The word ‘set’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to harden or put something in a specific position.
- The jelly will take 3 hours to set. (harden)
- Darcy set the table ready for the dinner party. (put in a specific position)
Set is an irregular verb. The past tense is set and the past participle is set.
idioms list with ‘set’
- etched/set in stone – permanent/fixed/can’t be changed
e.g. The contract isn’t set in stone, we can still make some tweaks.
- get/set the ball rolling – start a process
e.g. I want to sell my house. I’ll call the estate agent and get the ball rolling tomorrow.
- set in one’s ways – a person who has fixed habits and doesn’t like change
e.g. My boyfriend is too set in his ways, he won’t change.
- set one back – the cost, the price
e.g. The train will set you back £28, or you could stay at mine for free?
- set the pace – determine the speed/rate
e.g. Ethel has sold 20,000 units this week, she’s set the pace for the rest of us.
- set the record straight – give a truthful version of events
e.g. Everyone is saying I’m a cheater. I need to set the record straight, we’ve separated.
Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.
Hey, did you know the verb ‘set’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.
Am I right?
I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘set’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.