Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “set”


verb (CONDITION)    /set/ (present participle setting, past tense and past participle set)
B2 [T] to cause something or someone to be in the stated condition or situation: It is believed that the building was set alight/ablaze/on fire deliberately. The new director has set a lot of changes in motion in our department. [+ adj] After years in prison, the men who had wrongfully been found guilty of the bombing were finally set free. If I've made a mistake, then it's up to me to set it right (= correct it).Causing things to happen set sb/sth doing sth to cause someone or something to start doing something: His remarks set me thinking. The thunderstorm set the radio crackling.Causing things to happen set sb to work to give someone work to do: I was set to work tidying the bookshelves.Work, working and the workplaceWorking hours and periods of workRecruiting staff, applying for and accepting jobs
(Definition of set verb (CONDITION) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of set

Definitions of “set” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


showing a wish to help or bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More