Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

set back

 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyset back
he/she/itsets back
present participlesetting back
past tenseset back
past participleset back

Related dictionary definitions

  1. 1
    to delay the progress of someone or something

    The spending cuts have set the research project back several years.

  2. 2
    set someone back something informal to cost someone a particular amount of money, especially a large amount

    Jim's new car must have set him back a bundle.

See also main entry: set

Open Dictionary

breakfast rave

a rave … that takes place early in the morning and where there is no alcohol or drugs …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog