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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

set-back

[set-bak] /ˈsɛtˌbæk/
noun
1.
Surveying. the interval by which a chain or tape exceeds the length being measured.
2.
setback (def 4).
Origin
special use of setback

setback

[set-bak] /ˈsɛtˌbæk/
noun
1.
a check to progress; a reverse or defeat:
The new law was a setback.
2.
Architecture. a recession of the upper part of a building from the building line, as to lighten the structure or to permit a desired amount of light and air to reach ground level at the foot of the building.
3.
an act or instance of setting back:
A nightly setback of your home thermostats can save a great deal of fuel.
4.
Also, set-back. a downward temperature adjustment of a thermostat, especially performed automatically, as by a timer.
Origin
1665-75; noun use of verb phrase set back
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for setback
  • Also, check with local officials on property line setback requirements.
  • Science suffers a setback and leads to a breakthrough.
  • Certain factors can cause dry eyes, which in my case caused a major setback on two different occasions.
  • It was a setback for play advocates and made researchers wonder whether the field was based on science or sentimental hype.
  • It seems likely that this is not a temporary setback in academic employment.
  • In private industry, by contrast, losing a job is often a manageable setback.
  • Despite this apparent setback, intelligence testing and the line of thinking that underlies it have actually triumphed.
  • But second of all, it's potentially a really big setback to making the case effectively.
  • Another setback could make the difficult impossible.
  • The decision is a setback in environmentalists' campaign to link endangered species protection and climate policy.
British Dictionary definitions for setback

set back

verb (transitive, adverb)
1.
to hinder; impede
2.
(informal) to cost (a person) a specified amount
noun
3.
anything that serves to hinder or impede
4.
a recession in the upper part of a high building, esp one that increases the daylight at lower levels
5.
Also called offset, setoff. a steplike shelf where a wall is reduced in thickness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for setback
n.

also set-back, 1670s, "reversal, check to progress," from set (v.) + back (adv.). Sometimes backset was used in the same sense. Meaning "space between a building and a property line" is from 1916. To set (someone) back "cost" is from 1900.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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15
17
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