set the table

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

woman setting the table
  1. To arrange plates, etc. for a meal.
    Synonym: lay the table
    Antonym: clear the table
  2. (figuratively) To make a future outcome possible.
    • 2009, Thomas G. Segrich, The $32M Sales System for Design & Build Home Remodelers and Kitchen & Bath Professionals[1]:
      The next step is to 'Set the Table' for the sale by stating your agenda. This is both a method of directing the course of the meeting, as well as a trial close
    • 2008, B. A. Marbue Brown, The Clinton Economic Boom, page 107:
      In a very real sense, PC technology set the table for the prosperity of the nineties.