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since 1880
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Meaning and Origin

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Origin and Meaning of Set

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
verb Set
  1. To cause to sit; to make to assume a specified position or attitude; to give site or place to; to place; to put; to fix; as, to set a house on a stone foundation; to set a book on a shelf; to set a dish on a table; to set a chest or trunk on its bottom or on end."I do set my bow in the cloud." [Gen. ix. 13.]
  2. Hence, to attach or affix (something) to something else, or in or upon a certain place." Set your affection on things above." [Col. iii. 2.]"The Lord set a mark upon Cain." [Gen. iv. 15.]
  3. To make to assume specified place, condition, or occupation; to put in a certain condition or state (described by the accompanying words); to cause to be."The Lord thy God will set thee on high." [Deut. xxviii. 1.]"I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother." [Matt. x. 35.]"Every incident sets him thinking." [Coleridge.]
  4. To fix firmly; to make fast, permanent, or stable; to render motionless; to give an unchanging place, form, or condition to.Specifically:
    1. To cause to stop or stick; to obstruct; to fasten to a spot; hence, to occasion difficulty to; to embarrass; as, to set a coach in the mud.
      "They show how hard they are set in this particular." [Addison.]
    2. To fix beforehand; to determine; hence, to make unyielding or obstinate; to render stiff, unpliant, or rigid; as, to set one's countenance.
      "His eyes were set by reason of his age." [1 Kings xiv. 4.]
      "On these three objects his heart was set." [Macaulay.]
      "Make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint." [Tennyson.]
    3. To fix in the ground, as a post or a tree; to plant; as, to set pear trees in an orchard.
    4. To fix, as a precious stone, in a border of metal; to place in a setting; hence, to place in or amid something which serves as a setting; as, to set glass in a sash.
      "And him too rich a jewel to be set In vulgar metal for a vulgar use." [Dryden.]
    5. To render stiff or solid; especially, to convert into curd; to curdle; as, to set milk for cheese.
  5. To put into a desired position or condition; to adjust; to regulate; to adapt.
    1. To put in order in a particular manner; to prepare; as, to setthat is, to hone) a razor; to set a saw.
      "Tables for to sette, and beddes make." [Chaucer.]
    2. To extend and bring into position; to spread; as, to set the sails of a ship.
    3. To give a pitch to, as a tune; to start by fixing the keynote; as, to set a psalm.
    4. To reduce from a dislocated or fractured state; to replace; as, to set a broken bone.
    5. To make to agree with some standard; as, to set a watch or a clock.
    6. [Masonry]
      To lower into place and fix solidly, as the blocks of cut stone in a structure.
  6. To stake at play; to wager; to risk."I have set my life upon a cast, And I will stand the hazard of the die." [Shak.]
  7. To fit with music; to adapt, as words to notes; to prepare for singing." Set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute." [Dryden.]
  8. To determine; to appoint; to assign; to fix; as, to set a time for a meeting; to set a price on a horse.
  9. To adorn with something infixed or affixed; to stud; to variegate with objects placed here and there."High on their heads, with jewels richly set, Each lady wore a radiant coronet." [Dryden.]"Pastoral dales thin set with modern farms." [Wordsworth.]
  10. To value; to rate; -- with at."Be you contented, wearing now the garland, To have a son set your decrees at naught." [Shak.]"I do not set my life at a pin's fee." [Shak.]
  11. To point out the seat or position of, as birds, or other game; -- said of hunting dogs.
  12. To establish as a rule; to furnish; to prescribe; to assign; as, to set an example; to set lessons to be learned.
  13. To suit; to become; as, it sets him ill.(Scot)
  14. [Print] To compose; to arrange in words, lines, etc.; as, to set type; to set a page.
    synonyms: See Put.

Etymology: OE. setten, AS. setton; akin to OS. settian, OFries. setta, D. zetten, OHG. sezzen, G. setzen, Icel. setja, Sw. sätta, Dan. s�tte, Goth. satjan; causative from the root of E. sit. √154. See Sit, and cf. Seize

verb Set
  1. To pass below the horizon; to go down; to decline; to sink out of sight; to come to an end."Ere the weary sun set in the west." [Shak.]"Thus this century sets with little mirth, and the next is likely to arise with more mourning." [Fuller.]
  2. To fit music to words.(Obs)
  3. To place plants or shoots in the ground; to plant."To sow dry, and setwet." [Old Proverb.]
  4. To be fixed for growth; to strike root; to begin to germinate or form; as, cuttings set well; the fruit has set well (i. e., not blasted in the blossom.
  5. To become fixed or rigid; to be fastened."A gathering and serring of the spirits together to resist, maketh the teeth to set hard one against another." [Bacon.]
  6. To congeal; to concrete; to solidify; -- of cements, glues, gels, concrete, substances polymerizing into plastics, etc."That fluid substance in a few minutes begins to set." [Boyle.]
  7. To have a certain direction in motion; to flow; to move on; to tend; as, the current sets to the north; the tide sets to the windward.
  8. To begin to move; to go out or forth; to start; -- now followed by out."The king is set from London." [Shak.]
  9. To indicate the position of game; -- said of a dog; as, the dog sets well; also, to hunt game by the aid of a setter.
  10. To apply one's self; to undertake earnestly; -- now followed by out."If he sets industriously and sincerely to perform the commands of Christ, he can have no ground of doubting but it shall prove successful to him." [Hammond.]
  11. To fit or suit one; to sit; as, the coat sets well.

Note: Colloquially used, but improperly, for sit

Note: ☞ The use of the verb set for sit in such expressions as, the hen is setting on thirteen eggs; a setting hen, etc., although colloquially common, and sometimes tolerated in serious writing, is not to be approved.

adjective Set
  1. Fixed in position; immovable; rigid; as, a set line; a set countenance.
  2. Firm; unchanging; obstinate; as, set opinions or prejudices.
  3. Regular; uniform; formal; as, a set discourse; a set battle."The setphrase of peace." [Shak.]
  4. Established; prescribed; as, set forms of prayer.
  5. Adjusted; arranged; formed; adapted.
noun Set
  1. The act of setting, as of the sun or other heavenly body; descent; hence, the close; termination."Locking at the setof day." [Tennyson.]"The weary sun hath made a golden set." [Shak.]
  2. That which is set, placed, or fixed.
    1. A young plant for growth; as, a set of white thorn.
    2. That which is staked; a wager; a venture; a stake; hence, a game at venture.
      (Obs. or R)
      "We will in France, by God's grace, play a set Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard." [Shak.]
      "That was but civil war, an equal set." [Dryden.]
    3. [Mech]
      Permanent change of figure in consequence of excessive strain, as from compression, tension, bending, twisting, etc.; as, the set of a spring.
    4. A kind of punch used for bending, indenting, or giving shape to, metal; as, a saw set .
    5. [Pile Driving]
      A piece placed temporarily upon the head of a pile when the latter cannot be reached by the weight, or hammer, except by means of such an intervening piece.
      Alt. spell.: sett
    6. [Carp]
      A short steel spike used for driving the head of a nail below the surface. Called also nail set.
  3. Etymology: Perhaps due to confusion with sect sept

    A number of things of the same kind, ordinarily used or classed together; a collection of articles which naturally complement each other, and usually go together; an assortment; a suit; as, a set of chairs, of china, of surgical or mathematical instruments, of books, etc. Alt. spell.: sett
  4. A number of persons associated by custom, office, common opinion, quality, or the like; a division; a group; a clique."Others of our set." [Tennyson.]"This falls into different divisions, or sets, of nations connected under particular religions." [R. P. Ward.]
  5. Direction or course; as, the set of the wind, or of a current.
  6. In dancing, the number of persons necessary to execute a quadrille; also, the series of figures or movements executed.
  7. The deflection of a tooth, or of the teeth, of a saw, which causes the the saw to cut a kerf, or make an opening, wider than the blade.
    1. A young oyster when first attached.
    2. Collectively, the crop of young oysters in any locality.
  8. [Tennis] A series of as many games as may be necessary to enable one side to win six. If at the end of the tenth game the score is a tie, the set is usually called a deuce set, and decided by an application of the rules for playing off deuce in a game. See Deuce.
  9. [Type Founding] That dimension of the body of a type called by printers the width.
  10. [Textiles] Any of various standards of measurement of the fineness of cloth; specif., the number of reeds in one inch and the number of threads in each reed. The exact meaning varies according to the location where it is used. Sometimes written sett.
  11. A stone, commonly of granite, shaped like a short brick and usually somewhat larger than one, used for street paving. Commonly written sett.
  12. Camber of a curved roofing tile.
  13. The manner, state, or quality of setting or fitting; fit; as, the set of a coat.(Colloq)
  14. Any collection or group of objects considered together.
    synonyms: Collection; series; group. See Pair.
noun Set
An evil beast-headed god with high square ears and a long snout; his was the brother and murderer of Osiris. Called also Seth
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Several exercises intended to be done in series ("he did four sets of the incline bench press")
  2. The act of putting something in position ("he gave a final set to his hat")
  3. Any electronic equipment that receives or transmits radio or tv signals ("the early sets ran on storage batteries")
  4. Representation consisting of the scenery and other properties used to identify the location of a dramatic production ("the sets were meticulously authentic")
  5. (psychology) being temporarily ready to respond in a particular way ("the subjects' set led them to solve problems the familiar way and to overlook the simpler solution" and "his instructions deliberately gave them the wrong set")
  6. A relatively permanent inclination to react in a particular way ("the set of his mind was obvious")
  7. The descent of a heavenly body below the horizon ("before the set of sun")
  8. A group of things of the same kind that belong together and are so used ("a set of books", "a set of golf clubs", and "a set of teeth")
  9. (mathematics) an abstract collection of numbers or symbols ("the set of prime numbers is infinite")
  10. An unofficial association of people or groups ("the smart set goes there")
  11. Evil Egyptian god with the head of a beast that has high square ears and a long snout; brother and murderer of Osiris
  12. The process of becoming hard or solid by cooling or drying or crystallization ("he tested the set of the glue")
  13. A unit of play in tennis or squash ("they played two sets of tennis after dinner")
  14. Arrange attractively
  15. Bear fruit
  16. Alter or regulate so as to achieve accuracy or conform to a standard
  17. Set to a certain position or cause to operate correctly ("set clocks or instruments")
  18. Put into a certain state; cause to be in a certain state ("set the house afire")
  19. Make ready or suitable or equip in advance for a particular purpose or for some use, event, etc
  20. Get ready for a particular purpose or event ("set up an experiment" and "set the table")
  21. Equip with sails or masts
  22. Become gelatinous
  23. Estimate
  24. Fix conclusively or authoritatively ("set the rules")
  25. Decide upon or fix definitely
  26. Establish as the highest level or best performance ("set a record")
  27. Urge to attack someone
  28. Give a fine, sharp edge to a knife or razor
  29. Put into a certain place or abstract location ("Set the tray down" and "Set the dogs on the scent of the missing children")
  30. Insert (a nail or screw below the surface, as into a countersink)
  31. Put or set (seeds, seedlings, or plants) into the ground
  32. Fix in a border ("The goldsmith set the diamond")
  33. Put into a position that will restore a normal state ("set a broken bone")
  34. Apply or start ("set fire to a building")
  35. Adapt for performance in a different way ("set this poem to music")
  36. Locate ("The film is set in Africa")
  37. Set in type ("My book will be typeset nicely" and "set these words in italics")
  38. Disappear beyond the horizon ("the sun sets early these days")
  39. Converted to solid form (as concrete)
  40. Fixed and unmoving ("with eyes set in a fixed glassy stare" and "his bearded face already has a set hollow look")
  41. Set down according to a plan ("a carefully laid table with places set for four people")
  42. (usually followed by `to' or `for') on the point of or strongly disposed ("we are set to go at any time")
  43. Situated in a particular spot or position ("a house set on a hilltop")
  44. Determined or decided upon as by an authority ("the time set for the launching")
  45. Being below the horizon ("the moon is set")
  • From Middle English setten, from Old English settan, from Proto-Germanic *satjaną, from Proto-Indo-European *sodéyeti, causative of *sed- (“to sit”), from Middle English sett, from Old English ġesett, past participle of settan.
  1. A punch for setting nails in wood.
  2. A device for receiving broadcast radio waves (or, more recently, broadcast data); a radio or television.
  3. Alternative form of sett: a hole made and lived in by a badger.
  4. Alternative form of sett: pattern of threads and yarns.
  5. Alternative form of sett: piece of quarried stone.
  6. (horticulture) A small tuber or bulb used instead of seed, particularly onion sets and potato sets.
  7. The amount the teeth of a saw protrude to the side in order to create the kerf.
  8. (obsolete, rare) That which is staked; a wager; hence, a gambling game.
  9. (engineering) Permanent change of shape caused by excessive strain, as from compression, tension, bending, twisting, etc.
    the of a spring
  10. (piledriving) A piece placed temporarily upon the head of a pile when the latter cannot otherwise be reached by the weight, or hammer.
  11. (printing, dated) The width of the body of a type.
  12. A young oyster when first attached.
  13. Collectively, the crop of young oysters in any locality.
  14. A series or group of something. (Note the similar meaning in Etymology 2, Noun)
  15. (colloquial) The manner, state, or quality of setting or fitting; fit.
    the of a coat
  16. The camber of a curved roofing tile.

From Middle English set, sete, sette (“that which is set, the act of setting, seat”), from Old English set (“setting, seat, a place where people remain, habitation, camp, entrenchment, a place where animals are kept, stall, fold”) and Old English seten (“a set, shoot, slip, branch; a nursery, plantation; that which is planted or set; a cultivated place; planting, cultivation; a setting, putting; a stopping; occupied land”), related to Old English settan (“to set”). Compare Middle Low German gesette (“a set, suite”), Old English gesetl (“assembly”). According to Skeat, in senses denoting a group of things or persons, representing an alteration of sept, from Old French sette (“a religious sect”), from Medieval Latin secta (“retinue”), from Latin secta (“a faction”). See sect. It is quite possible that the modern word is more of a merger between both, however.

  1. A young plant fit for setting out; a slip; shoot.
  2. A rudimentary fruit.
  3. The setting of the sun or other luminary; (by extension) the close of the day.
  4. (literally and figuratively) General movement; direction; drift; tendency.
    Here and there, amongst individuals alive to the particular evils of the age, and watching the very of the current, there may have been even a more systematic counteraction applied to the mischief. — Thomas De Quincey.
  5. A matching collection of similar things. (Note the similar meaning in Etymology 1, Noun)
    a of tables
  6. A collection of various objects for a particular purpose.
    a of tools
  7. An object made up of several parts.
    a of steps
  8. (set theory) A collection of zero or more objects, possibly infinite in size, and disregarding any order or repetition of the objects which may be contained within it.
  9. (in plural, “sets”, mathematics, informal) Set theory.
  10. A group of people, usually meeting socially.
    the country
  11. The scenery for a film or play.
  12. (dance) The initial or basic formation of dancers.
  13. (exercise (sport)) A group of repetitions of a single exercise performed one after the other without rest.
  14. (tennis) A complete series of games, forming part of a match.
  15. (volleyball) A complete series of points, forming part of a match.
  16. (volleyball) The act of directing the ball to a teammate for an attack.
  17. (music) A musical performance by a band, disc jockey, etc., consisting of several musical pieces.
  18. (music) A drum kit, a drum set.
    He plays the on Saturdays.
  19. (Britain, education) A class group in a subject where pupils are divided by ability.
  20. (poker, slang) Three of a kind, especially if two cards are in one's hand and the third is a on the board. Compare trips (“three of a kind, especially with two cards on the board and one in one's hand”).

    set was also found in the following language(s): Afrikaans, Catalan, Crimean Tatar, Czech, Danish, French, Italian, Ladin, Latin, Lojban, Lower Sorbian, Mauritian Creole, Michif, Norwegian Nynorsk, Novial, Old English, Old French, Polish, Portuguese, Romansch, Spanish, Swedish, Walloon, and Welsh

    Notable Persons Named Set

    Set Teitan is a black metal and melodic death metal musician. Set was born on September 12th, 1978.


    Set was born on September 2nd, 1904. He breathed his last breath on October 4th, 1964.


    Set Phyo Wai is a soccer player for the Yangon United F.C. and Myanmar national under-23 football team. Set was born on December 1st, 1994 in Yangon.


    Set was born on September 28th, 1986 in Nigeria.


    Set was born on October 11th, 1885. He died on December 10th, 1972.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name Set

    The Ready Set is a musician. He was most prominent from 2009 to present. The was given the name Jordan Mark Witzigreuter on November 14th, 1989 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. The is also known as Witzigreuter, Jordan, Jwitz, Jo, and The Sass Queen.


    Father Set is a comics character.


    Where is the name Set popular?

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    Popularity of Set as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Set as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in California, New York, or Massachusetts.

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Set U.S.
      White 13.41% 64.26%
      African American 0.00% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 68.90% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 3.05% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 14.63% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Set

    People with the last name Set are most frequently White, Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander, or Hispanic or Latino

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Set

    • How Popular is the name Set? Set is the 73,532nd most popular name of all time. As a last name Set was the 108,199th most popular name in 2010.
    • How many people with the first name Set have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 10 babies born with the first name Set in the United States.
    • What year were 5 or more babies first named Set? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1997 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
    • When was Set first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Set is Monday, April 1st, 1895.
    • What year had the most people named Set born? The highest recorded use of the first name Set was in 1997 with a total of 5 babies.
    • Weird things about the name Set: Your name in reverse order is Tes. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Ets. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Set? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 164 people with the last name Set.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Set? Set is one of the most unique last names recorded.

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.