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set up - definition and synonyms


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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.



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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyset up
he/she/itsets up
present participlesetting up
past tenseset up
past participleset up
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to start something such as a business, organization, or institution
    The group plans to set up an import business.
    Rebels have set up an independent state within the country.
    set up shop (=start a business): Hewlett and Packard set up shop in the now legendary garage in downtown Palo Alto.
    1. a.
      [transitive] to make it possible for someone to start a business, organization, or institution
      set someone up in business: a privileged kid whose father set him up in business
  2. 2
    [transitive] to organize or plan something such as an event or system
    I’ll set up a meeting for Thursday.
    The program will set up a regional library system.
  3. 3
    [transitive] to build a structure, or to put it in a particular place
    Police have set up an emergency medical unit outside the building.
    set up a roadblock: The army set up roadblocks to stop people trying to escape.
  4. 4
    [transitive]set up something to make something start to happen
    Their negligence set up a chain reaction that resulted in extensive damage.
  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] to make a piece of equipment ready for use
    While the band is setting up, would you check on the food?
    The kids are setting up the volleyball net.
    Will you be able to set up my PC?
  6. 6
    [transitive] informal to arrange a situation so that someone is blamed for doing something, especially something illegal
    She claims she’s innocent and someone set her up.
  7. 8
    [transitive] mainly British to put someone in a position of power
    set someone up as something: a plan to set him up as party leader
  8. 9
    to arrange for two people who you know to go out together because you think they might like each other
    set someone up with someone: I think we should set Ryan up with my cousin.
  9. 11
    set someone up for life to provide someone with enough money so that they do not have to work for the rest of their life
    a trust fund that set her up for life
  10. 12
    set up house/home to begin living in a particular place or with a particular person
    After graduation, we decided to set up house together.
  11. 13
    set yourself up as something to claim to be something that you are not
    He sets himself up as some kind of a financial expert.
See also main entry: set


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

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