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See also: Settle



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).
    • 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 1782345329:
      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 cause to be no longer in a disturbed condition; to quiet; to calm (nerves, waters, a boisterous or rebellious child, etc).
  6. (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, [...]
  7. (transitive) To bring or restore (ground, roads, etc) to a smooth, dry, or passable condition.
    clear weather settles the roads
  8. (transitive) To place or arrange in(to) a desired state, or make final disposition of (something).
    to settle my affairs
    to settle her estate
  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.
    • 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 1101199180:
      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 143919954X:
      She twisted out from under the claim of his palm to settle her feet on the floor.
    • 2002, Tom Deitz, Warautumn ISBN 0553380710, 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. (transitive, of an animal) To impregnate.
    • 2010, Heather Smith Thomas, Storey's Guide to Raising Horses, 2nd Edition ISBN 1603426876:
      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 1603428372:
      However, even a stallion with low volume, poor-quality semen, if properly managed, can adequately settle mares.
  19. (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
  20. (intransitive) To become married, or a householder.
  21. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (intransitive) To be established in a profession or in employment.
    to settle in the practice of law
  22. (intransitive, usually with "down", "in", "on" or another preposition) To become stationary or fixed; to come to rest.
    • Francis Bacon
      The wind came about and settled in the west.
    • 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
  23. (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
  24. (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.
  25. (intransitive) To become clear due to the sinking of sediment. (Used especially of liquid. also used figuratively.)
    • Joseph Addison
      A government, on such occasions, is always thick before it settles.
    wine settles by standing
  26. (intransitive) To sink to the bottom of a body of liquid, as dregs of a liquid, or the sediment of a reservoir.
  27. (intransitive) To sink gradually to a lower level; to subside, for example the foundation of a house, etc.
  28. (intransitive) To become compact due to sinking.
    the chips in the bag of potato chips settled during shipping
  29. (intransitive) To adjust differences or accounts; to come to an agreement on matters in dispute.
    He has settled with his creditors.
  30. (intransitive) To conclude a lawsuit by agreement of the parties rather than a decision of a court.
  31. (intransitive, obsolete) To make a jointure for a spouse.
    • Samuel Garth
      He sighs with most success that settles well.
  32. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (intransitive, of an animal) To become pregnant.
Alternative forms[edit]
  • sattle (in several British dialects)
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

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.
    • Hampole:
      upon the settle of his majesty
    • Joshua Sylvester:
      If hunger drive the Pagans from their dens,
      One, 'gainst a settle breaketh both his shins;
    • 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.
    • Scott, Marmion:
      On oaken settle Marmion sate, And view'd around the blazing hearth.
    • J. W. Palmer, After his Kind:
      By the fireside, the big arm-chair [...] fondly cronied with two venerable settles within the chimney corner.
    • 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.)
    • 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.

Further reading[edit]