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See also: Settle



  • enPR: sĕtʹəl, IPA(key): /ˈsɛtəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛtəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From a merger of two verbs:


settle (third-person singular simple present settles, present participle settling, simple past and past participle settled)

  1. (transitive) To determine (something which was exposed to doubt or question); to resolve conclusively; to set or fix (a time, an order of succession, etc).
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jonathan Swift
      It will settle the wavering, and confirm the doubtful.
    His fears were settled
    She hopes to settle and questions about the plans.
    The question of the succession to a throne needs to be settled.
  2. (transitive) To conclude, to cause (a dispute) to finish.
    to settle a quarrel
    1. (transitive) In particular, to terminate (a lawsuit), usually out of court, by agreement of all parties.
  3. (transitive) To close, liquidate or balance (an account) by payment, sometimes of less than is owed or due.
    • Paul Kelly, Willie Blair: A Tale of True Loss and Sadness →ISBN:
      The coffee was only surface wet and looked worse than it actually was and as he returned to the Reception Desk to settle his account and give back his room key, he was met again by the young man who was still wearing his rucksack.
  4. (transitive, colloquial) To pay (a bill).
    to settle a bill
  5. (transitive) To place or arrange in(to) a desired state, or make final disposition of (something).
    to settle my affairs
    to settle her estate
  6. (transitive) To cause to be no longer in a disturbed condition; to quiet; to calm (nerves, waters, a boisterous or rebellious child, etc).
    • (Can we date this quote?) George Chapman
      God settled then the huge whale-bearing lake.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Bunyan
      Hoping that sleep might settle his brains.
  7. (Britain, dialectal) To silence, especially by force; by extension, to kill.
    • 1894-5, Patterson, Man and Nature (in The Primitive Methodist Magazine):
      I poured a charge of powder over the nipple so as not tu miss goin' off if possible. Click! went the match,—up jumped the flock, or tried tu. As they bunched up, Peggy blazed intu 'em, settlin’ how many I didn't know, [...]
  8. (transitive) To bring or restore (ground, roads, etc) to a smooth, dry, or passable condition.
    clear weather settles the roads
  9. (transitive) To place in(to) a fixed or permanent condition or position or on(to) a permanent basis; to make firm, steady, or stable; to establish or fix.
    • 2 Kings VIII. 11. (Rev. Ver.):
      And he settled his countenance steadfastly upon him,until he was ashamed.
  10. (transitive) In particular, to establish in life; to fix in business, in a home, etc.
    • 1700, Ovid, Metamorphoses, translation of original by John Dryden:
      The father thought the time drew on Of settling in the world his only son.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible:
      But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever.
    1. (transitive, obsolete, US) In particular, to establish in pastoral office; to ordain or install as pastor or rector of a church, society, or parish.
      to settle a minister
  11. (transitive, law) To formally, legally secure (an annuity, property, title, etc) on (a person).
  12. (transitive) To colonize (an area); to migrate to (a land, territory, site, etc).
    the French first settled Canada
    the Puritans settled New England
    Plymouth was settled in 1620.
  13. (transitive) To move (people) to (a land or territory), so as to colonize it; to cause (people) to take residence in (a place).
    • 2001, Eric Nelson, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman Empire →ISBN:
      Rome began to settle displaced or disenfranchised citizens, veterans, and allies in colonies beyond Italy.
  14. (transitive) To clear or purify (a liquid) of dregs and impurities by causing them to sink.
    to settle coffee, or the grounds of coffee
  15. (transitive) To cause to sink down or to be deposited (as dregs, sediment, etc).
    to settle the sediment out of the water
  16. (transitive) To render compact or solid; to cause to become packed down.
    to settle the chips in the potato chip bag by shaking it
  17. (transitive) To put into (proper) place; to make sit properly.
    • 2012, Nancy Gideon, Seeker of Shadows →ISBN:
      She twisted out from under the claim of his palm to settle her feet on the floor.
    • 2002, Tom Deitz, Warautumn →ISBN, page 53:
      Pausing only to settle his cloak and set his Regent's circlet on his hair, he strode to the rail and waited.
  18. (intransitive) To fix one's residence in a place; to establish a dwelling place, home, or colony. (Compare settle down.)
    the Saxons who settled in Britain
  19. (intransitive) To become married, or a householder.
  20. (intransitive, with "in") To be established in a profession or in employment.
    • 1825, William Buell Sprague, An Historical Discourse Delivered at West Springfield:
      He is settled in the profession of law at Rochester, New York.
    • 1994, Arthur MacGregor, Sir Hans Sloane:
      Following his avowed aim to settle in his profession of medicine, Sloane arranged to call on Dr Thomas Sydenham, the foremost physician of his day in London, known as 'the English Hippocrates'.
    • 2016, J.K. Ng'eno & M.C. Chesimet, “Differences in Mathematics Teachers' Perceived Preparedness to Demonstrate Competence in Secondary School Mathematics Content by Teacher Characteristics”, in Journal of Education and Practice, volume 7, number 18:
      The likely explanation for this is the fact that between the two groups one is now settling in the profession while the older group is preparing to retire and are no longer keen to gain new skills.
  21. (intransitive, usually with "down", "in", "on" or another preposition) To become stationary or fixed; to come to rest.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
      The wind came about and settled in the west.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Arbuthnot
      Chyle [] runs through all the intermediate colors until it settles in an intense red.
    they settled down at an inn; the hawk settled on a branch
  22. (intransitive) To become calm, quiet, or orderly; to stop being agitated.
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale
      Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear:
      Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
      Come not before him.
    • 2017 March 14, Stuart James, “Leicester stun Sevilla to reach last eight after Kasper Schmeichel save”, in the Guardian[1]:
      With Vardy working tirelessly up front, chasing lost causes and generally making a nuisance of himself, Sevilla were never allowed to settle on a night when the atmosphere was electric inside the King Power Stadium.
    the weather settled;  wait until the crowd settles before speaking
  23. (intransitive) To become firm, dry, and hard, like the ground after the effects of rain or frost have disappeared.
    the roads settled late in the spring.
  24. (intransitive) To become clear due to the sinking of sediment. (Used especially of liquid. also used figuratively.)
    • (Can we date this quote?) Joseph Addison
      A government, on such occasions, is always thick before it settles.
    wine settles by standing
  25. (intransitive) To sink to the bottom of a body of liquid, as dregs of a liquid, or the sediment of a reservoir.
  26. (intransitive) To sink gradually to a lower level; to subside, for example the foundation of a house, etc.
  27. (intransitive) To become compact due to sinking.
    the chips in the bag of potato chips settled during shipping
  28. (intransitive) To adjust differences or accounts; to come to an agreement on matters in dispute.
    He has settled with his creditors.
  29. (intransitive) To conclude a lawsuit by agreement of the parties rather than a decision of a court.
  30. (intransitive, obsolete) To make a jointure for a spouse.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Samuel Garth
      He sighs with most success that settles well.
  31. (transitive, of an animal) To impregnate.
    • 1926, Farmers' Bulletin - Issues 801-825:
      Some mares do not show signs of being in heat even when tried ("teased") regularly with a stallion, but they often can be settled either by natural or artificial service, provided the approximate time of ovulation is determined and they are not suffering from either a diseased or abnormal condition of the reproductive system.
    • 2010, Heather Smith Thomas, Storey's Guide to Raising Horses, 2nd Edition →ISBN:
      Those sperm may still be viable, enabling the stallion to settle mares for a while until he runs out of mature sperm and has no more coming on because of the gap in production while he was sick or injured.
    • 2012, Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac →ISBN:
      However, even a stallion with low volume, poor-quality semen, if properly managed, can adequately settle mares.
  32. (intransitive, of an animal) To become pregnant.
    • 1928, The journal of heredity - Volume 19, page 415:
      During March, 1926, two more mares were bred to him and on February 14, 1927 one of them foaled a perfectly formed bay stud foal. It is not known whether or not the other mare settled for she was never returned for trial.
    • 1977, Stud Managers' Handbook - Volume 13, page 153:
      This older mare created many, many problems for us in terms of trying to get the mare to settle. She came to us in January, and her record shows fairly consistent heats, but she had numerous problems which will be outlined in Example l0.
    • 2017, Jacob (Jack) Moorman, Living Legend, →ISBN:
      There are several kinds of hormones available that may help your mare to settle properly in case she is difficult to get in foal.
Alternative forms[edit]
  • sattle (in several British dialects)
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Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English settle, setle, setel, setil, seotel, from Old English setl (that upon which one sits, a seat, a settle, a place to sit), from Proto-Germanic *setlaz (a seat; arm-chair), representing Proto-Indo-European *sed-lo-, from *sed- (sit). Cognate with Dutch zetel, German Sessel, Latin sella.


settle (plural settles)

  1. (archaic) A seat of any kind.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Hampole:
      upon the settle of his majesty
    • (Can we date this quote?) Joshua Sylvester:
      If hunger drive the Pagans from their dens,
      One, 'gainst a settle breaketh both his shins;
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Richard Green:
      [The] Queen or eorl's wife, with a train of maidens, bore ale-bowl or mead-bowl round the hall, from the high settle of king or ealdorman in the midst to the mead benches ranged around its walls, while the gleeman sang the hero-songs
  2. (now rare) A long bench with a high back and arms, often with chest or storage space underneath.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Scott, Marmion:
      On oaken settle Marmion sate, And view'd around the blazing hearth.
    • (Can we date this quote?) J. W. Palmer, After his Kind:
      By the fireside, the big arm-chair [...] fondly cronied with two venerable settles within the chimney corner.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Hardy
      Of these, five women, wearing gowns of various bright hues, sat in chairs along the wall; girls shy and not shy filled the window-bench; four men, including Charley Jake the hedge-carpenter, Elijah New the parish-clerk, and John Pitcher, a neighboring dairyman, the shepherd's father-in-law, lolled in the settle.
  3. (obsolete) A place made lower than the rest; a wide step or platform lower than some other part. (Compare a depression.)
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Ezekiel xliii. 14
      And from the bottom upon the ground, even to the lower settle, shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit.