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Author: estd Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 3157  
Subject: Arbitrary Definitions Date: 2/26/2001 1:15 PM
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Oh good! If the answer depends on the definition, please choose some of the more interesting examples of definitions and show how the answer changes.

I know you were trying to get me to answer your question in relation to your post, but I choose to answer it in relation to nothing in particular except to give a brief example of interesting examples of definition and how the answer changes. Everyone "knows" what the word "set" means, right?

Let's see how arbitrary we can be and still stick with the accepted definition(s) according to Webster:


Main Entry: 1set
Pronunciation: 'set
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): set; set·ting
Etymology: Middle English setten, from Old English settan; akin to Old High German sezzen to set, Old English sittan to sit
Date: before 12th century
transitive senses
1 : to cause to sit : place in or on a seat
2 a : to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them b : to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator
3 : to place (oneself) in position to start running in a race
4 a : to place with care or deliberate purpose and with relative stability <set a ladder against the wall> <set a stone on the grave> b : TRANSPLANT 1 <set seedlings> c (1) : to make (as a trap) ready to catch prey (2) : to fix (a hook) firmly into the jaw of a fish d : to put aside (as dough containing yeast) for fermenting
5 : to direct with fixed attention <set your mind to it>
6 a : to cause to assume a specified condition, relation, or occupation <slaves were set free> <set the house on fire> b : to cause the start of <set a fire>
7 a : to appoint or assign to an office or duty b : POST, STATION
8 : to cause to assume a specified posture or position <set the door ajar>
9 a : to fix as a distinguishing imprint, sign, or appearance <the years have set their mark on him> b : AFFIX c : APPLY <set a match to kindling>
10 : to fix or decide on as a time, limit, or regulation : PRESCRIBE <set a wedding day> <set the rules for the game>
11 a : to establish as the highest level or best performance <set a record for the half mile> b : to furnish as a pattern or model <set an example of generosity> c : to allot as a task <setting lessons for the children to work upon at home -- Manchester Examiner>
12 a : to adjust (a device and especially a measuring device) to a desired position <set the alarm for 7:00> <set a thermostat at 68>; also : to adjust (as a clock) in conformity with a standard b : to restore to normal position or connection when dislocated or fractured <set a broken bone> c : to spread to the wind <set the sails>
13 a : to put in order for use <set a place for a guest> b : to make scenically ready for a performance <set the stage> c (1) : to arrange (type) for printing <set type by hand> (2) : to put into type or its equivalent (as on film) <set the first word in italic>
14 a : to put a fine edge on by grinding or honing <set a razor> b : to bend slightly the tooth points of (a saw) alternately in opposite directions c : to sink (the head of a nail) below the surface
15 : to fix in a desired position (as by heating or stretching)
16 : to arrange (hair) in a desired style by using implements (as curlers, rollers, or clips) and gels or lotions
17 a : to adorn with something affixed or infixed : STUD, DOT <clear sky set with stars> b : to fix (as a precious stone) in a border of metal : place in a setting
18 a : to hold something in regard or esteem at the rate of <sets a great deal by daily exercise> b : to place in a relative rank or category <set duty before pleasure> c : to fix at a certain amount <set bail at $500> d : VALUE, RATE <their promises were set at naught> e : to place as an estimate of worth <set a high value on life>
19 : to place in relation for comparison or balance <theory set against practice>
20 a : to direct to action b : to incite to attack or antagonism <war sets brother against brother>
21 a : to place by transporting <was set ashore on the island> b : to put in motion c : to put and fix in a direction <set our faces toward home once more> d of a dog : to point out the position of (game) by holding a fixed attitude
22 : to defeat (an opponent or a contract) in bridge
23 a : to fix firmly : make immobile : give rigid form or condition to <set her jaw in determination> b : to make unyielding or obstinate
24 : to cause to become firm or solid <set milk for cheese>
25 : to cause (as fruit) to develop
intransitive senses
1 chiefly dialect : SIT
2 : to be becoming : be suitable : FIT <the coat sets well>
3 : to cover and warm eggs to hatch them
4 a : to become lodged or fixed <the pudding set heavily on my stomach> b : to place oneself in position in preparation for an action (as running)
5 of a plant part : to undergo development usually as a result of pollination
6 a : to pass below the horizon : go down <the sun sets> b : to come to an end <this century sets with little mirth -- Thomas Fuller>
7 : to apply oneself to some activity <set to work>
8 : to have a specified direction in motion : FLOW, TEND <the wind was setting from Pine Hill to the farm -- Esther Forbes>
9 of a dog : to indicate the position of game by crouching or pointing
10 : to dance face to face with another in a square dance <set to your partner and turn>
11 a : to become solid or thickened by chemical or physical alteration <the cement sets rapidly> b of a dye or color : to become permanent c of a bone : to become whole by knitting d of metal : to acquire a permanent twist or bend from strain
- set about : to begin to do
- set apart 1 : to reserve to a particular use 2 : to make noticeable or outstanding
- set aside 1 : to put to one side : DISCARD 2 : to reserve for a purpose : SAVE 3 : DISMISS 4 : ANNUL, OVERRULE
- set at : to mount an attack on : ASSAIL <would go although... devils should set at me -- Charlotte Yonge>
- set eyes on : to catch sight of
- set foot in : ENTER
- set foot on : to step onto
- set forth 1 : to give an account or statement of 2 : to start out on a journey
- set forward 1 : FURTHER 2 : to start out on a journey
- set in motion : to give impulse to <sets the story in motion vividly -- Howard Thompson>
- set one's hand to : to become engaged in
- set one's heart on : RESOLVE transitive sense 5 <she set her heart on going to medical school>
- set one's house in order : to organize one's affairs
- set one's sights on : to determine to pursue
- set one's teeth on edge : IRRITATE, ANNOY
- set one straight : to correct someone by providing accurate information
- set sail : to start out on a course esp : to begin a voyage <set sail for Bermuda>
- set store by or set store on : to consider valuable, trustworthy, or worthwhile
- set the stage : to provide the basis or background <this trend will set the stage for higher earnings>
- set to music : to provide music or instrumental accompaniment for (a text)
- set upon : to attack usually with violence <the dogs set upon the trespassers>


Main Entry: 2set
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 a : the act or action of setting b : the condition of being set
2 : a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together <an electric train set>
3 a : mental inclination, tendency, or habit : BENT <a set toward mathematics> b : a state of psychological preparedness usually of limited duration for action in response to an anticipated stimulus or situation <the influence of mental set on the effect experienced with marijuana>
4 : direction of flow <the set of the wind>
5 : form or carriage of the body or of its parts <her face took on a cynical set -- Raymond Kennedy>
6 : the manner of fitting or of being placed or suspended <in order to give the skirt a pretty set -- Mary J. Howell>
7 : amount of deflection from a straight line <set of a saw's teeth>
8 : permanent change of form (as of metal) due to repeated or excessive stress
9 : the act or result of arranging hair by curling or waving
10 also sett /'set/ a : a young plant or rooted cutting ready for transplanting b : a small bulb, corm, or tuber or a piece of tuber used for propagation <onion sets>
11 or sett : the burrow of a badger
12 : the width of the body of a piece of type
13 : an artificial setting for a scene of a theatrical or film production
14 also sett : a rectangular paving stone of sandstone or granite
15 : a division of a tennis match won by the side that wins at least six games beating the opponent by two games or by winning a tiebreaker
16 : a collection of books or periodicals forming a unit
17 : a clutch of eggs
18 : the basic formation in a country-dance or square dance
19 : a session of music (as jazz or dance music) usually followed by an intermission; also : the music played at one session
20 : a group of persons associated by common interests
21 : a collection of elements and especially mathematical ones (as numbers or points) -- called also class
22 : an apparatus of electronic components assembled so as to function as a unit <a television set>
23 : a usually offensive formation in football or basketball
24 : a group of a specific number of repetitions of a particular exercise


Main Entry: 3set
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English sett, from Old English gesett, past participle of settan
Date: 14th century
1 : INTENT, DETERMINED <set upon going>
2 : INTENTIONAL, PREMEDITATED <did it of set purpose>
3 : fixed by authority or appointment : PRESCRIBED, SPECIFIED <set hours of study>
4 : reluctant to change <set in their ways>
5 a : IMMOVABLE, RIGID <set frown> b : BUILT-IN <a set tub>
6 : SETTLED, PERSISTENT <set defiance>
7 : being in readiness : PREPARED <set for an early morning start>


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