set back

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set back (third-person singular simple present sets back, present participle setting back, simple past and past participle set back)

  1. (transitive) To delay or obstruct.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      “Well,” I answered, at first with uncertainty, then with inspiration, “he would do splendidly to lead your cotillon, if you think of having one.” ¶ “So you do not dance, Mr. Crocker?” ¶ I was somewhat set back by her perspicuity.
    I expect it will set us back by a day or so, but I think a side trip will be worthwhile.
  2. (transitive) To remove from or allow distance.
    Set it back from the road by twenty or thirty feet.
  3. (transitive, idiomatic) To cost money, as.
    How much do you suppose that fancy dress set her back?


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