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set about (doing something)
To undertake a task; to begin doing something. After the meeting, I'll set about writing a draft of the report. They set about cleaning the house from top to bottom before their guests arrived.
set about (one)
old-fashioned To attack or assault one physically. The two thugs set about the poor man with iron crowbars. I accosted the man for his rude remarks, and he set about me before I knew what was happening.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
set someone about something
to make someone begin doing something. I set the boys about raking up the leaves. She set herself about repairing the damaged machine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Begin, start, as in How do we set about solving this puzzle? [c. 1600]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To start doing something or some task: After collecting sticks, the campers set about building a fire.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.