set out

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

  1. (transitive) To explain something, or give exact details, usually in writing.
    This contract sets out all the terms of the agreement as we discussed.
  2. To go out, leave.
    Tomorrow we set out for America.
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot Chapter V
      I had been calling Nobs in the meantime and was about to set out in search of him, fearing, to tell the truth, to do so lest I find him mangled and dead among the trees of the acacia grove, when he suddenly emerged from among the boles, his ears flattened, his tail between his legs and his body screwed into a suppliant S. He was unharmed except for minor bruises; but he was the most chastened dog I have ever seen.
  3. To start an activity with the intention of finishing it.
    He set out with the aim of writing the book in less than 3 months.
    Many young people set out to change the world.
  4. To position, to put in a position
    • 2014, Richard Rae, "Manchester United humbled by MK Dons after Will Grigg hits double", The Guardian, 26 August 2014:
      Following the acquisition of Di María, a winger, there was almost as much interest in the manner in which Van Gaal would set out his team as there was in the personnel. It was probably as well, considering only the goalkeeper David De Gea was retained from the XI who started Sunday’s draw at Sunderland.

Usage notes[edit]

In the transitive sense 1, the object may appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle.

Derived terms[edit]