set up

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See also: setup and set-up




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

  1. To ready something for use.
    We set up the sprinkler.
  2. To arrange logically.
    Set up my CD collection.
  3. To cause to happen.
    Even a minor change can set up new bugs.
    • 2018 July 3, Phil McNulty, “Colombia 1 - 1 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      England's famous victory sets up a meeting with Sweden in Samara on Saturday
  4. To trap or ensnare.
    I've got to set up that tasty rabbit.
  5. To arrange for an outcome; to tamper or rig.
    The election was set up!
  6. To gel or harden.
    Give the cement 24 hours to set up before walking on it.
  7. Level to rise in one part of a body of water, especially a shallow one, because of a storm surge caused by persistent wind.
    The level set up at the south end of the lake after a day of north winds.
  8. To provide the money or other support that someone needs for an important task or activity.
    Winning the lottery has set them up for life.
    A good breakfast really sets you up for the day.
  9. To establish someone in a business or position.
    After he left college, his father set him up in the family business.
    She set herself up as an interior designer.
  10. (informal) To trick someone in order to make them do something.
    They claimed that they weren't selling drugs, but that they'd been set up by the police.
  11. To make (someone) proud or conceited (often in passive).
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, pp. 286-7:
      M. Robespierre looked at me sideways and smiled and said to Madame, ‘You're a young lady after my own heart.’ This set her up for the day.
  12. To matchmake; to arrange a date between two people.
  13. (sports, transitive) To create a goalscoring opportunity (for).
    • 2011 October 1, John Sinnott, “Aston Villa 2 - 0 Wigan”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      Just past the hour Agbonlahor set up the second, crossing for Bent to net.
  14. (dated, intransitive) To begin business or a scheme of life.
    to set up in trade; to set up for oneself
  15. To profess openly; to make pretensions.
    • 1744 (first printed) Jonathan Swift, On the Testimony of Conscience
      those men who set up for morality without regard to religion, are generally virtuous but in part
  16. To found; to start (a business, scheme)
    • 2017 April 6, Samira Shackle, “On the frontline with Karachi’s ambulance drivers”, in the Guardian[3]:
      With the help of his wife Bilquis, he set up a maternal health clinic and a centre for abandoned children.


Derived terms[edit]



set up (comparative more set up, superlative most set up)

  1. In a position to function; ready.
    Now that I'm set up, this will take moments!



Related terms[edit]