sci. Amer. Jan. 122/1,  I can best set the stage for describing Morelli's instrument by reviewing the two basic types of spectroscope and spectrophotometer.
 *** To give a required shape or form to.

 a. To put an edge on (a cutting instrument, esp. a razor). Also to set the edge of . (Cf. sense 42.)In first quot. 1461   app. fig. phr. to set upon the hone , to sharpen (a person) up.

1461   M. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 271  As for Wylliam Wyrcestyr, he hathe be set so vp-on the hone, what by the parson and by othyr,..þat they hope he wole do well inow.
1553   J. Withals Shorte Dict. f. 39v/1,  A stone to whette or sette the rasure with.
1667   A. Wood Life & Times (1892) II. 122  Setting a razor, 2d.
1680   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises I. x. 192  It is afterwards Set upon a round Whet-stone.
1687   Dryden Hind & Panther iii. 111  You have ground the persecuting knife, And set it to a razor edge on life.
1749   T. Smollett tr. A. R. Le Sage Gil Blas I. ii. vii. 139  A case and two razors,..with a thong of leather to set them.
1816   Byron Parisina xv,  The headsman..Feels if the axe be sharp and true Since he set its edge anew.
1868   W. Bemrose Fret-cutting 10  In ‘setting’ the tools, apply a few drops of sweet oil to the Arkansas stone.
1892   Leisure Hour Apr. 387/1  Are my razors set yet?

 b. fig. phr. to be sharp or keen set : to be hungry or keen. (See also sharp-set adj.)

1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus ii. iii. sig. Mij,  My mynd is al redy in the platters or dishes .i. I am sharpe set.
1606   L. Bryskett Disc. Civill Life 94  Being fed temperatly, our mindes may be the sharper set to fall to those other dainties.
1728   E. Young Love of Fame: Universal Passion (ed. 2) ii. 120   As in smooth oil the razor best is whet, So wit is by politeness sharpest set.
1891   ‘L. Keith’ Halletts III. iv. 80  Her own appetite was keener set than usual.
1893   F. C. Selous Trav. S.-E. Afr. 22,  I knew she [a lioness] must be pretty keen set.

 a. To adjust (the teeth of a saw) by deflecting them alternately in opposite directions so as to produce a kerf of the required width. Also to set a saw .

1678   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises I. v. 94  Then with the Saw wrest..they set the Teeth of the Saw.
1806   J. Beresford Miseries Human Life I. iv. 84  Having your impatience soothed by the setting of a saw, close at your ear.
1845   P. Barlow in Encycl. Metrop. VIII. 382/1  In sawing valuable timber the teeth are not turned out so much (or as the workmen term it, set so rank) as for coarse cheap stuff.

 b. To adjust (the blade of a plane in relation to the sole) in order to vary the depth of cut.

1678   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises I. iv. 63  When you set the Iron of the Fore-Plain, consider the Stuff you are to work upon.
1857–9   E. L. Tarbuck Encycl. Pract. Carpentry & Joinery i. iii. 26  The projection of the plane iron may be very nicely regulated, or set, rank, or fine, that is projecting from the face in a greater or less degree.
1938   C. H. Hayward Carpentry Bk. i. 27  When a piece of wood with a difficult grain has to be planed, the back-iron is advanced and the plane set as fine as possible.

77. To tune (an instrument). Obs.

?1473   Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Recuyell Hist. Troye (1894) II. lf. 161v,  Orpheus setted & entuned his harpe.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 714/1,  I set in tune, as mynstrelles do their instrumentes of musyke.
1590   H. Barwick Breefe Disc. Weapons B 3,  I doubt not..we shall haue a Cornelius to set these instruments in better tune.

 78. †To tenter (cloth); to stretch (leather).

1473   in R. Arnold Chron. (c1503) f. xxvijv/1,   The fullyng teynteryng or settyng and sheryng of wullen cloth..teyntered sett and drawen out in lengenth & brede.
a1884   E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. Suppl. 797/1  To set a side of leather, it is spread upon the table when wet, and is smoothed out on it.
1897   C. T. Davis Manuf. Leather (ed. 2) 217   It is well to have a tub of water by the side of the stuffing table, and dip in each side to soften it before proceeding to set the same.

 79. To put (a broken or dislocated bone) in a position adapted to the restoration of the normal condition. Also intr. said of the bone.

1572   in J. Gage Hist. & Antiq. Hengrave (1822) 192  To Adkyns of Bury, surgon for setting of ij dogges legs.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. iv. sig. Q2v,  Gynecia..had her shoulder put out of ioinct; which though..it was set well againe [etc.].
1672   R. Wiseman Treat. Wounds ii. 71  It was doubted, whether the Bone was Set or not. A Bone Setter was sent for.
1709   R. Steele Tatler No. 41. ⁋7  The new Man has broke his Leg, which is so ill set, that he can never dance more.
1821   T. Jefferson Autobiogr. in Writ. (1892) I. 100  A dislocated wrist, unsuccessfully set.
1887   Encycl. Brit. XXII. 682/1  Accurate apposition is termed ‘setting the fracture’; this is best done by the extension of the limb and coaptation of the broken surfaces.
1891   Field 14 Nov. 761/2  Dogs' bones soon set.
a1591   H. Smith Serm. (1592) 430  Pride doth breake the peace, humilitie doth set it againe.
1647   N. Ward Simple Cobler Aggawam 65  When a kingdome is broken just in the neck joynt,..ropes and hatchets are not the kindliest instruments to set it.

80. To pleat (a ruff); to arrange the pleats of (a gown). Obs.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 710/2,  I set a gowne, I put the playtes of it in order... I can nat sette a gowne, I was never no taylour.
a1577   G. Gascoigne Grief of Joye ii. xxxxiv, in Wks. (1910) II. 534  They set their ruffes, thei ruffle up theire heare.
1597   Bp. J. Hall Virgidemiarum: 1st 3 Bks. iii. vii. 66  His linnen collar Labyrinthian-set.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues,  Godronner vne fraise, to set a ruffe.

a. To adjust (one's attire, the hair). Obs.

1303   R. Mannyng Handlyng Synne 3206  Be nat proud of þy croket Yn þe cherche to tyfe and set.
1694   Dryden Love Triumphant Ded. sig. A4,  Combing his Peruke, and setting his Cravat.
1695   W. Congreve Love for Love v. i. 76  He's at the great Glass in the Dining-Room..setting his Cravat and Wig.
1714   Pope Rape of Lock (new ed.) i. 9   These set the Head, and those divide the Hair.
[1722   R. Steele Conscious Lovers i. ii,  Such an Author consulted in a Morning, sets the Spirits for the Vicissitudes of the Day, better than the Glass does a Mans Person.]

 b. To arrange and fix (the hair) when damp so that it dries in the desired style; occas., to fix a hair-style by other means.

1926   Hairdressing 10 Sept. 241/1  This can only be done by superior work; namely, excellent setting of the finished permanent.
1932   Mod. Woman Feb. 72/1  A perfectly easy method of keeping your hair perfectly waved, set and curled at home.
1957   V. J. Kehoe Technique Film & Television Make-up xv. 214  Hair lacquer or spray..is used for setting the hair in place after it has been dressed.
1967   N. Freeling Strike Out 10  Ash~blonde hair cut fairly short and set every week in Leiden.
1976   C. Bermant Coming Home i. vii. 105  Her hair was always smartly set.

 82. Weaving. To fix the texture of (a fabric). In first quot.pass., of a tartan: To have a pattern of a certain kind (cf. set n.1 15b).

c1686   Depredations Clan Campbell (1816) 114  Item, ane new colored womans wearing plaid, most sett to boday red. Item, ane gray broken plaid, sett most to the green.
1839   A. Ure Dict. Arts 1056  A thorough knowledge of the adaptation of yarn of a proper degree of fineness to any given measure of reed... The art of performing this properly is known by the names of examining, setting, or sleying.
1891   Yorksh. Coll. Textile Soc. Jrnl. 1 129  By the sett of a fabric is meant the number of threads it contains in a given space. There are a great many things to be considered in setting any fabric.

 83. To arrange (a butterfly, etc.) as an entomological specimen. (Cf. to set up at Phrasal verbs 2.)

1868   Rep. U.S. Commissioner Agric. (1869) 317  In setting long-legged specimens, a square piece of stiff paper or card should be pushed upon the pins under the insect.
1892   Field 18 June 904/1  ‘Setting’ the insects, which means the spreading of specimens on blocks of cork or wood to dry.

 84. To give the requisite adjustment, alignment, or shape to (a mechanical contrivance, an instrument, etc.). (Cf. set n.1 33.)

1879   Cassell's Techn. Educator (new ed.) IV. 413/2   The rough-maker..smoothes off all the sharp edges and ‘sets’ them, i.e., bends them into graceful and uniform shape over a block.
1881   J. W. Burgess Coach-building 78  Setting axles is giving them the bend and slope required.
1886   Ld. Walsingham & R. Payne-Gallwey Shooting (Badm. Libr.) I. 70  The next process is to ‘set’ or straighten the barrel inside.
1898   H. R. Haggard Farmer's Year (1899) 222  Being able to ‘set’ a wheel better than anyone about here.
 **** To adjust according to a standard.

 a. To regulate, adjust by a standard; esp. to put (a clock, etc.) right.

c1400  (▸1391)    Chaucer Treat. Astrolabe (Cambr. Dd.3.53) (1872) ii. §3. 17   To haue sette Iustly a clokke.
a1642   J. Suckling Lett. Eminent Personages in Fragmenta Avrea (1646) 92  In Court, they..determine his [sc. the king's] good by his desires: which is a kind of setting the Sun by the Dial.
1665   R. Boyle Occas. Refl. iv. xv. sig. Ff8v,  A little Sun-Dyal, furnished with an excited Needle to direct how to Set it.
a1721   M. Prior Ess. Opinion in Wks. (1907) 196  Quare [a clock maker] does not set his Watch more actually than Mathar does his understanding.
1763   Philos. Trans. 1762 (Royal Soc.) 52 579   The 16th, at noon, I sat a pendulum-clock..to solar time.
a1777   S. Foote Nabob (1778) i. 21  To set his watch by Tompion's clock in the Hall.
1844   T. Hood Workhouse Clock 8  The Overseer of the Poor Is setting the Workhouse Clock.
1850   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 11 ii. 397  We watch vainly every cloud and in vain set our weather-glass.
1857   T. Hughes Tom Brown's School Days i. iv. 78  The Tally-ho [coach] was a tip-top goer..and so punctual, that all the road set their clocks by her.

 b. with immaterial obj.

1693   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §14 (1699) 19  The Seasoning and Cookery which by Custom they [sc. our palates] are set to.
1693   M. Prior To Charles Montague iii,  Pleas'd, when his Reason He deceives; And sets his Judgment by his Passion.
1718   M. Prior Alma i, in Poems Several Occasions (new ed.) 322   He..sets Men's Faith by His Opinions.

 86. To fix the amount of (a fine or other payment), put down at a certain amount.

c1420   in 26 Pol. Poems 76  And þou nylt ȝeue it [sc. love] me..; Sette pris to selle it.
1521   Maldon (Essex) Liber B. 57   Truly affur and sett al maner of mercyaments made.
1525   in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1846) 3rd Ser. II. 24  To set his raunsom at a somme of money reasonable.
1531–2   Act 23 Hen. VIII c. 7  To set the prices of all kinde of wynes.
1653   H. Cogan tr. F. M. Pinto Voy. & Adventures xx. 71  He payd for all that he bought at the price the sellers would set.
1692   J. Locke Some Considerations Lowering Interest 6  The Rate you set, profits not the Lenders, and very few of the Borrowers.
1692   J. Locke Some Considerations Lowering Interest 6  But that Law cannot keep men from taking more Use than you set.
1770   J. Langhorne & W. Langhorne tr. Cicero in Plutarch Lives ⁋13  Verres being thus condemned, Cicero set his fine at 750,000 drachmæ.
1980   M. Boddy Building Societies iv. 46  The composite rate [of tax paid by building societies] was set at 79·3 per cent of the basic rate (then 35 per cent), i.e. 27·75 per cent.
 VII. To place mentally; to suppose, estimate.

87. To posit, assume, suppose. Phr. set the case (see case n.1 Phrases 8), chiefly in imper. or pres. pple. as equivalent to a conj. = suppose, supposing.

a1340   R. Rolle Psalter xxii. 4  Gret vertu is in man when he dredis na ill þat may fall for he settis þe werst.
c1374   Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde ii. 367,  I sette þe worste þat ye dredden þis Men wolden wondren to se hym come or gon.
c1386   Chaucer Melibeus ⁋525  Yet sette I caas, ye have bothe might and licence for to venge yow.
c1440   Gesta Rom. (Harl.) iv. 10,   I sette cas, þat a thefe make an hole in a hous.
1532  (▸c1385)    Usk's Test. Loue in Wks. G. Chaucer i. f. cccxxxiiiiv,   I sette nowe the hardest.
1561   T. Hoby tr. B. Castiglione Courtyer (1577) iv. X ij,  Setting case therefore this be so.
1632   P. Holland tr. Xenophon Cyrupædia 129  Set case..that a man should make so much of those dogs which you keepe.
1659   J. Bunyan Doctr. Law & Grace Unfolded 340  Set the case that there be two men who make a covenant.
1726   G. Shelvocke tr. Imperial Comm. in Voy. round World Pref. p. x,  Setting the case I had not their interest at heart, yet it was for my interest to support theirs.

 a. To place mentally or conceptually in a certain category; †to regard as being (so-and-so); to consider (a thing) to reside in or to depend on (another); †to attribute to.

a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1872) IV. 81   Hircanus, for he was ȝong, was i-sette laste of þe wise men.
c1400  (▸?c1380)    Pearl l. 8   Quere-so-euer I Iugged gemmez gaye, I sette hyr sengely in synglure.
1423   Kingis Quair v,  This noble man, That in him-self the full recouer wan Off his Infortune, pouert, and distresse, And in tham set his verray sekernesse.
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 1278   Allas! þat evir a man shuld..Set[ten] al his wisdom, on his wyvis tayll!
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) xvii. 826   That wes mar To myrakill of god almychty; And to nocht ellis it set can I.
c1550   Complaynt Scotl. (1979) xvi. 111  Euerye man settis his felicite to distroy his nychtbour.
1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day in Wks. (1910) II. 240  He alwayes setteth his end in thinges which he must have.
1604   E. Grimeston tr. J. de Acosta Nat. & Morall Hist. Indies i. xiv. 46  They set Tharsis in Affrike, saying, it was the same Citie which was anciently called Carthage.
1685   E. Stillingfleet Origines Britannicæ iv. 209  The want of skill may make Caradoc set his Gildas elder than he ought to have done.
1870   J. E. T. Rogers Hist. Gleanings 2nd Ser. 21  Tradition sets Wiklif's birth in the year 1324.

 b. To place (a person or thing) before or after another in estimation. Now poet.

c1383   in Eng. Hist. Rev. Oct. (1911) 747  Religiouse possessioneris..shulden sette before [L. preferrent] þe comaundementis of god.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 99   Þat þe manere and þe usage of al holy chirche of Grees, of Italy, of Rome, of Gallia, and of Fraunce, schulde be i-sette to~fȯre þe manere and custom..of a corner of þe worlde.
c1400   Rule St. Benet (Verse) 2475  So þat þai set non erthly þing Be-for þe luf of crist.
1639   E. Chilmead tr. R. Hues Learned Treat. Globes Pref. sig. B8v,  Those Globes..may justly bee preferred before all other that have beene set forth before them.
1648   Milton To H. Lawes in H. Lawes Choice Psalmes sig. av,  Dantè shall give Fame leave to set thee higher Then his Casella.
1671   Milton Samson Agonistes 1375  Venturing to displease God for the fear of Man, and Man prefer, Set God behind.
1734   Pope Epist. to Visct. Cobham 6  And always set the Gem above the Flow'r.

 a. To fix the value of (a thing) at so much. Obs. or arch.Cf. the reverse construction in sense 43.

c1460   J. Fortescue Governance of Eng. (1885) x. 131  That [sc. salt] is now sett to so grete prise, þat the bushell, wich the kyng bieth ffor iijd or iiijd, is solde to his peple ffor ijs and a jd.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 712/1,  I sette my horse at foure pounde..How moche set you his plate at?
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie iv. xxvi. 145  [The women] beyng once set at a price none could marry them, except they first payde the pryce.
1616   R. Cocks Diary (1883) I. 104  Yf the Hollanders set pepper at that rate, they sell other comodetis at a hier.
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary i. 34  At the times of the faires, Coaches are set dearer then any time els.
1692   R. L'Estrange Fables clxx. 142  Well..and what's the Price of that Juno there? The Carver set That a little Higher.
1713   Pope Corr. 8 Dec. (1956) I. 200,  I cannot set his Delivery from Purgatory at less than Fifty Pounds sterling.
1597   Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet v. iii. 300  There shall no statue of such price be set, As that of Romeos loued Iuliet.
1604   Shakespeare Hamlet i. iii. 122  Set your intreatments at a higher rate Then a commaund to parle.
1649   Εἰκων Βασιλικη xvii. 170  Setting Peace at as high a rate, as the worst effects of War.

 b. Hence in idiomatic phr. connoting disesteem or depreciation: to set at naught or nought (see nought pron. 5), to set at little , to set at the least , to set at nothing ; to set at a pease, at a pie's heel, at a pin's fee ; to set at no price, store or value .

1303   R. Mannyng Handlyng Synne 3013  And he þat ys vnbuxum al Aȝens hys fadyr spiritual, And setteþ hym ryȝt at þe leste.
1303   R. Mannyng Handlyng Synne 7774  Þe mayster fend..sette at noȝt þat he hadde tolde.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B vi. 171  Lete liȝte of þe lawe..And sette Pieres at a pees.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B vii. 194,  I sette ȝoure patentes..at one pies hele!
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) (1959) Gen. xxv. 34   Esau swere,..& ȝede forþ, setting att nouȝt þat he hadde ysolde þe riȝtez of his firste getyng.
c1385   Chaucer Legend Good Women 602  Al the worlde he sette at noo value.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Fairf. 14) 14459   Alle þat.. þe iewes sette atte noȝt.
1413   in 26 Pol. Poems 51  Þouȝ all here gold were hider brouȝt, I wolde set hit at lytel store.
?a1425   Mandeville's Trav. (Roxb.) xxxii. 144  All erthely thingez þai sette at noȝt.
c1450   tr. Thomas à Kempis De Imitatione Christi iii. xi,  To sette all þinges at no price for þe.
1488   Rolls of Parl. VI. 413/2  Unreverently sette theym at litill or nought.
a1500   R. Rolle Psalter ix. 33  Halymen sall be despisid than and sett att noght.
1534   R. Whittington tr. Cicero Thre Bks. Tullyes Offyces iii. sig. T.6,  What shal I say of them that setteth all honest & iust thinges at nauȝt?
1568   Ballad against Evil Women in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS (1930) IV. 32  That settis at nocht god Nor manis blame.
a1599   Spenser Canto Mutabilitie vi. xliv, in Faerie Queene (1609) sig. Hh6,  Shee had..Long lov'd the Fanchin, who by nought did set her.
1603   Shakespeare Hamlet i. iv. 46,  I do not set my life at a pinnes fee.
1637   Milton Comus 444  The huntress Dian..set at nought The frivolous bolt of Cupid.
1649   Earl of Monmouth tr. J. F. Senault Use of Passions 203  He then sets at nothing what he so much esteemed.
a1720   W. Sewel Hist. Quakers (1795) I. iv. 247  The protector..would have given him audience, had not others set him at nought.
1850   J. B. Marsden Hist. Early Puritans (1853) 40  Had she not set at nought the wishes of such men as Jewel, Grindal, Horn, and Parker.
1874   W. Stubbs Constit. Hist. I. viii. 238  Canonical custom is set at naught.
1895   S. Tyler Kincaid's Widow xii,  She was set at nocht and sair hadden down, puir creature.

c. to set light, at light (see light adj.1 13d), to set lightly, coldly . (Cf. 91e, 18f.)

1604   Shakespeare Hamlet iv. iii. 64  Thou mayst not coldly set Our soueraigne processe.
1652   M. Nedham tr. J. Selden Of Dominion of Sea 149  Wee'll not disgrace your Realm, nor lightly set Your Fame.
1718   F. Hutchinson Witchcraft vii. 104  He set them light [1720 set them at light].

 d. To estimate the amount of at so much.

1863   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 24 i. 21  The yearly increase..is set at about 8s. per acre.
1866   J. E. T. Rogers Hist. Agric. & Prices I. xxiii. 599  We cannot set the increase at less than 100 per cent.

 90. To assess (a person) at so much. Obs. or arch.

1521   Maldon (Essex) Liber B. 57   Set every man after the quantyte of the trespace.
c1537   in I. S. Leadam Select Cases Court of Requests (1898) 47  Like as all other brethern of the seid felaweship were and be set at.
1538   T. Elyot Dict. Addicion,  Duicensus, he that is sette with an other to pay money for a taxe.
1557   in Marwick Edinb. Guilds (1909) 89  Prouyding always thai pay the sowmes to the quhilk thai were sett.
1607   in W. H. Hale Prec. in Causes of Office (1841) 9  And so shall sett every parishoner proportionably.
1611   Bible (A.V.) 2 Kings xii. 4   The money that every man is set at.
1831   Macaulay Hampden in Ess. (1843) I. 453  The sheriff was blamed for setting so wealthy a man at so low a rate.
 91. To have (a certain estimate) of a person or thing: in idiomatic phrases expressing high or low regard, great or little esteem, for a person or thing.Here the construction is the reverse of that of 93b.

 a. to set (so) little (or †lite), (so) much (or mickle, a great deal), less, least, more, most by . Obs. exc. arch. or dial.Originally substantival or pronominal, little, much, etc. were capable of being taken as adverbial; whence the substitution of adverbs of equivalent meaning (see 18f).

a1300   Cursor M. 26997  Litel he sette be his life.
c1374   Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde ii. 432,  I se ful wel þat ye sette lite of vs Or of oure deth.
c1380   Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 109  Þey sette more by here lawes..þan þey dude by þe lawe þat God ȝaf to hem.
c1380   Antecrist in Todd Three Treat. Wyclif (1851) 151  And more þei shal be sett by and wurshiped.
14..   Why I can't be a Nun 220 in Early Eng. Poems & Lives Saints (1862) 144  But alle..set not by her nether most ne lest.
c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Law of Armys (2005) 32   Tynsale of the body..that is lytill to sett by.
1545   R. Ascham Toxophilus i. f. 31v,  Howe moche the Persians..set by shotinge.
1627   M. Drayton Battaile Agincovrt 4  What set that Conqueror, by their Salique Lawes.
1665   S. Pepys Diary 9 Mar. (1972) VI. 53  He did..give me one of Lillys grammer..which I shall much set by.
1690   C. Ness Compl. Hist. & Myst. Old & New Test. I. 23  A pretious soul was no more set-by by them.
1740   S. Richardson Pamela II. 173  He was sure I should set more by it, than the richest Diamond in the World.
1785   B. Tupper in J. Sparks Corr. Amer. Revol. (1853) IV. 118  A visit, which I shall set more by than the interest I possess in Massachusetts.
1845   S. Judd Margaret ii. i. 208  God knows how hard it is to help setting a good deal by one's children.
1894   Advance (Chicago) 5 Apr.,   A man much set-by.

b. to set naught or nought (nothing, not anything) by : to have no esteem or regard for. Obs.

c1375   Cursor M. (Fairf.) 23860   In hert to halde hit as a horde & noȝt to sette be goddis worde [Cott. Quen noght es mad o crists word].
1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis III. 348  Bot noght forthi Mi will hath nothing set therby.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur viii. xxxviii. 331  By the myghty lord of this yle he setteth nought by.
1484   Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower (1971) l. 73  Mocked & scorned & nought set by.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) John iv. 44   A prophet is nothinge set by at home.
1549   M. Coverdale et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Heb. xii. 1–6  By despisyng and settyng naught by worldly reproche.
1598   R. Grenewey tr. Tacitus Annales i. v. 8  The souldyers..set nought by all military discipline.
a1616   Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) v. i. 189,  I thinke you set nothing by a bloody Coxecombe.
c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Law of Armys (2005) 7   And suppos jt be sum part subtile to vnderstand, settis nocht by.

 c. By substitution of not for nought, and by extension of the idiom to negative expressions generally, set by came to be equivalent to ‘esteem, regard’, and, by elimination of the negative, to ‘esteem or value highly, think or make much of’. Obs. exc. arch. or dial.Formerly to set not by sometimes = to have no scruples about.

1393   Langland Piers Plowman C. x. 302  Men setten nat by songewarie.
a1400   Minor Poems fr. Vernon MS. 692/10  Now is þe selue I-set not by.
c1400   Rule St. Benet (Verse) 459  Þai wil set bi no man saw.
c1426   J. Audelay Poems (1931) 2  Avowtre ne lechory men set not by.
1467   M. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 335  Thei set not be a woman as thei shuld set be a man.
a1500  (▸?a1400)    Sir Torrent of Portyngale (1887) l. 1152   The kyng of Aragon sett her bye.
?a1500   R. Henryson tr. Æsop Fables: Fox, Wolf, & Cadger l. 2006 in Poems (1981) 77  To beir ȝour office than wald I not set by.
?a1513   W. Dunbar Flyting in Poems (1998) 208  Quhat man settis by the?
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid xi. iv. 98  Onlesum war syk plesour I set by.
1561   T. Hoby tr. B. Castiglione Courtyer i. sig. Hijv,  They do not onelye not sett by letters, but they rather abhorre them.
a1659   R. Brownrig 65 Serm. (1674) I. iv. 57  Men set by good servants.
a1661   T. Fuller Worthies (1662) Northampt. 291  Set by and extolled.
1664   S. Pepys Diary 20 Jan. (1971) V. 20  Mr Pierce..tells me that my Lady Castlemaine is not at all set by by the King.
1848   J. R. Lowell Biglow Papers 1st Ser. ix. 135  Wite folks aint sot by half ez much.

 d. to set (no, more, etc.) store or †price by : see price n. 4a, store n.

e. to set light by see light adj.1 13d. Also to set short by . Obs.

1377   Langland Piers Plowman B. xi. 2  Scripture scorned me..and liȝte by me she sette.
1377   Langland Piers Plowman B. xii. 124  No clergie to dispise, Ne sette schort be here science.
c1460   Wisdom 927 in Macro Plays 66  Why werkyst þou hys consell? by myn settis lyght?
1565   T. Stapleton Fortresse of Faith f. 129,  Such smal matters were not of good Christians light sett by.
1594   T. Bowes tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. II. 132  We ought not to set light by that knowledge of it [sc. the soul] which wee may attaine vnto.
1633   S. Marmion Fine Compan. iii. v. F 3,  She set as light by me, as by the least feather in her Fanne.
1771   J. Wesley Wks. (1872) V. 317  It is no other than betraying him..to set light by any part of his law.
1816   Scott Old Mortality x, in Tales of my Landlord 1st Ser. IV. 226,  I am a fool..to set light by that which Heaven has so often preserved.

f. to set greatly, littly, lightly, so, etc. by . Obs.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/1  The man is hyghely sette by in our countraye.
1537   tr. Original & Sprynge all Sectes 28  Hitherto haue they ben in estimacion & greatly set by.
1577   T. Kendall tr. Politianus et al. Flowers of Epigrammes f. 30,  No man that setts so by hym self, can please the Lorde a right.
1612   T. Taylor Αρχὴν Ἁπάντων: Comm. Epist. Paul to Titus To Rdr.,  Things lightly come by are lightly set by.
1729   Bp. J. Butler Serm. xv. (1862) 209  That in all lowliness of mind we set lightly by ourselves.
1809–10   S. T. Coleridge Friend (1818) I. 104  To set lightly by the emancipation of the human reason.

 g. In negative context, with a n. as obj. connoting a negligible or contemptible quantity. to set not a cherry, curse, a fly, a haw, a mite, an onion, (etc.) at, by, of : see also the ns.

c1374   Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde iii. 900,  I nolde setten at his sorwe a myte.
c1405  (▸c1390)    Chaucer Miller's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 568   Of peramours he sette noght a kers.
1406   T. Hoccleve La Male Regle 380  For by hem two, he settith nat an hawe.
1490   Caxton tr. Foure Sonnes of Aymon (1885) xix. 442,  I shall not sette a rotyn appull for all the power of Charlemagne.
?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) 86  Lat ws..sett nocht by this warld a chirry.
a1525   Vergilius in W. J. Thoms Early Eng. Prose Romances (1858) (Rtldg.) 223  The roffyans set nat a poynt.
c1570   W. Wager Longer thou Livest (Brandl) 1691  By honest men he setteth not an Oynion.

 h. In various constructions, with preps. other than by.to set little, more, nought, not, of ; to set a (great, little) price, rate, store upon ; to set no price, littly at ; †to set light of, before ; †to set little, nought to ; etc.

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis II. 211,  I sette noght of his beyete.
1422   J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. ix. 139  Men that lytill bethe sette of.
1422   J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. xix. 146  Men sholde sette lytillie at this goodis.
c1450  (▸c1400)    Sowdon of Babylon (1881) l. 1717   Set not of youre Barons so light.
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 1386   Sith he, of my wordis, so litil prise set.
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 2838   To save hir lyvis, & set nat of hir los.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur v. ii. 162  Of his demaunde and commaundement I sette nothyng.
1481   Myrrour of Worlde (Caxton) i. v. 18   They setted not of mete and drynke.
1532  (▸c1385)    Usk's Test. Loue in Wks. G. Chaucer i. f. cccxxvi,   How shulde ye lady sette prise on so foule fylthe?
1589   G. Puttenham Arte Eng. Poesie iii. xix. 194  We set but light of the matter.
1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World II. xxxiii. xii. 483  Disdaining and setting light by any other bathing-vessels.
1612   Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 126   Doe you not see what fained prices are set vpon little stones, and rarities.
1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. Ep. Ded. sig. A 3v,  What a high Value was set upon the Widdowes Mite.
a1642   J. Suckling Brennoralt (1646) iii. i. 34  The world does set great rates upon you.
1642   J. Eaton Honey-combe Free Justific. 240  Thereby the words of the Scripture may be extenuated and set light of.
1651   T. Hobbes Leviathan i. x. 42  By comparison to the rate that each man setteth on himselfe.
1688   Lett. conc. Pres. St. Italy 79  Nor would it have been set on so much by their Holy Patriarchs.
1819   Scott Ivanhoe II. xvi. 316  Where be these dog-priests now,..who set such price on their ghostly mummery?
1861   Ld. Brougham Brit. Constit. xx. 396  The grounds upon which so great store has ever been set upon colonial possessions.
1875   H. E. Manning Internal Mission of Holy Ghost iv. 105  They are continually showing that they set small price on the Eternal God.
1891   F. W. Robinson Her Love & his Life III. vii. iv. 262  He did not set any value on his own life.

i. To care (so much) for. Also intr. (Not) to care for. Obs.

c1374   Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde iii. 832  Yf to lose his Ioye he set a myte Than semeth it þat Ioye is worth but lyte.
c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Law of Armys (2005) 219   Ane vnworthy lymmare, yat settis nocht for honour bot for pillery.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 5002   Yf þou set noght our saghe.
 VIII. To put or come into a settled or rigid position or state.

 a. pass. To be resolved or determined; to have a settled purpose. Chiefly const. inf. Now usu. in sense ‘likely, about (to)’. Also (Journalistic) const. for followed by n.

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 17332   Mi-self es sett to wrek þe wrang.
a1475   Liber Cocorum (Sloane) (1862) 42   Þerfore to telle you I am set,..what herbȝ..Ben gode to potage.
c1480  (▸a1400)    St. Vincent 403 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 270   [S. Vincent] til ples god wes mar sete, þane ocht þat wes in þe markete.
1488  (▸c1478)    Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) iii. l. 324   Thai ar set till wndo all thi kyn.
1525   Abp. Warham in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1846) 3rd Ser. II. 10  Seeing almoste al the people obstinatly sett not to graunte to the request.
1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus i. iii. sig. Fivv,  I am at a poynte, or my mynde is fully sette.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) iii. v. sig. Ll5v,  But my hart is already set.. to lead a virgins life to my death.
a1641   R. Montagu Acts & Monuments (1642) 256  She was wayward, disdainful, and set to contradict.
1757   in J. Russell Haigs of Bemersyde (1881) xii. 359  All your neighbours are sett to be upon you.
1827   J. Keble Christian Year I. i. 2  If on our daily course our mind Be set to hallow all we find.
1890   Harper's Mag. Aug. 407/2  Mamma was completely set in her own mind that we must go to the south.
1976   Daily Tel. 30 Nov. 1/6  Electricity prices are set to go up again on New Year's Day.
1978   Sunday Tel. 10 Dec. 1 (heading)    Callaghan set for showdown with Benn.
1979   Daily Tel. 28 Feb. 2/6  The Inner City partnerships outside London seem set for increases above the average.
1982   Times 16 Oct. 9/6  The armchair moralists of Academe..are now set to carp about the sinking of the Belgrano.

b. intr. To resolve. Obs.

1638   Earl of Manchester in Buccleuch MSS (Hist. MSS Comm.) (1899) I. 280   The King hath set to be at Hinchenbrook to bed the 27th of March.
1674   N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 161  Could not God then make the world, when he set with himself that he would do it?

 c. trans. To make (a resolution). rare.

1771   J. Wesley Wks. (1872) V. 100  If he does but once set a resolution.

 a. pass. To have one's mind or will fixed upon something.

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 301  He was upon pacience So sett.
c1400   Balade of Pite 100,  I am sette on yowe in suche manere Þat..I moste you loue.
c1400   Rom. Rose 4829  They are so sette Vpon delite to pley in feere.
1611   J. Speed Hist. Great Brit. ix. xviii. 698/1  If she be..so obstinate, and so precisely set vpon her owne will.
1671   Milton Samson Agonistes 1201  When I perceiv'd all set on enmity.
1740   S. Richardson Pamela I. xxx. 110,  I am so set upon it, that I am not to be persuaded.
1890   Universal Rev. Mar. 457  Cap'n Prust's as set as never was on little Dot.
1893   Chambers's Jrnl. 28 Jan. 58/2  Isabell is always set on the news.

b. To have a specified disposition or inclination to be (so) disposed. Obs.

1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur x. lxxxviii. 570  Whanne syre launcelot wyste how his kynnesmen were sette.
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid ii. ix. 58  Bot he..was nocht to Priame sa hard set.
?1518   Cocke Lorelles Bote sig. B.i,  She is as softe as a lamme yf one do her meue And lyke to ye deuyll wan a man dothe her greue So well is she sette.
c1650   J. Spalding Memorialls Trubles Scotl. & Eng. (1850) I. 148  The commissioneris told how the Marques and brughe of Abirdene wes peciablie set.
a1715   Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 598  Were he ever so wickedly set.

 c. Psychol. To predispose (a person or other organism) to a given response; usu. pass. Also intr. for pass. Cf. set n.1 12.

1909   Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. 20 569  The psychophysical organism ‘sets’ to meet an imminent situation; and on the conscious side, this ‘set’ is expectation.
1938   Mind 47 88  An observer in an experiment is said to be set towards an aspect of a situation if he is directed to it by the instructions.
1961   Lindgren & Byrne Psychol. vi. 143/2  Alterations in our familiar surroundings are often missed because we are ‘set’ to perceive certain stimuli.

 a. to set one's or the face (countenance) : to give a fixed or settled expression to the countenance.to set a face : to make it appear (as though..). to set one's face as a flint , after Isaiah l. 7.

1560   Bible (Geneva) Isa. l. 7   Therefore haue I set my face like a flint.
1564–5   Buggbears i. ii. 154  Formosus set a face as thoughe he knew wher to find a cunnyng mane.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. xxiv. sig. Ee4,  When she set her countenaunce to tell the matter.
a1627   T. Middleton et al. Widdow (1652) v. i. 59  Set your countenance then; for here he comes.
1635   T. Cranley Amanda 9  She would..sometimes set her countenance as if shee had bin angry.
1719   T. D'Urfey Wit & Mirth I. 353  Set thy Face, and thy best Curchy make.
1855   Tennyson Maud i. viii, in Maud & Other Poems 5,  I..May make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint.

 b. pass. and intr. (and refl.) Of the eyes, the features, the countenance: To have or assume a fixed look or expression.

1611   Bible (A.V.) 1 Kings xiv. 4   But Ahiiah could not see, for his eyes were set by reason of his age.
a1616   Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) v. i. 197  O he's drunke..an houre agone: his eyes were set at eight i' the morning.
1717   S. Garth in Dryden et al. tr. Ovid Metamorphoses xiv. 504  Set are her Eyes, and motionless her Limbs.
1861   ‘G. Eliot’ Silas Marner i. 8  He saw that Marner's eyes were set like a dead man's.
1865   A. C. Swinburne Chastelard v. iii. 214  His face set, The eyes not curious to the right or left And reading in a book.
1880   C. E. L. Riddell Myst. Palace Gardens ix,  The lines in his face set and hardened.
1881   P. Greg Ivy III. iii. 68  Her face sets as it used against your mother.
1884   ‘Rita’ My Lord Conceit I. i. v. 72  A face set in stern, rigid lines.
1888   G. Gissing Life's Morning III. xxii. 210  Her features had set themselves in sorrow.
1898   G. B. Shaw You never can tell iv. (stage direct.)    His face set and sulky.

 a. To press (the teeth, lips) together into a rigid position; to clench (the teeth), compress (the lips, mouth).Phr. to set one's teeth : see tooth n.

1602   J. Marston Antonios Reuenge v. iii. sig. I3v,  Another frets, and sets his grinding teeth.
1702   C. Mather Magnalia Christi vi. vii. 73/1  They were sometimes hindred from eating their Meals, by having their Teeth set.
1853   C. Kingsley Hypatia II. ix. 225  The old woman set her lips firmly, and drew her dagger.
1860   G. J. Whyte-Melville Market Harborough xxii,  ‘I think not!’ replied Mr. Sawyer, setting his teeth for a catastrophe.
1867   ‘Ouida’ Cecil Castlemaine's Gage 263  His mouth sternly set, and his forehead paler and more severe than ever.
1886   R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped xxii. 219  Each set his mouth and kept his eyes in front of him.

 b. refl. and intr. Of the mouth, or the teeth.

1626   Bacon Sylua Syluarum §714  [This] maketh the teeth to set hard one against another.
1719   D. Defoe Life Robinson Crusoe 233  My Teeth..wou'd..set against one another so strong, that for some time I cou'd not part them again.
1883   M. E. Mann Parish of Hilby xix,  Helen's mouth set itself firmly as she thought of it.

 c. pass. and intr. Of muscles, or the like: To have or assume a rigid attitude or state. Also spec. of an athlete poised to start a race. In wider use: to be prepared for action; to be ready (to do something). Freq. in phr. (to be) all set . Cf. (get) on your mark(s) at mark n.1 32b.

1844   J. Gregg Commerce of Prairies I. 51  Each teamster vies with his fellow..and it is a matter of boastful pride to be the first to cry out—‘All's set!’
1851   H. Stephens Bk. of Farm (ed. 2) II. 174/2   The hams should not be too full of flesh, lyary, which in a young animal indicates that the carcass will soon set from growing.
1862   J. Tyndall Mountaineering in 1861 vi. 53  The muscles have become set, and some minutes are necessary to render them again elastic.
1868   Rep. U.S. Commissioner Agric. (1869) 313  Butterflies generally set in one or two weeks.
1882   W. A. Baillie-Grohman Camps in Rockies i. 3  ‘All set!’ echoes from each of the horsemen in front.
1893   Outing 22 154/1  At the words ‘Get set!’ the arms are raised, the knees slightly bent, and..the starter braces his legs apart.
1913   S. A. Mussabini Compl. Athletic Trainer 196  The old-fashioned stand-up position enabled the runners to keep ‘set’ on their marks for a very much longer time than the present-day straining ‘crouch’ will let them do.
1930   Amer. Speech 6 120  Set for big bout.
1935   Encycl. Sports 580/1  At the words ‘Get set’ you should let the weight come forward on to the finger tips and the leading foot, raising the left knee but lowering the back and head.
1949   N. Marsh Swing, Brother, Swing v. 84  All set, boys? Let's go.
1956   A. H. Compton Atomic Quest iii. 162  The du Pont Company was getting set to build the plutonium production plant.
1957   S. Duncan & K. Bone Oxf. Pocket Bk. Athletic Training (ed. 2) v. 62   On the command ‘set’ the body rises up smoothly with the body-weight on the hands and front foot.
1962   J. Heller Catch-22 vi. 51  Just when I was all set to really start stashing it away, they had to manufacture fascism and start a war.
1979   Daily Tel. 26 Feb. 21/4  National Westminster is set to produce full year figures tomorrow.

 d. intr. To become bent or twisted as a result of strain. (Cf. set n.1 16.)

1798   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 88 485   If a wire is twisted only a little more than its elasticity admits of, then, instead of setting, as it is called, or acquiring a permanent twist all at once, it sets gradually.
c1865   J. Wylde Circle of Sci. I. 404/1  The scales will have a tendency to ‘set’ when over~loaded.

e. trans. To stick up, cock. Obs. rare.

1708   London Gaz. No. 4428/16,  Stollen.., a Bay Nag..sets his Head and Tail.
 96. Dyeing.

 a. To prepare (woad) for dyeing.

1529   Cov. Leet Bk. 697  To occupie the Craft of dying and settyng of wadd.
1590   W. West Symbolæogr. §82  Euery set of the same woad shall make, when it is set and prooued, fower pound sterling.
1811   Self Instructor 535  Wood-wax..is set with pot ashes.

 b. To make (a colour) fast or permanent.

1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World II. xxii. ii. 115  To set all other colours that can bee devised, with the juice onely of certaine hearbs.
1882   Crookes Dyeing 15  The brown colouring matter of the flax instead of being removed is fastened, or as it is technically called, ‘set’.

 a. To cause to become firm, hard, or rigid in consistency; to curdle, coagulate (milk, etc.).

1736   N. Bailey Dict. Domesticum at Cheese,  While this rennet is fresh, one spoonful of the liquor will turn or set about 16, 18 or 20 gallons of milk.
1736   N. Bailey Dict. Domesticum at Cheese,  When you would turn or set milk for cheese.
1784   J. Twamley Dairying Exemplified 102  Boiling Water..will set the Curd in some degree, and fix it hard.
1855   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 16 i. 135  If you clay heavily..you must muck heavily, or you will set the land.
1875   E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. 2286/1  [He] uses golden sulphuret of antimony and sets the rubber by vulcanizing it.
1974   M. Lindlaw Super Sweets & Puddings 9  To set jelly quickly. Dissolve the jelly tablet in ¼ pint (1½ dl) hot water, then make up to 1 pint (6 dl) with cold water or ice cubes. Stir until on the point of setting.

 b. pass.

1791   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse §168  Dutch Tarras,..which, after being once set, would afterwards become hard, without ever being compleatly dry.
1791   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse §168 (note)    [Set], the term used in the application of calcareous mortar, which denotes its first step, or degree of hardening.
1839   W. A. Chatto Treat. Wood Engraving viii. 723  Recent impressions of a wood-cut, before the ink is set.
1846   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 7 ii. 493  The skin was set, that is, it would not easily rub off.
1879   Cassell's Techn. Educator III. 99  When the film is just set enough to bear a light touch, without receiving any impression of the finger.

 c. intr. To become firm or solid in consistency; (of milk) to curdle or turn; (of mortar, etc.) to solidify.

1736   N. Bailey Dict. Domesticum at Cheese,  When it [milk] sets or turns to curd very quick.
1776   G. Semple Treat. Building in Water 79  The out-side Mortar..set, that is, grew hard immediately.
1837   J. T. Smith tr. L. J. Vicat Pract. & Sci. Treat. Mortars & Cements 9  We say that a lime has set, when it bears without depression a knitting-needle of 0.12 cent...diameter, filed square at its extremity, and loaded with a weight of 0.30 kil.
1839   T. C. Hansard Treat. Printing & Type-founding (1841) 151  When the varnish has had time to set.
1842   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 3 i. 16  The soil..is rather sticky when wet, and sets hard when dry.
1860   G. W. S. Piesse Lab. Chem. Wonders 168  Silver ‘sets’ before the lead.
1883   Standard 17 May 2/2  Nor shall we permit the meat to hang, to ‘set’ over the reeking fumes of the killing chamber.
1886   J. Blandy Baker's Guide 51  A certain sort of loaf, put into the oven without touching, ‘set crusty’, as the baker would say.
1963   D. Seton Essent. Mod. Cookery 151  The sugar is very important in jam-making. If too much or too little is used, the jam will not set.
1973   Cooking for Today (Good Housekeeping) 264/4   Pour one third of this jelly into a picnic jelly mould and put in a cool place to set.

 d. Of cream: To collect and settle on the top of the milk.

1859   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 20 i. 53  The milk..is..left until the cream has set.

 a. To cause (fruit) to form on a tree by the process of fertilization; to cause (a flower) to develop into fruit: said of bees, etc. and (also absol.) of the tree bearing the fruit.

1693   J. Evelyn Dict. in tr. J. de La Quintinie Compl. Gard'ner sig. Aiiv, at Bud,..  Well Buddod [sic] or well set Trees; is said of those Fruit-Trees, that have abundance of Fruit Buds.
1721   R. Bradley Philos. Acct. Wks. Nature 25  Concerning the Generation of Plants, and the manner of setting their Fruits.
1729   B. Langley Pomona 77  Our Fruits being plentifully set.
a1793   G. White Observ. Veg. in Nat. Hist. Selborne (1802) II. 257  When they [sc. bees] are once induced to haunt the frames, they set all the fruit.
1877   C. Darwin Different Forms Flowers i. 28  Flowers legitimately fertilised set seeds under conditions which cause the almost complete failure of illegitimately fertilised flowers.
1892   E. P. Dixon's (Hull) Seed Catal. 18   It is a robust grower and sets very freely.
1893   Field 8 Apr. 530/1  The plant..‘sets’ a larger proportion of the flowers.

 b. intr. Of blossom or fruit: To develop as the result of fertilization. Also said of hemp fibre.

1718   J. Laurence Fruit-garden Kal. 53  This Blossom Set, and produced me a Peach.
1779   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 70 475   February was so mild and fine that the wall-fruit flowered..and set much fuller, than the apples, which were two months later.
1849   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 10 i. 177  The fibre has not set, nor has the male stem shed its pollen.
1854   H. Miller Schools & Schoolmasters (1858) 561  To mark how very few of the blossoms have set.
1891   Field 24 Oct. 634/1  About a dozen fruit set, of which six ripened.

 c. Of a plant: to set to seed = seed v. 1.

1897   J. C. Willis Man. Flowering Plants II. 234  Moneywort..is said never to set to seed in Brit[ain].

 99. Plastering. To put a finishing coat on. (See set n.1 30a.)

1700   Moxon's Mech. Exercises: Bricklayers-wks. 12  They finish the Plastering when it is almost dry,..setting it, that is to say, Trowelling and brishing it.
1812   P. Nicholson Mech. Exercises 309 (Plastering)  Lath Floated and Set Fair. These words bear the same meaning as lath pricked-up and floated and set.
1847   A. C. Smeaton Builder's Pocket Man. (new ed.) 128   Render, float, and set, is three-coat work.
1874   J. Birch Country Archit. 44  Lath, plaster, float, set and twice whiten all ceilings throughout.

 a. Sheep-breeding. To settle or establish (a particular stock).

1782   W. Marshall Minutes in Rural Econ. Norfolk (1787) II. 321  Bought by those who are increasing, or ‘setting’ a ewe flock.
1802–19   A. Rees Cycl. XXXII,  Setting, a term used in sheep-management, which signifies the picking, choosing, and selecting those which are the best formed..for the purpose of breeding, forming the flock, and keeping as stock.
1802–19   A. Rees Cycl. XXXII,  Setting Lamb-Stock.
1807   A. Young Gen. View Agric. Essex II. xiii. 334  His flock has been 1140 breeding ewes; and at this Michælmas (1805) he setts 2000.
1847   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 8 i. 17  In setting the flocks particular attention is paid to size, wool, strength of constitution.

 b. intr. Of a period of time or weather: To become settled; = to set in at Phrasal verbs 2   (Cf. set adj.1 6c).

a1800   Gil Brenton vi, in F. J. Child Eng. & Sc. Pop. Ballads (1882) I. i. 74  Till the evening set and birds they sang.
1880   W. H. Patterson Gloss. Words Antrim & Down (at cited word),  ‘The night is set’..night has come on.
1892   I. Zangwill Big Bow Myst. 98  It's set wet, it'll rain right into the new year.
1894   Harper's Mag. Feb. 359/1  The night set very cold.

 c. Cricket. (pass.) To have become accustomed to the bowling.

1865   Lillywhite's Cricketers' Comp. 127  As a bat he is deficient in defence, though a punishing hitter when once set.
1882   Daily Tel. 19 May,  The Colonials were firmly set, and the runs came fast.

 101. To settle the growth of (a plant) in the right way.

1845   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 5 ii. 339  Where the clover is not well set.
1864   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 25 ii. 275  Wheat is rolled..in spring, to set the young plant.

 102. To check; to puzzle, nonplus, ‘stump’; to tax the resources of. Now north. dial.

1586   Hooker Irish Hist. 87/2 in Holinshed,  At this answer Meth was set.
1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. ii. xii. 9  The silie mind of men was before sett and to seeke.
1633   G. Herbert Temple: Sacred Poems 51  Learning was pos'd, Philosophie was set.
1740   H. Bracken Farriery Improv'd (ed. 2) II. vi. 164   Standing..will make them [sc. feet] grow so hard,..that it will set the Smith to drive a Nail in shoeing.
1763   ‘T. Bobbin’ Toy-shop (new ed.) 45,   I wur warr set to get eawt (if possible) in e wur when Nip an me feel off th' Bridge.
1819   Pantologia (new ed.)    Four thorough-shaped horses will draw, with facility, a weight which would set five ordinary ones.

 103. Dance. (intr.) To take up a position and perform a number of steps with one's face to one's partner or to the dancer on one's right or left. Chiefly in set to partners, set to corners (also set corners).

1652   Dancing Master Expl. Charac.,  Set and turn single, is a single to one hand, and a single to the other, and turn single.
1652   Dancing Master 1  Sides all, set and turn S.
1652   Dancing Master 72  Meet all, back again, set to your own, and to the next.
1711   E. Budgell Spectator No. 67. ⁋9  A..Step called Setting, which I know not how to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of Back to Back.
1791   R. Burns Tam o' Shanter 147 in Poems & Songs (1968) II. 562  The dancers..reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit.
1801   R. Anderson et al. Ballads in Cumberland Dial. 18  Tou kens we danc'd a threesome reel, And Betty set to me.
1806   J. Beresford Miseries Human Life I. iii. 55  Set corners, ladies.
1811   T. Wilson Country Dancing (ed. 2) 6   Foot and set are the same; it is merely dancing in your place to fill up the time of the music.
1894   E. Scott Dancing 113  The gentleman sets to and turns with the lady on his left hand.
1894   E. Scott Dancing 119  Set to partners and turn.
1894   E. Scott Dancing 120  All set to corners and turn... They set and turn to places.
1836   Dickens Sketches by Boz 1st Ser. II. 55  Two green sauce-tureens, with ladles of the same, were setting to each other in a green dish.

 a. pass. and intr. To get stuck. †Also trans. to allow to get stuck.(There is perhaps a punning reference to this sense in Shakespeare King Lear ii. ii. 3 Stew. Where may we set our horses? Kent. I' th' myre.)

1756   J. Clubbe Hist. Wheatfield in Misc. Tracts (1770) I. 83  Carters..when their waggons were set in bad roads.
1776   W. Marshall Minutes Agric. 2 Sept. (1778) ,  If he spill or overturn his load, or if he break his waggon, or set his horses.
1854   H. D. Thoreau Walden 316  A plough got set in the furrow and had to be cut out.
1888   Sci. Amer. 4 Feb. 74/1  To prevent the ‘setting’ and sliding of the wheels.

 b. Bowls. (intr.) = rub v.1 8a.

1875   ‘Stonehenge’ Man. Brit. Rural Sports (ed. 12) iii. i. iii. §3   If a bowl be struck and if it do rub or set on the striker's partner.
 IX. To put in the way of following a certain course, cause to take a particular direction.
 * Where physical direction or motion in a certain path is the prevailing notion.

 a. To take (a journey), direct (one's course).

OE   Cynewulf Elene 1004  Heht he Elenan hæl abeodan beadurofre, gif hie brim nesen ond gesundne sið settan mosten, hæleð hwætmode, to þære halgan byrig.
a1000   Sat. (Gr.) 189   Ic..sceal nu wreclastas settan sorhgcearig, siðas wide.
a1330   Sire Degarre 425  Mani a jorne thai ride and sette.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Fairf. 14) l. 13668   To ihesus þe way he sette.

b. To lay (a ship's course). Also absol. Obs.

c1485   Digby Myst. (1882) iii. 1723  Sett þer-with, yf we mown, for I wott itt is a havyn town.
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid vii. v. 10  It is also cummyn to our eris, Ȝe set ȝour cours ouer see thir mony ȝeiris.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie ii. viii. 42  Setting our course east Northeast.

 106. intr. (less freq. refl.) To proceed in a specified direction; to begin to move, start off, put out, set out. Now surviving (exc. Sc.) only in set forth, set forward, set off, set on, etc. (see Phrasal verbs 2).

a1000   Boeth. Metr. i. 4  Setton suðweardes sigeþeoda twa.
1052   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (MS. C) ,   Ða geaxedon þæt lið þæt on Sandwic læg embe Godwines fare, setton þa æfter.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 13584   Setteð [c1300 Otho wendeþ] heom after.
c1460  (▸?c1400)    Tale of Beryn (1887) l. 1999   He set hym in ful purpose to his Shippis ward.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 1828   At Salame full sound þai set into hauyn.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 11109   Sadly ho sete, sewit hym agayne.
1568   C. Watson tr. Polybius Hist. 62 b,  Immediately to set towardes his ennimies.
a1616   Shakespeare Henry V (1623) ii. 0. 34  The King is set from London.
1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. x. 440  From thence I set East-ward to Syragusa.
1637   S. Rutherford Lett. (1664) 342  To set up the brae to the King's city.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 415  The faithless Pirate soon will set to Sea.
1786   R. Burns Poems & Songs (1968) I. 160  While for the Barn she sets.
1808   J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. (at cited word),  I set, or set out, after him; I pursued him.

 a. intr. Of a current, wind: To take or have a (certain) direction or course.

14..   in J. Gairdner Sailing Direct. (1889) 11  At the Hedelonde the streme settith North West and Southest.
c1595   T. Maynarde Sir Francis Drake his Voy. (1849) 19  From hence..a great currante setts towards the estward.
c1660   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1644 (1955) II. 170  Blowing very hard from Land..it set so violently, as rais'd..a<n> over growne Sea.
1685   W. Hedges Diary 2 Feb. (1887) I. 181  The Current (which usually setts to the Northward at this time of the Year).
1748   B. Robins & R. Walter Voy. round World by Anson i. iv. 51  We found the tide to set S.S.E. and N.N.W.
1835   Syd. Smith in Mem. (1855) II. 362  When the wind sets that way.
1877   T. H. Huxley Physiogr. 174  The current which sets into the Gulf of Mexico.
1890   Longman's Mag. July 336  The prevalent winds set from the west.

 b. Of the tide (cf. to set in at Phrasal verbs 2).

1777–83   Lescallier Voc. Termes Mar. 64  The tide sets to the South.
1825   Examiner 30/1  There was a strong tide setting.
1853   M. Arnold Sohrab & Rustum 627  As the vast tide Of the bright rocking Ocean sets to shore At the full moon.

 c. fig. and in fig. context: To have a direction, tendency, or bent.

1778   Earl of Carlisle in J. H. Jesse G. Selwyn & his Contemp. (1844) III. 340,  I think I have strength of mind enough to stem the torrent, let it set against me with all its fury.
1842   Tennyson Locksley Hall in Poems (new ed.) II. 94   All the current of my being sets to thee.
1885   Manch. Examiner 16 Feb. 5/3  The current of popular fiction in this country has lately set strongly towards pure sensationalism.
1885   Manch. Examiner 28 Sept. 5/3  The public opinion of the young men is setting against the practice.
1891   Temple Bar Nov. 309  Her ambition did not set in the direction indicated.
1893   National Observer 1 Apr. 490/1  The sleeve puffings reveal an artful under-garment, setting towards pink.

 a. trans. To cause to pass into a certain place or from one place to another; to convey, transport (? orig. by water, cf. to set over at Phrasal verbs 2). Now rare, the usual verb being put.

1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) xiv. 382   With four schippes that he had tane, He set thame our the ban ilkane.
c1500   in Peacock Stat. Cambr. (1841) App. A. 37  The Bedyll shall sett the Masters of Gramer to the Fathers place.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/1  Ferye man, what shal I gyve the to set me over the water?
1556   in J. G. Nichols Chron. Grey Friars (1852) 36  The curet with all the parich and solempnite sette the osttes home with soleme procession.
1575   W. Stevenson Gammer Gurtons Nedle iv. iii. sig. Diiv,  I set him soone inwarde.
a1578   R. Lindsay Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) I. 394  To..sett certane bandis of men of weir to the bordouris.
1601   Acct.-bk. W. Wray in Antiquary (1896) 32 80  A laye layde..for settynge soldyars into Ireland.
1615   W. Lawson Country Housewifes Garden (1626) 2  Drifts of snow will set Deere, Hares, and Conies..ouer your wals.
1819   J. Hodgson in J. Raine Mem. J. Hodgson (1857) I. 227  The price may pinch me for cash to set me home.
1856   N. Hawthorne Passages from Eng. Note-bks. (1870) II. 53  We went back to the ferry, and, after being set across.., we drove back to Melrose.

b. To put a land, on land, ashore. Obs.

?1482   J. Kay tr. G. Caoursin Siege of Rhodes ⁋11  Many of the Turkes that were sette a land by the brygge from the shippes.
1489  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) iii. 425   Ane That rowyt thaim our deliuerly, And set thaim on the land all dry.
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary i. 47  The barke..set us on land neere the Towne.
1700   S. Parker Homer in Nutshell 6  You'll ferry o'r, And at the Pallace-stairs be set a'shoar.
intr. for refl.
1523   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. cxxi. 59 b,  He counselled the kyng..to set a lande in Normandy.

 c. To accompany or escort (a person) for part or all of the way he has to go. Chiefly north. dial.

1740   H. Bracken Farriery Improv'd (ed. 2) II. v. 99,   I was setting my Patient a little on the Road.
1802   R. Anderson et al. Ballads in Cumberland Dial. 34  And monie a time he's set me heame.
1889   M. E. Carter Mrs. Severn III. ii. ix. 17  I've had a very happy day, and they set me to the stile.
1890   T. H. Hall Caine Bondman i. vii,  I'll set you as far as Ballasalla.

d. to set home : to bring to bear closely upon; to enforce, emphasize. Obs.

1656   R. Vines Treat. Inst. Lords-Supper xiii. 160  Setting home the sin and danger of it.
1678   R. Cudworth True Intellect. Syst. Universe i. iv. 422  Which Argumentation is further set home by such Similitudes as these.
1757   J. Edwards Doctr. Orig. Sin i, in Wks. (1807) II. 97  To set home this awful truth upon their consciences.

 109. Of a current, wind, etc.: To cause to move, carry along in a (certain) direction.

?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 6792  Bot þai were lett, And fra þe se to land sett.
a1653   Z. Boyd Zion's Flowers (1855) 9  She plies that course her compasse sets her on.
1748   B. Robins & R. Walter Voy. round World by Anson ii. v. 180  There was a current which set us to the northward.
1819   Byron Don Juan: Canto II ci. 169  The current..Still set them onwards to the welcome shore.
1823   W. Scoresby Jrnl. Voy. Northern Whale-fishery 74  A breeze sprung up from the south-east, and set the ice so rapidly upon us.
1892   Field 6 Feb. 198/3  The current in a rapid usually ‘sets’ the canoe clear of rocks.

 110. To propel (a boat or other craft) with a pole; to punt. Also absol., to use a punt pole or setting pole; now esp. in punt-shooting, to move up to the fowl, to get within shooting distance (cf. to set up at Phrasal verbs 2).

1589   T. Southam in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigations ii. 391  We departed from Ostroue in the morning before Sunne rising, rowing, and setting vp the riuer 5. miles.
1705   tr. W. Bosman New Descr. Coast of Guinea xviii. 338  Those in the Boats are obliged to set 'em along by sticking their Pole in the Ground.
1725   D. Defoe New Voy. round World ii. 168  By the Help of Towing and Setting as well as they could, they came to a flatter Shore.
1767   Bartram's Jrnl. 16 in W. Stork Acct. E. Florida (ed. 2) ,   We rowed or set the battoe as far as she could swim.
1823   Examiner 719/1  At Shields, as a young keelman..was in the act of setting the keel to which he belonged, the pole slipped.
1859   H. C. Folkard Wild-fowler xxiv. 145  When ‘setting’ to birds side by side with other punters.
1882   R. Payne-Gallwey Fowler in Ireland 468  When setting to fowl in this style of craft the shooter lies partly on his left side.

 a. To direct or point (one's face, foot, etc.) to, towards, for a place.

1611   Bible (A.V.) Gen. xxxi. 21   He..set his face toward the mount Gilead.
1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. x. 493,  I set face from Court for Scotland.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1654 (1955) III. 134,  I now with my Wife &c: set our faces toward home.
a1701   H. Maundrell Journey Aleppo to Jerusalem (1703) 14  That way the Musselmans are obliged to set their faces when they Pray.
1732   W. Law Serious Call (ed. 2) iv. 65   With hearts always set towards Heaven.
1850   Tennyson In Memoriam c. 155,  I turn to go: my feet are set To leave the pleasant fields and farms.
1861   Temple Bar 1 394  It was time for him to set his face homewards.
1862   W. Collins No Name I. ii. i. 279  The lonely figure of a woman..with her face set towards the westward view.
1885   Field 4 Apr. 426/2  As usual he [sc. the fox] set his head for Nosely.
1890   I. D. Hardy New Othello i,  They have set their faces for home.

 b. To put (a person) on the way leading to a destination.

1678   J. Bunyan Pilgrim's Progress (ed. 2) 28   By turning thee from the way in which I had set thee.
1678   J. Bunyan Pilgrim's Progress 54  He directed me to the Wicket-Gate..and so set me into the way that hath led me directly to this House.
1883   J. Gilmour Among Mongols xviii. 212  Your host comes out with you to set you on your way.
1891   M. M. Dowie Girl in Karpathians xviii. 239  He knew the path and could set us on it.
 ** Where a person (or thing) is put to perform a task or to act in a certain way.(☛ For phr. set a work, at, in, on, or to work see a-work adv.   and work n.)

 a. To put (a person) to a piece of work or a task.

?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 4166   Þe sexe daȝhess sette godd Hiss follc to þeȝȝre werrkess.
1522   Worlde & Chylde (de Worde) (1909) sig. C.vi,   Folye met me..And vnto all synnes he set me.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/1  To set every man to his taske.
1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day in Wks. (1910) II. 349  To doe any ye most vyle or paynefull dewty they are set unto.
1695   J. Edwards Disc. conc. Old & New-Test. III. xii. 487  The 70 Seniors disagreed in their Translation..and so were set to it again.
1836   B. Hall Schloss Hainfeld vi. 77  We set the children to their regular lessons.
1861   Macmillan's Mag. IV. 331/1  He was set to a work for which he had no stomach.

 b. Const. inf. (occas. †gerund): To put (a person or agent) to the task of doing a certain thing, cause (him) to be so occupied.Prov. set a thief to catch a thief.

a1325  (▸c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 3634   Aaron bissop oðere of ðat kin Sette he, hem for to seruen ðor-in.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 311   Paschasius,..in þe peyne of purgatorie, was i-sette for to serve bathes.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 18563   And o mi knightes sum þai sett For to do his graf be gett.
?c1450   in G. J. Aungier Hist. & Antiq. Syon Monastery (1840) 255  They schal be sette to say..fyftene pater nostres.
1474   Caxton tr. Game & Playe of Chesse (1883) ii. iv. 56  That men shold sette poure children to laboure in the felde.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection iii. sig. CCCiii,  The free mason setteth his prentyse firste long tyme to lerne to hewe stones.
1600   B. Jonson Every Man out of his Humor i. iii. 125  I'le instantly set all my hinds to thrashing Of a whole Reeke of corne.
1612   J. Brinsley Ludus Lit. ii. 8  To set your children to begin to learne.
1712   J. Addison Spectator No. 435. ¶1  As one set to watch the Manners and Behaviour of my Countrymen.
1833   H. Martineau Loom & Lugger ii. ii. 22  Nurse set us to ask my brother Robert.
1852   Thackeray Henry Esmond II. vii. 125  Baubles..for which men have been set to kill and quarrel ever since mankind began.
1886   Encycl. Brit. XX. 42/2  The twilight that sends the hens to roost sets the fox to prowl.
1890   Sat. Rev. 12 July 37/2  The naval operations our squadrons are set to perform.

 c. transf. with a thing as obj.

1841   A. Helps On Pract. Wisdom in Ess. (1842) 6  By setting one evil thing to counteract another.
1871   R. Ellis tr. Catullus Poems lxiii. 18  Let a gong clash glad emotion, set a giddy fury to roam.

 a. To direct (one's mind, intention, or will) to the consideration or performance of something. Now rare.

1340   R. Rolle Pricke of Conscience 97  He þat til ille settes his wille.
c1386   Chaucer Parson's Tale 314  He that wolde sette his entente to thise thynges.
1423   Kingis Quair xxxviii,  Sen him to serue he myght set my corage?
c1450   J. Capgrave Life St. Augustine xiii,  Þe loue of his hert is now only sette to serue God.
1489  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) i. 11,   I wald fayne set my will..To put in wryt a suthfast story.
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid v. xiii. 105  My desire was sett..all Troy for to doun bett.
1590   Spenser Faerie Queene ii. x. sig. Y4v,  To which whiles absent he his mind did sett.
1668   J. Denham Poems 155  Our hearts are only set..to be Rich, or Great.
1671   Milton Paradise Regain'd i. 202  All my mind was set Serious to learn and know.
1681   H. More Plain Expos. Daniel 183  He..will set his mind to the taking of the more strongly fortified places.
1879   M. J. Guest Lect. Hist. Eng. xxiv. 236  He set his mind to govern his people well.

 b. refl. To apply oneself to a piece of work, a task, or employment. Most often (and now always) const. inf.; also †to lay oneself out for.

a1352   L. Minot Poems (1914) x. 20,  I rede þat þou..sone set þe to schriue.
a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Trin. Cambr.) l. 17845   A twyn þei set hem to þat note.
c1450   Mirk's Festial 81  Þay maden to take Mathy eftsones, and set hom to throw stonys at hym.
c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Law of Armys (2005) 34   That king sett him to haue senȝeoury of all the Orient.
?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) 194  Quhen I sett me to sing or dance.
1611   J. Speed Hist. Great Brit. vi. li. 272/2  He set himselfe for their deliuerance.
1624   J. Ussher in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eminent Literary Men (1843) (Camden) 131,  I had set myselfe close to my worke.
1701   W. Wotton Hist. Rome 259  He set himself to redress the Abuses.
1845   R. C. Trench Fitness Holy Script. i. 11  They..will yet set themselves..to look for petty discrepancies.
1880   G. Meredith Tragic Comedians I. v. 89  She set herself to study it.

 c. intr. in the same sense: const. to with n. (pron.) or inf., or to or a- with gerund. (Cf. to set about at Phrasal verbs 2.)

c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Law of Armys (2005) 84   Quhethir j aw to defend my nychtbour jn armys and men wald sett to sla him.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues at Mettre,  If I vndertake it, if I set to it.
1641   Milton Animadversions 18  Your Bishops have set as fair to doe it as they durst.
1668   H. More Divine Dialogues I. iii. xxix. 492  Two Asses..that set a-braying.
1705   tr. W. Bosman New Descr. Coast of Guinea xx. 395  Most of them set to Running before the Enemy appears.
1737   S. Berington Mem. G. di Lucca 15  The Chief of the Inquisition..set to the Scrutiny of his Papers.
1803   T. Beddoes Hygëia III. ix. 99  A young man..reached a book from a shelf..and set to read.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. I. iii. iii. 103  He sets to denouncing Stock-brokerage.
1890   Cornhill Mag. June 643  The mother and daughters set to the making of beds.
1893   Black & White 29 July 124/2  Let us..set a-hunting once more for the philosopher's stone.

 a. trans. to set (a person) upon: to put in the way of doing or performing, cause to be occupied with (something): often with implication of urging or impelling (cf. put v. 16). Also refl.

1435   Contract Fotheringhay Church (1841) 29  During all the sayd werke the seid Will. Horwode shall nether set mo nor fewer Free-Masons..thereupon.
1572   Taill of Rauf Coilȝear (1882) 394  Ane man..That neuer wald set him on assay withoutin his assent.
1657   W. Rand tr. P. Gassendi Mirrour of Nobility i. 184  A..Historiographer, who was at that time set upon the same undertaking.
1694   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding (new ed.) ii. xxi. 133   Nothing setting us upon the change of State, or upon any new Action, but some uneasiness.
1695   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. (new ed.) §94. 161   The Studies which he sets him upon.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 255. ¶8  This often sets him on empty Boasts and Ostentations of himself.
1825   New Monthly Mag. 16 406  [It] has set us upon an inquiry into the present state of religion.
1879   M. Pattison Milton vi. 75  This rude shock..set Usher upon a more careful examination.

 b. Const. on (occas. †in, to) with gerund.Obs. with reference to physical movement, e.g. set on going, set on packing: cf. 114d.

c1440   Pallad. on Husb. i. 366  Lond grauel anoon sette in worchinge.
1624   Bacon Considerations War with Spain (1629) 5  This wheele set on going, did power a Warre vpon the Venetians.
1639   T. Fuller Hist. Holy Warre ii. xli. 100  Suspicion giveth a passe-port to faith to set it on packing.
1690   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding iii. vi. 220  [It] sets them also upon making of one name, that may comprehend both Gold, and Silver.
1695   Dryden tr. C. A. Du Fresnoy De Arte Graphica 72  You will do well to..set your self on designing after the Ancient Greeks.
1745   in Colonial Rec. Pennsylvania (1851) V. 27  The pernicious conduct of the French at Canada in setting their Indians on destroying the Inhabitants.
1763   J. Mills New Syst. Pract. Husbandry III. 156  If the ground be..not wet enough to set it on growing.
1832   Examiner 91/2  This address set him to dancing again.
1851   J. Keble Occas. Papers (1877) 242  Is not this a thought to set us on praying?
1859   ‘G. Eliot’ Adam Bede II. iv. xxvii. 232  That he might..set him on persuading the Squire to consent.
1889   ‘F. Pigot’ Strangest Journey 188  It was perhaps this that set..Jem on stealing my own silver goblet.

 c. Const. gerund with a- prefixed: in this const. and next, often, to put (a thing) in motion or progress, to start; esp. to set (a-)going .

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 712/1  Go set these glasses of rose water a sonnyng.
1600   J. Pory tr. J. Leo Africanus Geogr. Hist. Afr. ix. 334  Whosoeuer listeth to drinke of it, must set it a cooling for the space of an hower.
1660   R. Boyle New Exper. Physico-mechanicall xvii. 129  Which perhaps will set..You..a thinking.
1705   G. Cheyne Philos. Princ. Nat. Relig. i. v. 186  The Impulse of an Almighty Hand to set them first a-going.
1794   G. Morris in J. Sparks Life G. Morris (1832) II. 440  Those who set the plan agoing.
1852   Thackeray Henry Esmond I. xiv. 336  Those cards set people sadly a quarrelling.
1855   A. Bain Senses & Intellect i. iv. 292  A morsel of food on the tongue sets a-going the movements of mastication.
1861   Thackeray Four Georges ii. 89  The abbey bells are set a-ringing.

 d. Const. simple gerund.In early use †to set packing , etc., where in modern idiom send is used.

1577   M. Hanmer tr. Bp. Eusebius in Aunc. Eccl. Hist. iii. viii. 43 (note)    The..Gadarits set packing the stoutest of them.
1611   Second Maiden's Trag. 1653  One touch will set him flyinge.
1662   R. Mathews Unlearned Alchymist 26  Neither let him think that it [ague] will be set going with one violent potion.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas IV. x. ix. 117  The good wines..were set running at a furious rate.
1832   F. A. Kemble Rec. Girlhood III. 176  Victor Hugo has set my mother raving.
1844   Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit xxxix. 458  With reference to your duties, I can set you going.
1872   C. S. Calverley Fly Leaves 24  Half-a-bar sets several couple Waltzing in convenient spots.

 e. to set gone : to set going, send or let off.

?1611   G. Chapman tr. Homer Iliads xv. 429  He..well might haue set gone A hundred arrowes.
?1615   G. Chapman tr. Homer Odysses (new ed.) xiii. 121   The Rowers..set gone The Ship.

 115. To cause to be busy about. Also refl. and pass. (For the corresponding intr. see to set about —— at Phrasal verbs 1.)

1622   J. Mabbe tr. M. Alemán Rogue ii. 131  Taking little sleepe when I had any thing to set my selfe about.
1693   Dryden Disc. conc. Satire in tr. Juvenal Satires p. x,  The Arch Angel..sets her [Discord]..about her business.
1695   J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. (new ed.) §202. 352   The Advantages propos'd, from what they are set about.
1849   A. Helps Friends in Council II. i. i. 20  It set me..about thinking of Cicero's De Senectute.
1864   C. M. Yonge Trial I. xiv. 289  Mr. Axworthy had exclaimed that if ever he wanted a thing to be done, he must set Ward about it.
 *** Where attack or opposition is the motive.

 a. To incite (a dog or other animal, also a person) to make an attack or pursuit: chiefly with preps. at, on. (Cf. to set on at Phrasal verbs 2.)

c1440   Alphabet of Tales 229  Hondis that & þai be set at any maner of beste, þai wil kill it.
1560   Bp. J. Pilkington Aggeus the Prophete C c vj,  If a sheepe runne from hys felowes, the Shepeherde settes hys Dogge after it.
1696   A. Telfair New Confut. Sadducism 6  When any one whistled for him [a dog] to set him on the Cattel.
1776   Earl of Carlisle in J. H. Jesse G. Selwyn & his Contemp. (1844) III. 137,  I shall prevent this man from setting ruin like a bull-dog at her.
1840   Thackeray Barber Cox in Comic Almanack 41  While young Tug set the dog at their heels.
1848   Thackeray Vanity Fair xlvii. 420  In setting the boys' tutor..on her ladyship's director, Father Mole.
1848   Thackeray Vanity Fair li. 454  Once or twice they set people at her, but they failed.
1889   A. Conan Doyle Micah Clarke x. 84  They set dogs on us as though we were rats.

 b. To encourage (an animal) to perform some evolution or feat; to pit (fighting cocks).

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) iii. xi. sig. Oo8,  They..making their horses answer their hands, with a gentle galop, set the one toward the other.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory ii. 253/1  In Setting of a Cock, none are to be up on the clod but the 2 Seeters [sic]... When the Cocks are set Beak to Beak in the middle of the clod,..if the set Cock do not strike in counting of 20, and six times 10, and 20 after all; then the Battle is lost.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory ii. 253/1  The Cock is to be set, and they are to fight it out.
1884   Western Daily Press 16 Apr. 7/2  A well-known Kentish amateur..decided to ‘set’ his own birds.
1890   F. Barrett Between Life & Death II. xix. 38  She would set her horse at anything.

 a. To place in a position of hostility or opposition; to cause to be hostile or antagonistic; to pit (one) against (another). Phr. to set (a person) against, to cause him to have an antipathy for.to set one's face against: see face n. Phrases 9b.

1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 9375  Vor setteþ him one hardeliche aȝen an hondred to wende.
a1340   R. Rolle Psalter xxvi. 5  If castels be set agaynes me my hert shal not drede.
c1420   in 26 Pol. Poems 108  Why settyst þou þy herte aȝen resoun?
1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day in Wks. (1910) II. 308  To set our owne wicked wills directly against his most holy will.
1680   H. More Apocalypsis Apocalypseos 261  He wonders that any man should set his wit against it.
1699   A. Boyer Royal Dict. (at cited word),  Why wou'd ye set such a Man against ye?
1827   Scott Surgeon's Daughter in Chron. Canongate 1st Ser. II. x. 253  Set a brave spirit, then, against your fortune.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. II. ii. iv. 115  Man has been set against man.
1876   C. M. Yonge Cameos cxxvi, in Monthly Packet May 416  Henry VIII. tried to set François against it.
1884   Manch. Examiner 25 June 5/2  The story..set people against a useful article of fish food.
1891   G. M. Fenn Mahme Nousie II. iii. 54  You have been setting her against me.

 b. Const. to, at.

a1400–50   Wars Alex. (Dubl.) 1316  A sege by hym-self sett to a hundreth.
1596   T. Nashe Haue with you to Saffron-Walden sig. Mv,  Were there a thousand more of them, and they should set their wit to his.
1609   Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida ii. i. 88  Will you set your wit to a fooles.
a1616   Shakespeare King John (1623) iii. i. 190  So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith, And like a ciuill warr setst oath to oath.
1822   C. Lamb Some Old Actors in Elia 1st Ser.,  I have seen some Olivias..who..have seemed to set their wits at the jester.
1871   R. Ellis tr. Catullus Poems lxvi. 20  Whiles her bridegroom bold set to the battle a face.

 c. refl. and pass. To be hostile or antagonistic.

c1482   in Cal. Proc. Chanc. Q. Eliz. II. (1830) Pref. 70  Whoos lordship and ladyship..is so hevely sette ayene the said suppliant.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Ezek. xxiv. 2   When the kynge of Babilon set himself agaynst Ierusalem.
1652   H. Bell tr. M. Luther Colloquia Mensalia 303  The Cardinals would yield to no Reformation, but set themselvs against it.
1676   T. Hobbes tr. Homer Iliads i. 107  With a mind against me set.
1728   J. Gay Beggar's Opera i. xiii. 18  My Papa and Mama are set against thy Life.
1888   A. Jessopp Coming of Friars iii. 158  The Cistercians..at first set themselves against the wholesale pillage of the parochial clergy.
1889   G. Gissing Nether World iii,  She only gets more and more set against me.

 d. intr. To make an attack: see to set against —— at Phrasal verbs 1, set at 129, set on, upon, 131, 132 a.

 X. Senses which appear to have arisen by reversal of construction or by an ellipsis.

 a. To people or garrison (a place) with.

971   Blickl. Hom. 121  Hie wiston þæt heora eþel þær on heofenum sceolde eft gebuen & geseted weorþan mid halgum sawlum.
a1122   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) ann. 964,   Her dræfde Eadgar cyng þa preostas on Ceastre of Ealdanmynstre,..& of Middeltune & sette hy mid munecan.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 6657,   & setten [c1300 Otho fulle] þine castles mid kene monnen.

 b. To beset (a place) for the purpose of intercepting or capturing a person.

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Trin. Cambr.) l. 19717   Ofte þe toun for him þei set And saul wist þat he was þret.
1488  (▸c1478)    Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) iv. l. 56   And tauld how thai the way for his man sett.
1525   Sc. Acts Jas. V (1814) II. 298  Setting þe gait Laying wachis.
1535   W. Stewart tr. H. Boethius Bk. Cron. Scotl. I. 123  With mony spy [he] Gart sett the wod.
a1593   Marlowe Massacre at Paris (c1600) sig. B1v,   That they which haue already set the street May know their watchword.

 119. To plant (ground) with ‘sets’ or (young) trees; formerly often with about. (Cf. 12.) to be set with = to have growing upon it, to be overgrown with.

c1290   S. Eng. Leg. 239/695  Þicke it was i-set with treon.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 95  God zette paradys erþlich uol of guode trawes.
1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomew de Glanville De Proprietatibus Rerum (1495) xiii. iv. 443  Ampnis is a ryuer arayed and sett wyth woodes.
?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 3862  Þat fosse whare þe water was ȝett It is aboute with trees sett.
a1593   Marlowe Tragicall Hist. Faustus (1604) sig. D,  The riuer Maine..Whose bankes are set with groues of fruitful vines.
1598   Floure & Leafe in T. Speght Wks. G. Chaucer f. 366/1,  The hegge..With sicamour was set and eglatere.
c1660   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1644 (1955) II. 158  The Pall-mall is set with faire trees.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1646 (1955) II. 507  Severall..walks all set about with Oranges & Citron trees.
1757   R. Griffith & E. Griffith Lett. Henry & Frances I. cxxv. 241,  I have set the last Acre of ——, since I came down.
1852   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 13 ii. 417  The whole 3 acres were ploughed and set with beans.
1855   Tennyson Brook in Maud & Other Poems 103  Many a fairy foreland set With willow-weed and mallow.
1891   M. M. Dowie Girl in Karpathians xiii. 163  A grassy clearing, set with whortleberries.

 a. To ornament (metal or other surface) by inlaying or encrusting it with stones or gems.

c1370   Robt. Cicyle 57 (Cambr.) ,   Alle was set with perrye.
c1390  (▸?c1350)    Joseph of Arimathie (1871) l. 290   Sencers..set wiþ riche stones.
1431   in H. Littlehales Medieval Rec. London City Church (1905) 27  A myter of cloth of gold set with stones.
1572–3   in J. Nichols Progresses Queen Elizabeth (1823) I. 324  One ring of golde sett with diamondes lozengye.
1681   J. Flavell Method of Grace xxxiv. 575  A sword that hath an hilt of Gold, set thick with Diamonds.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1651 (1955) III. 41  Whose belt <was all> set with Pearle.
1795   Gentleman's Mag. 65 607/1  A superb watch, set with brilliants.

 b. To surround (a large stone) with a mount of small stones; to mount (an object) in a particular metal. ? Obs.

1506   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1901) III. 246  Ane mergreit set with stanes.
1705   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) V. 584  He had a most rich George in a Sardonix set with Diamond.
1726   Swift Gulliver I. ii. viii. 157,  I got it [sc. a Maid of Honor's Corn] hollowed into a Cup and set in Silver.
1728   J. Gay Beggar's Opera i. vi. 7  And this Snuff-box... Set in Gold!

 a. pass. To be studded, dotted, lined, etc. with a number of objects; occas. †to be adorned or trimmed with. to be set about (arch.) or to be set round with , to be surrounded or encircled with, to have a circle of.

a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Song of Sol. vii. 2   As an hep of whete, set aboute with lilies.
a1400   Parl. 3 Ages 31  And he assommet and sett of vi and of fyve.
c1400   Anturs of Arth. (Camden) x,  In clething vn-clere Was sette aure [Thornton MS. Cerkelytt] with serpentes, that sate to the sidus.
1474   Caxton tr. Game & Playe of Chesse (1883) iii. ii. 90  Enuyronned and set aboute wyth gardes & wacche-men.
1486   Bk. St. Albans, Her. b iv,  Quadrat is calde in armys whan the felde is set with sum tokyn of armys.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie ii. xviii. 51 b,  A very fayre fountaine, set about with diuers faire cypres trees.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie ii. xxii. 60 b,  A rich pauillion of..satten set with gold and siluer.
1597   J. Gerard Herball i. 6  A brownish stalke..set with long sharpe leaues.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost vi. 755  As with Starrs thir bodies all And Wings were set with Eyes.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1645 (1955) II. 359  An admirable Picture..set about with columns of Alabaster.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1660 (1955) III. 246  The windos & balconies all set with Ladys.
1712   J. Addison Spectator No. 383. ¶4  How thick the City was set with Churches.
1810   Scott Lady of Lake i. 14  Fantastically set With cupola or minaret.
1889   M. E. Carter Mrs. Severn III. iii. viii. 205  The serene sky was set with stars.
1889   A. Conan Doyle Micah Clarke xxiv. 252  A small ante-chamber, set round with velvet settees.

 b. rare in the corresponding active use.

c1386   Chaucer Clerk's Tale 382  A corone on hire heed they han ydressed And sette hire ful of Nowches.
1882   Cent. Mag. 24 398/1  Winter had set them [the summits of the mountain] with snowy castles.

a. To beset or besiege (a place or a person): esp. with about. Obs.

c1400   Rom. Rose 7342  They..set the castel al aboute.
c1425   Wyntoun Cron. viii. xxxi. 5408  He was set harde.
c1430   Syr Tryam. 1307  We here be sett alle abowte.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 715/1,  I set rounde aboute, as a man is with his enemyes, or a beest with hunters.

 b. fig. esp. in pass. phr. to be hard set , †to be ill set , to be in great straits or hard put to it.

1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Rolls) VII. 473  Þe kyng..was hard i-sette wiþ tempest in þe see.
1568   A. Scott Poems (1896) xx. 20  Lufe, Quhilk now setts the so sair.
1572   Taill of Rauf Coilȝear (1882) 449,  I sall hald that I haue hecht, bot I be hard set.
1653   H. More Antidote against Atheisme iii. ix. (heading)    How hard set the Atheist will be for a subterfuge against this story.
1673   O. Heywood Autobiogr., Diaries, & Event Bks. (1883) III. 204  They were ill set to liue.
1737   H. Bracken Farriery Improved xxix. 433  The poor Creature is very hard set to drive his Water from him.
1891   Temple Bar Dec. 514  He..was hard set to restrain himself in his desire.

 a. Of a hunting dog: To mark the position of (game) by stopping dead and pointing the muzzle towards it. (Cf. setter n.1 11.)

1621   G. Markham Hungers Preuention 255  If..you chaunce to see your dogge to make a sudden stop..you shall then presently make into him (for he hath set the Partridge).
1699   A. Boyer Royal Dict. at Arrester,  To set Quails, or Partridges, as a setting Dog does.
1704   Clarendon's Hist. Rebellion III. xiv. 404  To see a Dog set patridge.
1892   Field 7 May 666/3,  I remember once having a young setter dog out with me, when he set a partridge on her nest.

 b. transf. and fig.

1675   J. Smith Christian Relig. Appeal i. v. 23  Yet for all this Tully sets this Royal Game [sc. Varro].
1791   J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1781 II. 379  [Johnson:] Have I said any thing against Mr.****? You have set him, that I might shoot him: but I have not shot him.
1825   T. Hook Sayings & Doings 2nd Ser. I. 5  My reader may perchance have seen a cat set a mouse.
1888   Times 16 Oct. 10/5  The puppy was..encouraged forward on my trail..and ‘set’ me without a fault.

 c. intr. To set game. †Also formerly (of persons), to go setting , to hunt with a setter. to set dead , to make a dead set: see setting n.1 1c.

1775   Johnson Taxation No Tyranny 12  His dog may refuse to set.
1841   H. Miller Old Red Sandstone (1887) iii. 66  The puppy of the setting-dog squats down and sets untaught.
1892   Field 23 July 124/1  He..steals along a few paces, and then sets rigidly, just as an old grey hen flushes.
1897   Badminton Mag. Apr. 456  The mother, twenty yards off, backs her point and sets dead.

d. Of persons, to go a-setting : see setting n.1 1c(b).


 a. Naut. To take the bearings of (an object).

1626   J. Smith Accidence Young Sea-men 18  Set him by the Compasse.
1627   J. Smith Sea Gram. ix. 38  Set the land, how it beares by the Compasse.
1694   P. A. Motteux tr. Rabelais 5th Bk. Wks. v. x,  We weigh'd Anchor, hois'd up Sail, stow'd the Boats, set the Land, and stood for the Offing.
1769   W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine (1780) ,  Setting, We set the Tower of Arabia near the port of Alexandria.
1808   T. Ashe Trav. Amer. 1806 I. 25  Having set the house with a pocket-compass.
1863   J. B. Harbord Gloss. Navigation (at cited word),  
1867   W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk.,  Set the chase, to mark well the position of the vessel chased by bearing.

b. To sight or ‘make’ (land, a vessel). Obs.

1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. vii. 328  When they set land, Some this, some that, doe gesse, this Hill, that Cape.

 a. To mark down as prey, fix on as a victim, make a set at; to watch for the purpose of apprehending or robbing. slang. (Cf. setter n.1 7a.)

1670   Mem. Du Vall 8  He, with his Squadron, overtakes a Coach which they had set over night.
1692   T. Sprat Relation Late Wicked Contrivance i. 50  He might come to Rob, or to Set the House.
1728   J. Gay Beggar's Opera iii. iv. 43  There will be deep Play to-night at Marybone,..I'll give you the Hint who is worth Setting.
1732   Tricks of Town 11  The Dogs that belong to private Families and Shopkeepers, the proper time for setting them is generally soon after Seven in the Morning.
1800   in Cornwallis Corr. (1859) III. 320  The person who procured for me all the intelligence respecting Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and got —— to set him.
1890   Melbourne Argus 2 July 8/3  Two of the fraternity ‘setting’ a young man..and endeavouring to win the gold for which he had laboured.

 b. Phr. to have or get (a person) set : to have a score to settle with, ‘have it in for’ (that person). Austral. and N.Z. slang. Cf. set n.1 7b.

1916   C. J. Dennis Songs Sentimental Bloke (new ed.) 40   This Romeo 'e's lurkin' wiv a crew—A dead tough crowd o' crooks—called Montague. 'Is cliner's push—wot's nick~named Capulet—They 'as 'em set.
c1926   ‘Mixer’ Transport Workers' Song Bk. 17  You growl and swear you can't get work Or the boss has got you set.
1945   S. J. Baker Austral. Lang. vi. 121  A man who has acquired a strong dislike of another person... He gets someone set and words him, rebukes him.
1959   S. J. Baker Drum 112  Get someone set, to have a grudge against a person; to prepare to pay someone out.

126. Sc. Law. To reject, set aside. Obs.

1678   G. Mackenzie Laws & Customes Scotl. ii. 498  Thus an Assiser was set..because he was not twenty five Years of age.
1678   G. Mackenzie Laws & Customes Scotl. ii. 529  To object against a witness in our Law, is called to cast a witness, or to set him.

Phrasal verbs

 PV1. With prepositions in specialized senses (intransitive).  to set about ——  

 a. To begin working at, take in hand, begin upon.

1611   Second Maiden's Tragedy (Malone Soc.) 1182   He will weigh the work he vndertakes, and sett about it een in the best sobrietie of his Iudgem[en]t.
a1616 [see γ. forms].
1637   S. Rutherford Lett. (1664) 189,  I purpose God willing to set about Hosea & to try if I can get it to the presse here.
1707   Ld. Shaftesbury Let. Enthusiasm (1708) 8  Men..are wonderfully happy in a Faculty of deceiving themselves, whenever they set heartily about it.
1784   New Spect. No. 1. 6  My friend sat about it with great diligence.
1819   Scott Bride of Lammermoor xii, in Tales of my Landlord 3rd Ser. II. 307  Let every man and woman here set about their ain business.
1865   J. Ruskin Sesame & Lilies i. 5  This essential education might be more easily got..if they set about it in the right way.
1889   A. Conan Doyle Micah Clarke xxx. 313  We had best set about our part of the contract.

 b. const. inf.

a1300   Cursor Mundi 1580  Þe scham, þe sin þat þan was vte At tell war lang to sett aboute [Gött. sitt aboute, Fairf. syte a-bout].
1736   T. Lediard Life Marlborough I. 147  The Queen set about to form Her Ministry.
1840   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 1 iv. 404  He sets about to clean his land in good earnest.
1889   ‘M. Gray’ Reproach of Annesley I. i. iv. 94  He scrambled to his feet, and set about to console himself.

 c. const. gerund.

1749   Ld. Chesterfield Let. 24 Nov. (1932) (modernized text) IV. 1443,   I..will set about doing the orders contained therein.
a1774   O. Goldsmith tr. P. Scarron Comic Romance (1775) II. xix. 172  Don Sancho's servant..immediately sat about enquiring into Dorothea's conduct.
1865   W. E. Gladstone Gleanings (1879) vii. 34,  I will set about explaining what I mean.
1890   T. F. Tout Hist. Eng. from 1689 173  Peel..set about forming a new party.

 2. To set upon, attack. colloq.

1879   J. W. Horsley Jottings from Jail (1887) 5  This got to my father's ears; when I went home he set about me with a strap until he was tired.
1906   Daily Chron. 22 May 3/3  It is always well to name the antagonist whom you are setting about.
  to set against ——  

1. To make an attack upon, be hostile to. Obs.

c1330   Arth. & Merl. 4874  Þis paiens..oȝains þis children set.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 2082,  I my-selfe with a sowme set þaim agayns.
1542   N. Udall tr. Erasmus Apophthegmes f. 333,  He spared not to sette against Philippus wt moste vehemente oracions.
1600   Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iii. ii. 147  You all are bent To set against mee.
1611   Bible (A.V.) Ezek. xix. 8   The nations set against him on euery side.
1685   R. Baxter Paraphr. New Test. Mark vii. 9  You think it very well done, to set against Godliness and God's own Laws.

 2. To compensate, balance.

1832   H. Martineau Homes Abroad vii. 104  Such a fright as we have had will set against a great deal of the good.

 3. To move in a direction opposed to.

1859   T. Parker Exper. as Minister in Wks. (1865) XII. 318  Public opinion, now setting against this beastly vice.
1889   C. Larking With Everything against Her III. xi. 245  On the last day luck set dead against her.
  to set at ——  

  To assail, attack. (Cf. to set about —— 2 at Phrasal verbs 1, to set against —— 1 at Phrasal verbs 1, to set into —— at Phrasal verbs 1.)

c1430   Pilgr. Lyf Manhode (1869) i. xliii. 26  Ne were ye so gret a ladi, ye shulde right soone haue þe werre, and at yow j wolde sette.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. xlixv,  They were priuely sett at and in many ieopardies.
1849   Tait's Edinb. Mag. 16 262/1  He sets at the church..and he deals it..strong advice and comment.
1874   C. M. Yonge Cameos cxxi, in Monthly Packet June 523,  I would go, although as many devils should set at me as there are tiles on the house-tops.
  to set by ——  

  see 91c.

  to set into ——  

1. To enter or embark upon.

1591   H. Savile tr. Tacitus Life Agricola (1622) 188  Boldnesse to challenge and set into dangers.
1605   Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning ii. sig. Bb1v,  When Schollars come to the practises of professions, or other actions of ciuill life, which when they set into [etc.].

 2. To get into (a certain condition).

1825   in W. Hone Every-day Bk. (1826) I. 292,  I begin..setting into wind to follow the foxhounds in November.
  to set on ——  

  = to set upon —— at Phrasal verbs 1.

c1290   S. Eng. Leg. 16/530  A cristine man sone he mette,..and on him faste he sette.
c1450   Brut ii. 434  He set sore on the Frensshe men.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur ii. x. 87  Syr said a knyght set on arthur for they are wery and forfoughten.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VI f. cxxxvj,  The Frenchemen, beyng sodainly surprised and set on.
1628   J. Earle Micro-cosmogr. xlii. sig. H1v,  He..sets boldly on good natures, as the most vanquishable.
c1660   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1644 (1955) II. 136  The Company behind us, were set on by Rogues.
1820   W. Scoresby Acct. Arctic Regions II. 447  With despair pictured in every face, the crew set on the pumps.
1892   Sat. Rev. 13 Aug. 185/2  If you see a man set on by robbers.
  to set to ——  

  see 14b, 103, 113c.

  to set upon ——  

 a. To attack, assail, fall violently upon.

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis III. 247  The lordes alle upon him sette With drawe swerdes.
1525   J. Russell in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1827) 2nd Ser. I. 300  Wheere the Emperors thought to have set upon them being encamped, they founde them in array and goode ordre.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 716/1  They dyd sette upon me foure to one.
1562   J. Mountgomery in Archaeologia (1883) 47 230  His maister..meteth whithe theeves..And ys sett vpon by them.
1631   W. Gouge Gods Three Arrowes i. §60. 100  David..set upon a Beare at one time, and on a Lion at another, and slew them both.
1663   S. Pepys Diary 11 May (1971) IV. 131,  I was set upon by a great dog, who got hold of my garters.
1722   St. James's Evening Post 14–16 June 2/1  A young Man was set upon by three Rogues..and robb'd of Bills and Money.
1847   Dickens Dombey & Son (1848) xliii. 434  Wounded, hunted, set upon by dogs.
1879   M. J. Guest Lect. Hist. Eng. xii. 109  The Danes came against them and set upon them again and again.

 b. in immaterial sense.

1639   S. Du Verger tr. J. P. Camus Admirable Events 205  Of all brags the foolishest is, that which sets upon the reputation of a weake sex.
1690   J. Locke Two Treat. of Gouernem. i. xi. §118  However sin might set upon him.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 16. ¶3  If I attack the Vicious, I shall only set upon them in a Body.
1875   B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues (ed. 2) I. 356   This is the reason why my three accusers..have set upon me.

 2. To urge strongly, importune. rare.

1652   Earl of Monmouth tr. G. Bentivoglio Hist. Relations Flanders 158  The Princesse was secretly set upon in private to suffer herself to bee conveyed away.
a1715   Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 236  The best of the Episcopal Clergy set upon the Bishops, to lay hold on this opportunity.
1883   G. N. Bankes Cambr. Staircase vi. 95  Milstead again set upon Oxden for his story.

3. = to set about at Phrasal verbs 2. Obs.

1555   W. Waterman tr. J. Boemus Fardle of Facions ii. xii. 300  It behoued them to sende for the Bishoppe, to hallowe the firste corner stone... And then might the Masons sette vpon the reste, but not afore.
1648   T. Gage Eng.-Amer. 146  It was my fortune to set upon a hard and difficult building in a Church of Mixco.
1681   R. L'Estrange tr. Cicero Offices (ed. 2) 69   Him that sets upon Building.
1709   J. Strype Ann. Reformation xxiii. 234  The Dean..exciting them with all his Rhetorick, to set upon the Reparation of it.
1793   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse (ed. 2) §103   To level the Sugar-Loaf..would..be a serious work; as it never could be set upon except when the sea was remarkably still.

 4. Naut. To haul or pull upon.

1793   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse (ed. 2) 196   This tackle being a little slacked,..and then set upon.
1793   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse (ed. 2) 197   The rope..being then set upon by the main tackle.
 PV2. With adverbs in specialized senses.  to set about  

  To circulate, spread about (a statement, report). Now chiefly north. dial.

a1715   Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 168  Many discourses were set about upon this occasion.
1890   Sat. Rev. 4 Oct. 385/1  Alarming reports have been set about as to the imminence of serious trouble.
  to set abroach  

 1. To broach (a cask, liquor).

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis II. 183  Riht as who sette a tonne abroche.
c1460 [see ].
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis i, in tr. Virgil Wks. 209  The Jarrs of gen'rous Wine..He set abroach, and for the Feast prepar'd.
1855   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. IV. xvii. 67  Hogsheads of ale and claret were set abroach in the streets.
14..   Lydgate tr. Hist. Troy (Digby MS.) iv. 2464   He..gan approche & wiþ his swerd to sette a broche..þe Grekys hatful blood.
1605   G. Chapman Al Fooles ii. i,  My Purse set a broch By euerie cheating come you seauen?
1763   C. Johnstone Reverie (new ed.) I. p. iv,   He had drunk of his wine, which now began to warm his heart, and set all his secrets abroach.

 2. To set on foot, set going, give currency or publicity to.

c1475   Mankind 572 in Macro Plays 21  Ther xall be sett a-broche a clerycall mater.
1545   R. Ascham Toxophilus i. f. 19v,  Than euery one of them setteth his shiftes abroche.
1579   S. Gosson Schoole of Abuse f. 14v,  There set they a broche straunge consortes of melodie.
1638   Bp. J. Wilkins Discov. New World (1684) ii. 2  Let but some upstart Heresie be set abroach.
1702   Eng. Theophrastus 324  A studied and a laborious forecast toward the setting of a humour abroach.
1835   R. Browning Paracelsus iii. 110  But 'twas not my desire to set abroach Such memories and forebodings.
  to set abroad  

 1. To spread abroad, spread wide.

1526   Bible (Tyndale) Matt. xxiii. f. xxxijv,   They sett abroade there philateris, and make large borders on there garmenttes.

 2. To publish (a treatise); to circulate (a report); to disseminate (a disease); to set (a matter) on foot.

a1555   J. Bradford in J. Strype Eccles. Mem. (1721) III. App. xlv. 127  Thoughe yt be never so daungerous to me to sett this lyttell Treatys abroad.
1584   T. Cogan Hauen of Health ccxliii. 265  The plague..was set abroade in the towne through buying..bedding..infected.
1594   Shakespeare Titus Andronicus i. i. 192  And set abroad new busines for you all.
1687   G. Miège Great Fr. Dict. ii,  To set a Story abroad.
1759   S. Fielding Hist. Countess of Dellwyn I. 257  Ingeniously set it abroad that a Fire had happened.
  to set adown  

† = to set down at Phrasal verbs 2. Obs.

c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 9822   We weoren..for gode men iholden. a þat Sæxisce men setten [c1300 Otho sette] us a-dune.
a1375   William of Palerne (1867) l. 2459  Þanne as bliue þat barn þe best a-doun sette.
c1385   Chaucer Legend Good Women 226  Vp-on the..gras They settyn hem ful softely adoun.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 107   And I..deme þat I be disposed and i-sette adoun.
a1400   Coer de L. 2142  The steward on knees him set adown.
  to set afloat (†on float)  
Obs. arch.

 1. To launch, float (lit. and fig.).

1559   W. Baldwin et al. Myrroure for Magistrates Cade xi. 1  See here how fortune setting vs a flote, Brought to our nets a portion of our pray.
1575   G. Gascoigne Glasse of Gouernem. iv. iii. sig. I,  I trust maister Philosarchus fees will be sufficient to set both thee and me a floate.
1785   J. Boswell Jrnl. Tour Hebrides 3,  I got our common friends there to assist in setting him afloat.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. I. ii. v. 65  Wondrous leather-roofed Floating-batteries, set afloat by French-Spanish Pacte de Famille.

 2. To bring to the surface (as the dregs of a liquid); hence fig. to set (esp. something bad) in motion, set agog, stir up, make active.

1586   T. Bowes tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. I. 370  The fire of sedition, which setteth a floate all kind of impietie.
1669   W. Charleton Mysterie of Vintners in Two Disc. 184  Seeing all Unsavouriness of Wines whatever seems to proceed from their impurities set afloat.
1724   W. Warburton Misc. Transl. 8  Ill Qualities,..when indiscreetly set on Float, become fatal to the Constitution.
1749   H. Fielding Tom Jones II. v. iii. 132  A very trifling Accident set all his Passions again on Float.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas III. ix. x. 465  Hold your hand..exclaimed I... You must not set my avarice afloat again.

3. To flood (land). Obs.

1692   J. Ray Misc. Disc. v. 68  So much Water..as..caused a considerable Flood.., setting all the Meadows on flote.

4. To cause to become unsettled, ‘carry away’.

a1713   T. Ellwood Hist. Life (1714) 320  [Their] Applause setting his Head afloat, he came up to London.
  to set apart  

1. To lay aside, put on one side. Obs.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/1  You may sette this a parte for a whyle, for we shall nat occupye it.

2. To get rid of, do away with. Obs.

1455   Rolls of Parl. V. 279/2  To..purvey for restfull..reule in Wales, and to sette aparte such riottes and disobeisaunces as have be there.
1475   Rolls of Parl. VI. 143/2  That the said blessed intent,..and last Will..be not..fordoon and sett a parte.

 a. To dismiss from one's consideration; to put out of one's mind; to cease to entertain, put aside, discontinue. Obs.

?1473   Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Recuyell Hist. Troye (1894) II. lf. 337v,  They..sette aparte all dangers and paryllis.
1515   in I. S. Leadam Select Cases Star Chamber (1911) II. 103  To set aparte all suche neue besynes as that thenne they hadde begonne.
?1566   J. Phillip Commodye Pacient & Meeke Grissill sig. G.ii,  Be frollicke and ioyfull set sorowes aparte.
1609   P. Holland tr. A. Marcellinus Rom. Hist. xx. vii. 152  Sequestring and setting apart his anger for that time.
a1641   H. Spelman Hist. Sacrilege (1698) 144  They all set all other Business a-part.

 b. in absolute ppl. phr.

?1473   Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Recuyell Hist. Troye (1894) I. lf. 72v,  That thou retorne in to the mercy of thy fader..alle excusacions set a part.
1508   J. Fisher Treat. Penyt. Psalmes sig. aa.iiiv,  Set aperte the goodnes and gentylnes of almyghty god.
1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. xiiijv,  He would..all delaye sette a parte, repaire into Germany.
a1616   Shakespeare King John (1623) iii. i. 85  All reuerence set apart To him and his vsurp'd authoritie.
1636   T. Heywood Challenge i, in Wks. (1874) V. 11  To parallel the Queene in beauty and vertue?.. Which he may easily doe, her Prerogative of birth set apart.

 4. To separate for a special purpose; to devote to some use.

1604   S. Hieron Preachers Plea in Wks. (1620) I. 492  Whom God did neuer set a part to that holy seruice.
1611   Bible (A.V.) Exod. xiii. 12   Thou shalt set apart [ Coverdale, sunder out] vnto the Lord all that openeth the matrix.
c1680   W. Beveridge Serm. (1729) I. 13  If no places were set apart for the worship of God.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 10. ¶2  Families, that set apart an Hour in every Morning for Tea.
1853   F. D. Maurice Prophets & Kings Old Test. ii. 22  A portion of the sacrifice was set apart for him.
  to set aside (†on side)  

 1. See simple physical senses and aside adv. 1   3; to put on one side.

1412–20   Lydgate tr. Hist. Troy ii. 2696  Make þi choyse..Whan euery drogge & pot is set a-syde.
c1430   Art Nombryng (1922) 10  Write a cifre in the place of the figure sette a-side.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/2  Set this asyde, tyll I call for it.
a1600   T. Deloney Pleasant Hist. John Winchcomb (1619) i. sig. Cijv,  Set your link aside and giue mee your hand.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues,  Remouvoir, to remoue, retire, withdraw, set aside, put away.
1614   A. Gorges tr. Lucan Pharsalia viii. 343  His Roman pile was set aside.
1697   Dryden tr. Georgics iii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 103  When she has calv'd, then set the Dam aside.

2. To discontinue the performance or practice of; also, to discard the intention of doing (something). Obs.

1426   Lydgate tr. G. de Guileville Pilgrimage Life Man 22458  Late lordes..Sette asyde alle fflaterye!
c1440   Lydgate Horse, Goose & Sheep 90  Lett alle werr and stryffe be sett A-syde.
1528   Rede me & be nott Wrothe sig. d viiv,  Sett thy busynes a whyle a side, And lett vs have fyrst a songe.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 711/2  The kynge wyll, all other thynges set asyde, that you examyne this mannes mater.
1600   Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iv. i. 182  Our purpos'd hunting shall be set aside.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis viii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 451  Set your Tasks aside.

3. ? To repulse. Obs.

1522   Worlde & Chylde (de Worde) (1909) sig. A.vi,   To set our enemy sharpely on syde.

 a. To dismiss from one's mind, abandon the consideration of.

c1407   Lydgate Reson & Sensuallyte 3189  And al they mente in honest wyse, Vnleful lust was set a-syde.
1540   J. Palsgrave tr. G. Gnapheus Comedye of Acolastus ii. ii. sig. Kij,  Settynge care and thought a syde.
1562   Aberd. Kirk Session Rec. (Spalding Club) 4   All vder excusatioun set asyde.
1567   T. Harman Caueat for Commen Cursetors (new ed.) Ep. Ded. sig. Aiiv,   Settinge asyde all feare.
a1616   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 3 (1623) iii. iii. 119  All dissembling set aside, Tell me for truth, the measure of his Loue.
1710   W. Wycherley Let. to Pope 1 Apr.,  Yet..set raillery or compliment aside, I can bear your absence..better than I can your company when you are in pain.
1821   Scott Kenilworth II. xi. 274  To make her lady's safety the principal object of her care, setting all other considerations aside.
const. inf.
1575   G. Gascoigne Fruites of Warre xl, in Posies sig. Hv,  I set aside to tell the restlesse toyle, The mangled corps.

 b. In imper. or ppl. const.: Excluding, excepting, except for, apart from.

1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit. i. 567,  I saw Solyhill: but in it, setting a side the Church, there is nothing worth sight.
1652   Earl of Monmouth tr. G. Bentivoglio Hist. Relations Flanders 55  And set wine aside..they abound in all things necessary for human life.
1657   Earl of Monmouth tr. P. Paruta Politick Disc. 107  But set this respect aside, to live out of a mans Countrie, hath no resemblance of evil.
1760   Impostors Detected II. iii. xi. 123  He was a very good kind of a man, setting aside his figure.
1883   E. Lawless Millionaire's Cousin iv. 95  Setting aside this, all inequality so far as I can see ceases.

c. In ppl. const.: Not taking account of, let alone. Obs.

1753   L. M. tr. J. Du Bosc Accomplish'd Woman I. 61,  I think, that setting aside scandal, it were enough to escape their [men's] censure.
1785   Liberal Amer. I. 63,  I flattered myself that the sight of a country..which is certainly beautiful, setting aside the charm of novelty, would have amused her.

 5. To reject or throw over as being of no value, cogency, or pertinence; to overrule.

1594   W. West Symbolæogr.: 2nd Pt. ii. Chancerie §22  Equitie..setting on side the common rules of the law.
1688   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) IV. 583  Such a dispencing power, as might..set aside all Lawes.
1763   H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Painting III. i. 33  [He] was brought to set aside his evidence.
1870–2   H. P. Liddon Some Elements Relig. (1904) iv. §i. 133  The existence of moral evil is too patent..a subject, to be permanently set aside by human beings.
1874   W. Stubbs Constit. Hist. I. vi. 135  The rule of hereditary succession was..set aside.
1885   R. Bridges Nero iii. i. 12/2  To set our honoured oaths and firm allegiance To you aside, as being unjustly sworn.

 6. To discard or reject from use or service, in favour of another.

1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day iii. K iijv,  Settinge a side such thinges as are requisite for the soules health: And omitting the obseruance of gods holy commaundementes.
1691   Trials Sir R. Graham, etc. 24  Mr. Cradock. My Lord, I know not how I came to be summoned upon this Jury; for I am no Freeholder. L. C. J. Holt. Then set him aside.
1779   Mirror No. 39,  When a man of acknowledged honour..sees himself set aside, and obliged to give way to the worthless and contemptible.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. II. vi. 5  If that national force [the militia] were set aside, the gentry of England must lose much of their dignity and influence.
1861   Ld. Brougham Brit. Constit. xv. 220  To set aside the elder or Stuart branch, and to substitute..the younger.
1879   M. J. Guest Lect. Hist. Eng. xliii. 440  The English prayer-book was set aside, and the Latin mass said again.

 7. To annul, quash, render void or nugatory. Chiefly Law.

1765   C. Johnstone Chrysal (ed. 4) IV. i. xii. 78,   I have it in my power to set aside the whole unnatural, nonsensical will.
1789   C. Durnford & E. H. East Rep. Cases King's Bench III. 5  A rule to shew cause..why the verdict should not be set aside and a new trial granted.
1877   C. H. Spurgeon Serm. XXIII. 61  Nor does it set aside the necessity that those men should cheerfully accept the gospel of Christ.
1883   Law Rep.: Queen's Bench Div. 11 591  A rule was subsequently obtained by Mr. Woollett to set that nonsuit aside.

 8. To separate out for a particular purpose.

1720   T. Gordon & J. Trenchard Independent Whig No. 4,  Particular Persons who are set aside and paid for that Purpose.
1890   T. F. Tout Hist. Eng. from 1689 91  To set aside a part of the national revenue every year.
1891   Law Times 92 130/2  To set aside a portion of his wages in order to meet Lloyd's debt.
  to set away  

1. To remove, do away with.

c1430   Art Nombryng (1922) 16  Settyng away alle that is ouer hym in respect of the doublede.
1549   H. Latimer 2nd Serm. before Kynges Maiestie 7th Serm. sig. Ddiv,  Knoweledge..causeth vs to forget all, and set a waye discipline.
1687   G. Miège Great Fr. Dict. ii,  To set (or put) away, oter.

 2. = set by at sense 91c.

1747   H. Glasse Art of Cookery ii. 52  Strain it and set it away for Use.

 3. intr. To set off. north. dial.

1817   Scott Rob Roy II. xiv. 316  Mattie had ill-will to see me set awa' on this ride.
  to set back  

 1. To hinder the progress of, give a check to. Hence, with a sum of money as compl.: to cost (a person so much). Also fig., to take aback, to disconcert.

[1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 712/2,  I set backewarde, or hynder a mater that it gothe nat forwarde... I have set hym backwarde this mornynge more than he shall come forwarde these seven yeres.]
1600   P. Holland tr. Livy Rom. Hist. iii. 118  Thou hadst more need to set me backe with force of arms.
1647   T. May Hist. Parl. i. ii. 20  The endammaging and setting backe of that newly established Kingdome.
a1677   I. Barrow Serm. Several Occasions (1678) 254  By so eagerly pursuing, he effectually setteth back his designs.
1695   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) V. 216  This succeeded much wet, & set harvest extremely backwards.
1748   S. Richardson Clarissa VI. xix. 56  This had like to have set all back again.
1847   Spirit of Times 31 May 159/1  The captain used to boast that he could pack a gallon without its setting him back any.
1884   ‘M. Twain’ Adventures Huckleberry Finn viii. 68  The nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was all done with witchcraft.
1900   G. Ade Fables in Slang 131  Daughter was..seated under a Canopy that had set Father back thirty-two Dollars.
1922   S. Lewis Babbitt x. 142  How much'll it set me back?
1937   J. Steinbeck Of Mice & Men 79  ‘What's it set you back?’ George asked. ‘Two and a half [dollars].’
1940   H. L. Ickes Secret Diary (1954) III. 183  This set him back on his heels.
1966   ‘J. Hackston’ Father clears Out 53  ‘Goin' t' leave it?’ the prince asked, a bit set back.
1974   Country Life 14 Nov. 1445/1  Even a moderately-sized piece of cheesecake sets you back 20p.

 2. To put (a clock, its hands) to an earlier time.

1635   F. Quarles Emblemes v. vii. 2  Or has some frolick heart set back the hand Of Fates perpetuall Clock?
1892   Illustr. London News 9 Jan. 45/1  They reconcile people to monarchy and set back the clock of progress.

 3. intr. To flow in the reverse direction.

1803   S. Smith Wks. (1859) I. 24/1  Is not the tide of opinions..setting back with a strength equal to its flow?
  to set by  

1. To put on one side, lay aside. (lit. and fig.). Obs.

1603   Shakespeare Hamlet v. ii. 236  Set it by [1623 Set by a-while], Ile haue another bowt first.
1631   B. Jonson Staple of Newes iii. ii. 194 in Wks. II,  To be separated, and set by For Vshers, to old Countesses.
a1642   J. Suckling Goblins i, in Wks. (1874) II. 16  Set him by, till he's sober.
1654   E. Wolley tr. G. de Scudéry Curia Politiæ 12  You have forced him not onely to set by his Mil[i]tia, and to depose his Crown.

 2. To lay up or lay by for future use.

c1595   T. Maynarde Sir Francis Drake his Voy. (1849) 8  To trimme his shippes..set by some new pinnaces.
1726   G. Leoni tr. L. B. Alberti Archit. I. 100/2  The Pantry for setting by what is left after meals.
1819   Scott Bride of Lammermoor xii, in Tales of my Landlord 3rd Ser. II. 307  Let the house be redd up, the broken meat set bye.
1850   S. Warner Wide Wide World xxxvii,  After that many a basket of apples..was set by for her.

 a. To reject, dismiss; to disregard, scorn.

1592   T. Nashe Strange Newes in Wks. (1910) I. 294  No more set by, but set by, thrust aside.
1636   T. Heywood Challenge i, in Wks. (1874) V. 9  Birth wee set by.
1660   T. Fuller Mixt Contempl. ii. xiv. 23  Being now set by, layd aside as uselesse, and not sett by.
1704   J. Norris Ess. Ideal World ii. i. 36  To set by this conclusion for a while.
1758   S. Hayward Seventeen Serm. xvi. 481  'Tis indisputable... Devils cannot set it by, and the judge will not.

b. setting by: setting aside, not counting.

a1592   R. Greene Comicall Hist. Alphonsus (1599) i. sig. A3v,  Setting by Alphonsus power diuine, What man aliue..Could counteruail his courage.
1657   P. Heylyn Vndeceiving of People 7  Setting by all children which live under their parents [etc.]..the number of the residue will be found so small.

4. To give up (doing something). Obs.

a1674   Ld. Clarendon Surv. Leviathan (1676) 282  To set by disputing with him, as one that is to be convinced only by himself.
  to set down  
(Cf. to set adown at Phrasal verbs 2)
 1. See simple trans. senses and down adv.

 a. To cause to sit down. rare.

a1470   W. Gregory Chron. in Hist. Coll. Citizen London (Camden) 222  The Erle of Worseter was take before the mayre and sette downe in the myddys of the hy tabylle.
1525   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Chron. II. ccxxvii. 295 b,  The duke of Orlyaunce set euery man downe.
1835   N. P. Willis Pencillings III. 135  We were set down..at nine, to cold grouse, salmon [etc.].
1861   S. Brooks Silver Cord (1865) v. 27  The little girl having..been..set down, in a half-darkened apartment, to amuse herself with the pictures in Fox's Book of Martyrs.

b. To encamp (an army or host). Obs.

a1616   Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) v. iii. 2  We will before the walls of Rome to morrow Set downe our Hoast.
1621   R. Montagu Diatribæ Hist. Tithes 34  Because he did not..spend so many bookes..as Antimachus did, before he sate downe the seuen Princes at Thebes.

 c. To place, situate, locate.

1827   Edinb. Weekly Jrnl. 28 Feb. in Scott Chron. Canongate Introd. App.,  Wherever the belligerent powers might be pleased to set down this new theatre.
1882   W. Morris in J. W. Mackail Life W. Morris (1899) II. 67  Lewes is set down better than any town I have seen in England.
a1887   R. Jefferies Field & Hedgerow (1889) 316  He was the exact counterpart of the London Jew dealer, set down in the midst of the country.

 d. Falconry. (See quots.)

1614   S. Latham Falconry i. xi. 40  You doe at her first setting downe, giue her as much as she list to take into her gorge.
1891   J. E. Harting Bibliotheca Accipitraria 229  Set down to moult, put into the mew.

a. To bring low, debase; to depose from office; to put down, quell. Obs.

c1369   Chaucer Bk. Duchesse 635  That is broght up she set al doun.
1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Rolls) VII. 261  In þat counsaille were y-sett doun meny bisshops and abbotes.
1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Rolls) VIII. 179  He was i-sette doun of the fourþe pope Innocentius.
a1578   R. Lindsay Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) II. 141  Quhat was best to be done aganis..thair new reliegieoun and to sie quhat way thay might sett done the samin.

 b. To lower (a person's pride, etc.); to take down, snub.

1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison IV. iv. 37  Sir Harry own'd himself to blame; and thus the Lady's pride was set down softly.
1846   D. Jerrold Mrs. Caudle xxxi. 121  Like her impudence!—I set her down for the rest of the evening.
1889   A. V. Carr Margaret Maliphant I. i. 11,  I was such a headstrong girl that it took a deal to set me down.

a. To slacken (the strings or pegs of a musical instrument). Obs.

1565   T. Cooper Thesaurus at Chelys,  Intendere chelyn, to wreste vp the stringes of the lute. Laxare chelyn, to sette downe.
a1616   Shakespeare Othello (1622) ii. i. 201  O, you are well tun'd now, But I'le set downe the pegs, that make this musique.

 b. To beat down to a shape.

1703   R. Neve City & Countrey Purchaser 193  So much of the Sheet as lies over the Cavity is set down into it with the Seaming-mallet.
1843   C. Holtzapffel Turning & Mech. Manip. I. 213  When the iron is to be set down..it is first nicked with a round fuller.

 a. To place so as to rest upon a surface; to put down, as upon the ground. Also absol.

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Trin. Cambr.) l. 12958   On an heȝe pinacle he set him doun Of þe temple.
?1560   H. Rhodes Bk. Nurture (new ed.) sig. A.iiv,   In some places the keruer doth vse to shew and set down,..& in some place, he beareth the first dish, and..setteth it downe couered before the degre of a knyght.
1573   G. Harvey Let.-bk. (1884) 4  He hath set down his staf.
1609   Shakespeare Sonnets cxliii. sig. I2v,  As a..huswife..Sets downe her babe.
1796   M. Robinson Angelina III. 180  Sir Edward sat down the candlestick.
1825   Scott Betrothed x, in Tales Crusaders I. 185  The body was here set down before the door of the chapel.
1878   F. A. Kemble Rec. Girlhood II. i. 28  If you attempt to lift or carry me down the stage, I will kick and scream till you set me down.

 b. To cause or allow to alight from a vehicle; to ‘drop’ (a person at a place). Also absol.(Said of the person or persons in charge of or occupying the vehicle, or of the vehicle itself.)

1669   S. Pepys Diary 18 Mar. (1976) IX. 487  My wife and I going by coach, she went with us to Holburne, where we set her down.
1694   W. Congreve Double-dealer v. i. 78  My Coach shall set you down.
1715   J. Gay Let. to Pope 8 July,  I have just set down Sir Samuel Garth at the Opera.
1782   F. Burney Cecilia IV. viii. i. 155,  I knew the postilion very well... And then he told me where he had set you down.
1841   Thackeray Great Hoggarty Diamond ii,  A number of carriages full of ladies were drawing up and setting down.
1844   Act 7 & 8 Vict. c. 85 §6  Such Train shall..take up and set down Passengers at every Passenger Station.
1889   ‘Mrs. Alexander’ Crooked Path I. iv. 110  The carriage is to come back for us after setting you down at the theatre.

 a. To put down in writing or in print; to put on paper; to enter in a catalogue or account; to write out, compose; to put on record; to record, relate, give an account of.

1562   H. Baker Well Sprynge Sci. f. 7v,  I set downe 4. for the fourth figure (vnder ye line).
1576   G. Gascoigne Droomme of Doomes Day ii. E viij,  [In the Scriptures] there are set down two..entyer parts of rightuousnesse.
1579   S. Gosson Schoole of Abuse Ep. Ded. sig. ☞4,  The harshest penne maye sett downe somewhat woorth the reading.
1600   Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream i. ii. 18  You, Nick Bottom are set downe for Pyramus.
1605   Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning i. sig. H1,  After the Creation was finished, it is sette downe vnto vs, that man was placed in the Garden to worke therein.
1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit. i. 288  And here I am willing to set down their names.
1615   R. Cocks Diary (1883) I. 70,  I forgot to set downe how I receaved a letter from Martin de Guinia.
1663   S. Patrick Parable of Pilgrim (1687) xi. 59  You will expect..that I should set down at large the particulars of every days conference.
1687   A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant ii. 182  A great many good Ports that are not set down in the Maps.
1712   R. Steele Spectator No. 266. ⁋2  Her Women..are alphabetically set down in her Book.
1779   J. Moore View Society & Manners France (1789) I. ix. 62,  I set down the whole scene as soon as F—— left me.
1806   J. Beresford Miseries Human Life I. iii. 49  My youngest boy..bethought himself of setting down a few ‘School-miseries’.
1863   C. Cowden Clarke Shakespeare-characters xvi. 393,  I have always regretted that Hazlitt set down that passage.
1886   W. Besant Children of Gibeon II. ii. v. 36  It would not be fair to set down in cold blood the things he habitually said.

b. to set down the or one's period : to come to a final decision. Obs.

1590   R. Greene Neuer too Late i. 8  They set downe the period with a deepe sigh.
1590   R. Greene Mourning Garment 17  At last she set downe her period on the face of Alexis, thinking he was the fairest.

c. To fix at a certain amount. Obs.

1599   R. Greene George a Greene sig. G1v,  George a Greene, set downe the king of Scots His ransome.
1621   R. Cocks Diary (1883) II. 141  It being the price sett downe.
1654   J. Bramhall Just Vindic. Church of Eng. iv. 85  Prescribed the indowments of Vicars, set down the wages of Priests.

 d. To put down, as in a schedule or table, to be performed at a certain time; †to appoint a time for the performance of (something).

1597   Shakespeare Richard III iii. iv. 42  We haue not yet set downe this day of triumph.
1608   Shakespeare Richard II iv. i. 309  On Wednesday next we solemnely set downe [1597 proclaime] Our Coronation.
1795   C. Abbot Jurisdict. Court Great Sessions Wales 120  The plaintiff must..set down his cause to be heard.
1819   W. P. Taunton Rep. Cases Comm. Pleas VII. 85  Cases out of Chancery..cannot be set down nor heard, unless they are signed by a Serjeant.
1889   W. M. Acworth Railways of Eng. 203  The Great Western express..was set down to leave Didcot..3 minutes earlier.
1893   Weekly Notes 68/1  After the cause had been set down for trial.

6. To lay down (a principle), prescribe (a regulation, mode of procedure). Obs.

1576   A. Fleming tr. C. Plinius Novocomensis in Panoplie Epist. 257  Whiles I set doune directions and precepts.
1578   J. Lyly Euphues f. 85v,  Shee endeauoureth to sette downe good lawes.
1625   Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 28   Therfore set it downe; That an Habit of Secrecy, is both Politick, and Morall.
1641   Milton Of Reformation 47  If..the Constitution of the Church be already set down by divine prescript.
1688   Lett. conc. Pres. St. Italy 30  All of that Cabale had set down this for a Rule.

 a. To determine or resolve upon. Also set down one's rest (see rest n.3 Phrases 3a). Obs.

1582   N. Lichefield tr. F. L. de Castanheda 1st Bk. Hist. Discouerie E. Indias xxx. 73 b,  Of the meeting of the King..and the Captaine generall, at which time there was set downe a Trade and Factorie.
a1616   Shakespeare Cymbeline (1623) i. iv. 162  Wee will haue these things set downe by lawfull Counsell.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts i. 87  [He] must..set it downe with his owne heart to undergoe resolutely all the difficulties that [etc.].

 b. pass. and intr. To be resolved, resolve. Obs. exc. north. dial. const. inf.

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) i. v. sig. D4,  One, that to praise well, one must first set downe with himselfe, what it is to be excellent.
1603   R. Knolles Gen. Hist. Turkes 295  A man set downe to mischiefe.
1684   N. Lee Constantine iii. ii. 36  If you set down t'enjoy me, Sir.

 a. To estimate, reckon; †in early use with obj. and compl., or with clause; now only, to regard (a person) as, take (him) for, consider (him) to be (so-and-so).

1798   Geraldina I. 183,  I never see a library of books with highly gilt bindings, but I set down that the owner seldom opens them.
1799   H. Lee Canterbury Tales (ed. 2) I. 198   The playful unconscious character she had first been set down.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas I. i. xii. 107  The corregidor..set me down for the culprit.
1815   Zeluca III. 9  He sat himself down as invulnerable.
1828   Scott Aunt Margaret's Mirror ii,  You had best set him down a Jesuit.
1841   Dickens Barnaby Rudge xlviii. 214  Those who cling to the truth and support the right cause, are set down as mad.
1872   J. Hartley Yorks. Ditties 2nd Ser. 118  They used to be sat daan to be young ens 'at hadn't le'nt wit.
1889   F. Barrett Under Strange Mask I. iv. 68  He would set her down at once for an impertinent..busy-body.

 b. To attribute, or put down to.

1822   C. Lamb Mod. Gallantry in Elia 1st Ser.,  He could not set it down to caprice.
1877   C. M. Yonge Cameos cxxxiii, in Monthly Packet Feb. 132  This, as usual, was set down to malice prepense on his side.
 9. Now dial.

 a. refl. To seat oneself. (Cf. 3) †Also, to go down on one's knees: cf. sense 2.

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 14092   For-wit his fete sco sett hir dun.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur i. xix. 65  He sette hym doune by a fontayne.
1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. John vi. 1–4  Iesus, beyng sumwhat separate from the people, setteth hym down on the hyll.
1694   Acct. Several Late Voy. (1711) i. 64  They set themselves down on the Grass.
1719   D. Defoe Life Robinson Crusoe (Globe) 15   We..set us down to fish.

 b. pass. To be seated. (Cf. 4) Also transf. to be settled in a place.

a1400  (▸a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 13495   All right þar war þai sett dun.
1567   W. Painter Palace of Pleasure II. iv. f. 13,  The King and Ariobarzanes being set down at a table.
1622   J. Mabbe tr. M. Alemán Rogue ii. 229  When I was set downe to my meat.
1741   C'tess of Hartford in C'tess of Hartford & C'tess of Pomfret Corr. (1805) III. 189  When I am set peacefully down at my farm I shall often read over your letters.
1776   S. J. Pratt Pupil of Pleasure II. 74,  I was just set down to the card-table at the Delmores.
1815   Scott Guy Mannering I. xvi. 258  When all should be gone to bed, or set down to cards, which is the same thing.
With mixed construction.
1582   T. Watson Passionate Cent. of Loue in Poems (1870) 38  My harte is sett him downe twixt hope and feares Vpon the stonie banke of high desire.
a1616   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 3 (1623) iv. iii. 2  The King by this, is set him downe to sleepe.

 c. intr. To sit down. (Cf. 5.)

c1400   Rule St. Benet (Verse) 1741  Þai sal set down And mak a schort colaciown.
1442   Aberdeen Reg. (1844) I. 7  That..[he] sal cum..and set downe on his kneis.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/1,  I set downe, I rest me on a seate, je massis.
1636   P. Heylyn Hist. Sabbath i. 124  That we should..set down with modesty,..to heare the Law.
1685   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) IV. 473  All the Gent:..in his traine setting downe at Table with him.
1720   Humourist 212  Till he set down to Dinner.
1794   A. M. Bennett Ellen I. 28  He had just..set down to his coffee.
1809   S. Smith Serm. l. 43  He is ever ready..to say a grace to God, before he sets down to feast with Mammon.

d. to set down by = to put up with. Cf. to sit down 4 at sit v. Phrasal verbs 1.

a1630   F. Moryson in Shakespeare's Europe (1903) i. i. 64  The Venetians..having a very rich Shipp robbed by Turkish Pyratts.., were forced to sett downe by the losse.

 10. refl. To begin to devote oneself to.

1864   J. H. Newman Apologia 243,  I set myself down to my translation of St. Athanasius.
1891   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 150 173/1  In his green old age, he set himself down to write this great dictionary.

11. intr. To be encamped; to ‘sit down’ before (a town) to besiege it. Obs. Cf. a (b).

a1616   Shakespeare Antony & Cleopatra (1623) iii. xiii. 171  Cæsar sets downe in Alexandria.
a1616   Shakespeare All's Well that ends Well (1623) i. i. 117  Man setting downe before you, will vndermine you, and blow you vp.
1621   M. Wroth Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania 130  Then did the braue Generall set down before Thessalonica.
1631   P. Heylyn Hist. St. George 248  Nothing to stop our march, till we set downe With all our troopes, before the Holy Towne.

 12. intr. To have a direction downwards.

1747   W. Hooson Miners Dict. sig. S2b,  If a fair leading sets down under the second Sett, it may in all probability lead down to a third, and so on.
  to set forth  
See simple senses and forth adv.

 a. To thrust forth. Obs.

a1225   Leg. Kath. 827  Ah nu we beoð of se feor for þe iflut hidere, þu schalt setten sikel forð.
1553   T. Wilson Arte of Rhetorique 118  Some settes forth their lippes two ynches good beyonde their teeth.

b. To direct or send forward, set on the way.

1525   Lee in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1846) 3rd Ser. II. 75  To sett forthe the standard against thies Philistees.
1549   H. Latimer Serm. Ploughers (1868) 17,  I have assaied to sette furth my plough to proue what I coulde do.
1590   H. Barwick Breefe Disc. Weapons 7  My commaunder commaunds me to set foorth of my band of 200, one hundred, to keepe a straight or passage.

c. To arrange or dispose in a certain manner; to lay out. Obs.

?c1450   in G. J. Aungier Hist. & Antiq. Syon Monastery (1840) 373  The butler schal sett forthe the pottys..up on eche table.
a1616   Shakespeare King John (1623) ii. i. 295  W'el set forth In best appointment all our Regiments.
1653   T. Barker Art of Angling 1  A man that goeth to the River..must understand..to set forth his Tackles.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost vii. 429  There the Eagle and the Stork..set forth Thir Aierie Caravan high over Sea's Flying.

 a. To send out (soldiers, etc.) for service; hence, to equip, fit out (men, a fleet, a voyage). Obs.

1451 [implied in: Rolls of Parl. V. 225/1  Noon owner, Vitailler, nor setter-forth of eny Shippe or Vessell. (at setter-forth n.)].
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) lxi. 213   They sette forth a galay & .xxx. paynyms therin.
1584 [see α. forms].
1603   G. Owen Descr. Penbrokshire (1891) 41  They are forced to sett furthe manye to theire owne dislike, althoughe the best that cold be founde.
1630   R. Norton tr. W. Camden Hist. Princesse Elizabeth i. 68  He intended to set forth a voyage into West India.
1631   B. Jonson Staple of Newes ii. v. 42 in Wks. II,  Setting forth some Lady, Will cost as much as furnishing a Fleete.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1667 (1955) III. 489  The charge of setting forth a Fleete.
1702   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) V. 507  Every Missioner should besides the 20 pounds to set the person forth, should have..50 pounds per Annum.
1805   Act 45 Geo. III c. 72 §7  If such Ship or Vessel so retaken shall appear to have been, after the taking by His Majesty's Enemies, by them set forth as a Ship or Vessel of War.

b. To furnish with what is necessary. Obs.

c1610–15   tr. St. Gregory of Nyssa Life St. Macrina in C. Horstmann Lives Women Saints (1886) 207  Haue you nothing..lying in store, wherewith her exequies may be sett forth?

c. To furnish, provide (entertainment). Obs.

1526   Bible (Tyndale) John ii. 10   All men att the begynnynge sett forth goode wyne.
1613   S. Purchas Pilgrimage 330  Certain Priests, whose office it was to set forth publike playes and games in honor of their Gods.
1693   W. Congreve in Dryden tr. Juvenal Satires xi. 219  When Poor Rutilus spends all his worth, In hopes of setting one good Dinner forth.

 a. To provide, allot, or set apart for a purpose.

1596   J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1895) II. 358  Jn this ordour..ar mony sett furth to hald sitiȝenis in peice and in thair office.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts ii. 47  When as my Church shall have endured that full proportion of affliction, which I have set forth for it.
1684   in J. A. Picton City of Liverpool: Select. Munic. Rec. (1883) I. 318  The wast ground..formerly set forth for that purpose.

b. To put aside as tithe; = to set out at Phrasal verbs 2   (b).

1548   Act 2 & 3 Edw. VI c. 13 §2  Yf any person carrye awaye his corne or haye or his other prediall tythes before the tythe thereof be sett forthe.
1654   W. Sheppard Parson's Guide vi. 17  For Predial Tithes, the tenth part of the profits are to be set forth and divided from the nine parts.

 c. To lay out (money); = to lay forth 3 at lay v.1 Phrasal verbs; = to put forth at put v. Phrasal verbs 1.

1622   Bacon Hist. Raigne Henry VII 208  This [sum of money] to bee set forth in Lands, of the best and most certaine Reuenue.

 4. To promulgate, publish, issue (a regulation, proclamation, etc.).

1567   T. Harman Caueat for Commen Cursetors (new ed.) Ep. Ded. sig. Aii,   Many good..lawes and actes made and set forthe in this..realme.
1583   P. Stubbes Second Pt. Anat. Abuses sig. C8v,  If the prince than doe set foorth a lawe contrarie to the lawe of God.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1651 (1955) III. 45  Our Religion, that had neither appointed, nor set forth, any Houres of Prayer, or Breviaries.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 17. ⁋2  The Rules of the Club, as set forth, in a Table, intituled, The Act of Deformity.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. I. iii. iii. 113  Lafayette,..took upon him to set forth more than one deprecatory oration.
1869   C. M. Yonge Cameos xcii, in Monthly Packet Jan. 32  A proclamation was set forth placing a price..on his head.

 5. To publish (a literary work).

1535   Coverdale   I toke the more upon me to set forth this speciall translacyon.
1616   Greenes Mourning Garment Concl. sig. K3v,  I haue..set forth many Pamphlets full of much loue and little Scholarisme.
1628   S. Ward in Ussher's Lett. 394  Dr. Jackson hath lately set forth a Book of the Attributes of God.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1645 (1955) II. 469  Father Kircher, who was then setting forth his greate work Obeliscus Pamphilius.
1779   Mirror No. 21 (1787) I. 154  The latter has set forth his in print.

 a. To express in words, give an account of, present a statement of, esp. in order, distinctly, or in detail; to declare, expound, relate, narrate, state, describe; †to describe the features or characters of.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/1  Now have I shewed you in a generaltie the contentes of the chapiter, but to set forthe the partyculers requyreth a further layser.
1549   Bk. Common Prayer Svpper of the Lorde f. cxxviiv,  That thei maie..set furthe thy true and liuely worde.
1549   H. Latimer Serm. Ploughers (1868) 38  One that wyl set furth papistrie aswel as him selfe wyll do.
1589   G. Puttenham Arte Eng. Poesie i. xi. 20  They set forth the dolefull falles of infortunate & afflicted Princes.
1592   A. Day Eng. Secretorie ii. sig. P3,  As if in setting forth our most gracious Soueraign we should say: That Goddes like adorned with high aspects,..Shee issued forth.
a1660   N. Rogers (title)    The Rich Fool, set forth in an exposition on that parable. Luke 12, 16–22.
1688   Lett. conc. Pres. St. Italy 31  A Sect of men that were set forth as Monsters.
1692   R. L'Estrange Fables lxxx. 78  In These Three Fables, is set forth the Vanity of Unnatural Wishes, and Foolish Prayers.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 54. ⁋3  A Treatise, wherein I shall set forth the Rise and Progress of this famous Sect.
1746   J. Hervey Medit. (1818) 151  Even fancy has her merit when she sets forth in such pleasing imagery, the crucified Jesus.
1780   W. Coxe Acct. Russ. Discov. 254  The instructions given to the Captain set forth that a private ship had in 1762 found there a commodious haven.
1801   Farmer's Mag. Jan. 80  An advertisement..inserted in some of the public papers, setting forth the miseries of the poor.
1866   C. Kingsley Hereward the Wake I. i. 34  Hereward, whose history this tale sets forth.
1872   C. E. Maurice Life S. Langton i. 21  One after another he set forth the hideous corruptions which were growing up.
1893   National Observer 14 Jan. 201/1  He invites the fault-finders to set forth their grievances.

 b. To represent in art. ? Obs.

1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie i. viii. 8 b,  I haue thought good..too sette foorth vnto you, a woman as shee goeth in the streete.
1662   J. Evelyn Sculptura iv. 38  But to proceed, Albert [Durer] being very young set forth our Lady, some designes of Horses after the life, [etc.].

 7. To adorn, decorate. Now rare.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/1  This blacke velvet gowne setteth fort this lady verye well.
1585   T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie ii. xviii. 51 b,  [The gate] is..well set forth, with letters of gold, and leaues of diuers colours.
1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts i. 469  The Assyrians..Which were rich and proudly set forth.
1889   ‘G. Herring’ & ‘M. Ross’ Irish Cousin I. i. v. 62  Heavy mahogany tables, each duly set forth with books and daguerrotypes.

8. To further the progress or advancement of; to promote, advance. Obs.

1528   T. More Dialogue Heresyes iv, in Wks. 262/2  To confesse..what he had done for the settinge forth of that secte.
1542 [implied in: N. Udall tr. Erasmus Apophthegmes 5 (margin) ,   Mecænas was..so great a fauourer, promouter, and setter fourthe of Virgil, Horace, & suche other learned menne, that [etc.]. (at setter-forth n.)].
1551   T. Wilson Rule of Reason sig. Lj,  The very cause of thynges, is such a one that if it be practised in very diede, and set forth with other naturall causes, the effect must nedes folowe.

9. To praise, commend. Obs.

1565   T. Cooper Thesaurus,  Commendare, to prayse: to sette forth.
1600   Shakespeare Merchant of Venice iii. v. 85  Iessi. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomack? Loren. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke... Iessi. Well, ile set you forth.
1662   E. Stillingfleet Origines Sacræ ii. ii. §2  To set forth a person by that which in its self is no matter of commendation.

10. To exhibit, display, show forth. Obs.

1551   R. Robinson tr. T. More Vtopia sig. Biv,  Onles I wolde..set furth the brightenes of the sonne wyth a candell.
1551   R. Robinson tr. T. More Vtopia sig. Siiv,  Wretches..whose pouerty she [sc. Pride] might..encrease by gorgiously setting furthe her riches.
1593   T. Nashe Christs Teares 69 b,  Thys woman disdaines..that any should sette forth the porte and maiestie, in gate and behauiour like vnto her.
1611   Second Maiden's Trag. 190  Fortunes are but the outsides of true worth, it is the mynde that sets his master forth.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost vi. 310  To set forth Great things by small.

 11. intr. To set out on a journey, against an enemy, in pursuit, etc.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/1  Whan sette you forthe on your journay, and God wyll.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 4604   Hast you to saile; Sette furthe to þe se.
1569   R. Grafton Chron. II. 294  They set forth that were appoynted to breake the array of the Archers.
1592   T. Kyd Spanish Trag. i. sig. B3v,  I with my band set foorth against the Prince.
a1616   Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) iii. iii. 13  My willing loue, The rather by these arguments of feare Set forth in your pursuite.
1675–6   City Mercury 10–17 Feb. 2/1  Exeter Coach... Sets forth every Monday morning from the Sarazens head Inn.
1718   F. Atterbury Serm. (1734) I. 4  Just as if it [sc. Christianity] were now in its Infant State, and newly setting forth in the World.
1798   C. Smith Young Philosopher IV. 76  Your fair Columbian,..the moon being at full..sat forth alone.
1845   R. Ford Hand-bk. Travellers in Spain I. i. 55  Before they set forth on their day's journey.
1890   W. E. Norris Misadventure I. vi. 88  The two young people set forth for the village.
1894   E. Scott Dancing 110  If the partners join right and left hands in setting forth.
  to set forward(s)  

 a. To carry, send, or thrust forward. to set one's foot forward : see foot n. 29a; to set one's best foot forward and variants: see best adj., n.1, and adv. Phrases 11a.

c1430   Art Nombryng (1922) 10  Sette forwarde the figures of the nombre multiplying by oo difference.
a1547   in Fosbrooke Econ. Mon. Life (1796) 83  When hir hors letyr was app[ar]eled..she was set forwards aft[er] this manner.
1555   R. Eden tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria Decades of Newe Worlde i. ii. f. 7,  Settinge forewarde with their ores the brigantine..ouerturned their Canoa.
a1617   P. Baynes Lect. 202 in Comm. Colossians (1634) ,  That man neuer yet set right foote forward in the way to the Kingdome of God.

 b. To put (a clock) on.

a1627   T. Middleton & W. Rowley Old Law (1656) iii. sig. E3v,  I would have you set forward the Clock.
1847   H. Miller First Impressions Eng. vii. 126  One of his companions..set forward the house-clock.

c. To increase, aggravate. Obs.

1611   Bible (A.V.) Job xxx. 13   They set forward my calamitie.
1684   Bp. G. Burnet tr. T. More Utopia 24  Luxury likewise breaks in apace upon you, to set forward your Poverty and Misery.

 2. To assist (a person) in the way of progress; to help on (a matter, plan, etc.); to advance, promote.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/2,  I set forwarde a person, or avaunce him to promocyon. Jaduance.
1540   T. Cranmer Let. 14 June in Remains (1833) I. 299  To set forwards whatsoever was your Majesty's will.
1561   Reg. Privy Council Scotl. I. 193  For..setting fordwart of the commone effaris of the cuntre.
a1617   P. Baynes Lect. (1634) 204  Walking after a potion taken..setteth forward the working of physicke taken.
1662   Bk. Com. Prayer, Pr. Ember Weeks,  That..they may..set forward the salvation of all men.
1793   J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse (ed. 2) §7 (note) ,   To set the workmen forward..I have been obliged to continue on board our store vessel..frequently a week.
1811   Simeon Let. in Carus Life (1847) 308  Some of the young men..were endeavouring to set forward a Bible Society.

 3. To put forward, promulgate; to advance (an opinion).

1560   J. Knox et al. Buke Discipline in J. Knox Wks. (1848) II. 221  We leave it..to be weyit by your Honouris wisdome, and set fordwart by your authoritie.
1651   T. Hobbes Leviathan iii. xl. 252  To set forward..such doctrine as was agreeable to Moses his doctrine.
1890   Universal Rev. Sept. 64  The theory now set forward.

 4. intr. To go forward, set out, start.

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 713/2,  I set forward, as an armye..dothe. Je me auance.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Richard III 12  The erle..aventured..to set forwarde hym selfe by lande.
1603   R. Knolles Gen. Hist. Turkes 670  With which fleet..[he] set forward against the Portingals.
1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. ix. 411,  I set forward through the vaile of Ombria.
1749   H. Fielding Tom Jones VI. xvii. v. 122  Mrs. Miller set forwards to her Son-in-Law's Lodgings.
1816   J. Austen Emma I. xiii. 237  He..set forward at last..in his own carriage.
1889   ‘M. Gray’ Reproach of Annesley III. vi. i. 129  He..set forward again after supper.
  to set in  

 a. See simple trans. senses and in adv.; to enter (a name); to insert, put in; to engraft, implant; †to put in office or power, etc.

a1425  (▸c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Rom. xi. 23   Ȝhe, and thei schulen be set yn [L. inserentur], if thei dwellen not in vnbileue.
?c1450   in G. J. Aungier Hist. & Antiq. Syon Monastery (1840) 361  To sette in the names of sustres and brethren professed in the register of the chapter.
1487   in H. E. Malden Cely Papers (1900) 169  They hawe dischargyd all the old wytt [= magistrates] of Bruges the whych was sett yn be the Kyng.
1562   in F. J. Furnivall Child-marriages Diocese Chester (1897) 13  The said James Smith toke a Lease of his part of the Tenement, and set-in the said Ellin to have hit after his decesse.
1563–4   in H. J. F. Swayne Churchwardens' Accts. Sarum (1896) 109  John Atkyns to blo ye organs when he set in ye pypes vj d.
1587   Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. i. 7  When a member that was out of ioynt is set in againe.
1598   R. Grenewey tr. Tacitus Annales xii. xi. 172  [They] set in companies to rob and spoile [L. immittere latronum globos].
1662   S. Pepys Diary 5 Aug. (1970) III. 156  At Greenwich set in, Captain Cocke.
1669   S. Sturmy Mariners Mag. i. ii. 17  Set in your Lee-braces.
1709   Tatler No. 37. ⁋2  Beau Slimber a Londoner, undertook to keep up with Trips, a whelp just set in.
1808   Lady's Econ. Assist. 1  The worked part of the frock body must be set in quite plain.
1859   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 20 ii. 364  To prevent any escape of the manure while turning [the plough] and setting in again.
1888   Co-operative News 16 June 619  If the clothes are placed in cold water out of the boil the fabric will contract, and so set in the dirt.
1888   ‘J. S. Winter’ Bootle's Children xii. 90,  I want the ring to be quite plain and heavy, with three stones set in level with the gold.
1889   ‘M. Gray’ Reproach of Annesley I. ii. ii. 158  Having now finished setting in a row of young plants.

 b. absol. (See quot. 1530.)

1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 714/1,  I set in to the oven, as bakers do their breed... We shal nat set in tyll to morowe thre of the clocke.

 c. To put (a vessel) in towards the shore. Also absol.

1887   Pall Mall Gaz. 22 Feb. 10/2  The ship was set in towards the land by a current.
1891   F. W. Robinson Her Love & his Life III. vii. i. 236  ‘Set in to shore,’ cried Kerts, roughly.

 d. To draw or gather in.

1858   Ladies' Cabinet Jan. 54/1  The skirt..is set in at the waist, in large fluted or hollow plaits.

a. To direct into the fight. Obs.

1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) ix. 610   Schir Eduardis cumpany, Quhen thai had thrillit thame hastely, Set stoutly in the hedis agane.

b. to set in foot : to enter upon an undertaking.

1542   N. Udall tr. Erasmus Apophthegmes f. 78v,  Whoso hath ones stepped foorth, and sette in foote to take charge of a commen weale.
1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cxxijv,  It belongeth..to the Emperour..to set in foote in counselles.
1562   J. Heywood Prov. & Epigr. (1867) 169  He hath set in foote, thyngs by wyt to be sped.

c. ‘To put in a way to begin’ (Johnson). Obs.

1697   J. Collier Ess. Moral Subj. ii. 48,  I think I had better decline the Task, than injure the Argument. However, if you please to assist, and set me In, I will endeavour to recollect my self for a short Conference.

3. intr. To make one's way into the fight, among the enemy; hence, to offer fight, to intervene in behalf of a person or in support of a cause.

a1500  (▸?c1450)    Merlin (1899) xxix. 588   Whan thei saugh the hoste comynge thei merveiled fro whens so moche peple myght come. Neuertheles thei sette in a-monge hem.
1630   R. Sanderson Serm. (1674) II. (ad Magistr. i) 258  A rich opportunity..to set in for Gods cause.
1656   R. Baxter Reformed Pastor 73  It is our duty to set in for the assistance of these,..to help them to a conquest of their corruptions.
1665   R. Sanderson 8 Cases Conscience (1674) 85  Princes may see cause to set in for their own safety and interest.
1692   J. Ray Misc. Disc. v. 117  May not the Stoicks here set in, and help us out at a dead lift?

 4. To set to work, begin (upon something); esp. followed by to, for. Also pass. Obs. exc. dial.

1608   A. Willet Hexapla in Exodum 495  Where the fire setteth in, the whole is spoiled.
1650   J. Trapp Clavis to Bible (Lev. xiii. 6) 136  God also will set in and wash such with the blood of his son.
1693   N. Tate in Dryden tr. Juvenal Satires ii. 22  To behold your unnerv'd Sex set in To Needle-Work.
1700   W. Congreve Way of World iv. i. 53  Sir Wilfull is set into Drinking, Madam, in the Parlour.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 24. ⁋1  A worthy old Batchelor, who sets in for his Dose of Claret every Night.
1764   Museum Rusticum II. xxix. 93  To let the first mower and his attendants set-in well before the second follow.
1794   A. Radcliffe Myst. of Udolpho II. xii. 464  They are all set in to feasting yet.
1835   T. Moore Mem. (1856) VII. 82,  [I] set in hard at work at the remainder of my volume.
1837   Dickens Let. ?Dec. (1965) I. 346,  I was in the humour for writing last night—..was regularly set in—when there came a double knock.
1842   Dickens Amer. Notes II. i. 7,  I go upon the hurricane-deck, and set in for two hours of hard walking up and down.
1893   Field 11 Feb. 191/2  It set in to freeze.

 5. To begin, become prevalent: chiefly of the weather entering upon a particular state.

1684   J. Evelyn Diary (1955) IV. 366  The weather now was set to an absolute Thaw & raine.
1765   S. Foote Commissary iii. 60  The latter end of the year, when the winter sets in.
1769   W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine (1780) N2b,  When the western monsoons set in.
1848   Thackeray Vanity Fair lx. 542  Politics set in a short time after dessert.
1856   N. Hawthorne Passages from Eng. Note-bks. (1870) II. 167  The evening set in misty and obscure.
1857   W. A. Miller Elements Chem.: Org. (1862) 137  Though no fermentation had set in.
1890   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 148 32/1  Sooner or later a reaction must set in.

 6. Of a current or wind: To flow or blow towards the shore.

1719   D. Defoe Life Robinson Crusoe 225  The Current of the Flood set in close by the Shore.
1815   J. Smith Panorama Sci. & Art II. 46  The westerly winds setting in on this coast.
1821   Scott Pirate I. i. 4  The current of a strong and furious tide..setting in betwixt the Orkney and Zetland Islands.
1831   Mirror XVII. 102/1  The tide sets in on this part of the coast with extraordinary velocity.
  to set off  
 1. See simple trans. senses and off adv.:

a. To take away, remove. Obs.

1600   Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 2 iv. i. 143  Euery thing set off That might so much as thinke you enemies.

b. To alienate. Obs.

1633   Bp. J. Hall Plaine Explic. Hard Texts ii. 366  If any mans heart bee set upon the world, it is set off from God.
1651   Bp. J. Hall Susurrium cum Deo vi. 20  Doe Thou set off my heart from all these earthly vanities.

c. ? To discharge, cancel. Obs.

1642   C. Vernon Considerations Excheqver 27  Such [sums] as shall appeare to be discharged or set off by such matter of Record.
1642   C. Vernon Considerations Excheqver 30  The Clerk of the Pipe is not to discharge or set off any part of the Sheriffes charge, but by Tallies to be leavied in his Majesties Receipt of Exchequer.

 d. To put (a person) off. Sc.

1768   A. Ross Fortunate Shepherdess 75  But think na, man, that I'll be set off sae, For I'll hae satisfaction ere I gae.

 e. To stop the working of. Sc.

1728   A. Ramsay