set off

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Related to set off: set off against

set off (for something)

to leave for something or some place. We set off for Springfield three hours late. It was afternoon before we could set off.
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set someone off

1. Fig. to cause someone to become very angry; to ignite someone's anger. (Based on set something off {2}.) That kind of thing really sets me off ! Your rude behavior set off Mrs. Franklin.
2. Fig. to cause someone to start talking or lecturing about a particular subject. (Based on set something off .) When I mentioned high taxes it really set Walter off. He talked and talked. The subject set off my uncle, and he talked on endlessly.
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set something off

1. Lit. to ignite something, such as fireworks. The boys were setting firecrackers off all afternoon. They set off rocket after rocket.
2. Fig. to cause something to begin. The coach set the race off with a shot from the starting pistol. She set off the race with a whistle.
3. Fig. to make something distinct or outstanding. The lovely stonework sets the fireplace off quite nicely. The white hat really sets off Betsy's eyes.
See also: off, set

set off

also set out
to start going somewhere He got a Guggenheim fellowship and set off for Mexico to write a novel. You need to be fit and well rested before you set off on a hiking trip. When the car broke down, he set out on foot for help.
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set somebody off

to cause someone to become excited and upset My sister was an unpredictable young woman, and I never knew what would set her off.
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set off something

also set something off
1. to cause an explosion The investigation determined that he probably did not set off the blast deliberately. Apparently the bomb was placed in a locker and someone set it off with a cell phone.
2. to cause sudden activity Rumors set off a wave of selling on the stock exchange. If you keep your phone in a pocket and lean up against something, you may accidentally set it off.
3. to cause something to be noticed or make it more attractive You look terrific with those black slacks, and the bright blue blouse sets off your eyes.
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set off

1. Give rise to, cause to occur, as in The acid set off a chemical reaction. [Early 1600s]
2. Cause to explode, as in They set off a bomb. [Late 1800s]
3. Distinguish, show to be different, contrast with, as in That black coat sets him off from the others in the picture, or Italics set this sentence off from the rest of the text. [Late 1500s]
4. Enhance, make more attractive, as in That color sets off her blonde hair. [Early 1600s]
5. Begin a journey, leave, as in When do you set off for Europe? [Second half of 1700s]
See also: off, set

set off

1. To give rise to something; cause something to occur: The heat set off a chemical reaction. A branch fell on my car and set the alarm off.
2. To cause something to explode: At midnight, we set off a string of firecrackers. The terrorists were building a bomb and planned to set it off in the train station.
3. To make someone suddenly or demonstrably angry: The clerk's indifference finally set me off. The constant delays set off even the most patient passengers.
4. set off from To indicate someone or something as being different; distinguish someone or something: His strong features set him off from the crowd. Indented margins set off the quotation from the rest of the text.
5. To direct attention to something by contrast; accentuate something: The editor suggested that I set off the passage with italics. The artist set the photograph off with a black background.
6. To counterbalance, counteract, or compensate for something. Used chiefly in the passive: Our dismay at her leaving was set off by our knowing that she was happy.
7. To start on a journey: When do you set off for China? The soldier set off on a mission.
See also: off, set
References in periodicals archive ?
Engineers had to work late into Thursday night to deal with the chaos caused after hydrants were set off on nine streets in Birkenhead.
The friends now plan to set off for Paris tonight and still hope to reach there by Friday night.
It is illegal for fireworks to be set off or thrown in a public place.
Pictures on Twitter, purporting to have been taken from inside The Great Western Pub in the city centre, showed chairs and tables upended, while a video showing a smoke-bomb being set off in the pub was also posted on YouTube.
Every year we set off fireworks and this year will be no different," said Lao Guo, 45, a convenience store worker.
The Londoner played a well-received set at Radio 1's Hackney weekend and now plans to set off on a UK tour.
After handing in his petition on April 18, and despite suffering severe shin splints, Mr Heslehurst and support driver Jeannette Eaton set off to walk back to Middlesbrough, arriving just before noon yesterday.
Rescuers said they set off without a map or compass and called for help after becoming lost in cloud as darkness fell.
According to the Sun, Stephen Curley, 26, died instantly when Aga Wali set off a roadside bomb, in Helmand province in May last year.
In the winter, fireworks can only be set off between 8:30 p.
Summary: A suspected suicide bomber who killed 22 people outside a church likely planned to set off the explosives inside so as to kill as many people as possible.
Abu Dhabi To promote innovation and renewable energy across the UAE, 47-year-old Emirati Haidar Taleb will set off on a journey which will take him across all seven emirates in a solar-powered wheelchair.
MOTORING writer and broadcaster Quentin Willson waved off bosses in Warwick as they set off to drive 1,180 miles to raise cash for charity.
Forty competitors set off on this year's event to Criccieth, from West Bromwich on Saturday.
HEATHER Mills was ordered to have her artificial leg swabbed for explosives by airport staff after it set off a security alarm.