Did you know?

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

set up - definition and synonyms

Close

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.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
phrasal verb
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyset up
he/she/itsets up
present participlesetting up
past tenseset up
past participleset up
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  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
    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
  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. 7
    [transitive] British to prepare someone for something
  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 10
    set up camp
    1. a.
      to put a tent in an upright position, or to build a shelter somewhere

      We set up camp for the night near the river.

    2. b.
      to put your possessions or equipment in a particular place so that you can live, work, or spend a lot of time there

      She set up camp in the kitchen while they painted the bedroom.

  11. 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

  12. 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

conlang

… a language for human communication which has been invented and has not developed naturally

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

spogs

spectacles; boiled sweets, candy; soft aniseed-flavoured jelly sweets coated with blue and pink sugar sprinkles

add a word

Blog

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