set against

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set (one) against (someone or something)

To cause one to oppose, dislike, or fight against someone or something. Can't you see that he's trying to set us against each other? The new manager started spreading rumors in the hope of setting the employees against the new policy.
See also: set

set (something) against (something)

1. To create a background or context for something. The author set the story of the two brothers against the trauma of the First World War. The painting sets the little girl against an ominous background of black, violent clouds.
2. To juxtapose or create a contrast between two things. When you set the classic horror film against today's gore-soaked genre flicks, it seems positively tame by comparison. The two-bedroom duplex felt enormous when you set it against the tiny apartments most people occupy within the city.
See also: set
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

set something against someone or something

1. to place or lean something against someone or something. Dave set the chair against Fred and had to move it away. I set the rake against the side of the house.
2. to make someone hate or oppose someone or something. His second wife set him against his former in-laws. The Civil War set brother against brother.
See also: set
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

set against

Be or cause someone to be opposed to, as in Civil wars often set brother against brother, or The police chief's critics were set against his officers. [Late 1200s] Also see dead set against.
See also: set
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.

set against

1. To place something so that it is touching something on the side: I set my golf clubs against the car and opened the trunk.
2. To place something against some background: The author has set the love story against the backdrop of war. In the picture, the old church is set against the large, glass skyscrapers.
3. To place something in contrast to something else: The price seems like a bargain when you set it against real estate prices in larger cities.
4. To incite someone to oppose or resist someone or something: The civil war set families against one another. The bosses are set against the proposal, so I doubt it will go through.
See also: set
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.

set against

Strongly opposed to: We are dead set against the idea.
See also: set
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
And Quebec's C.R.A.Z.Y., set against a David Bowie and Pink Floyd-drenched 1970s, charts a closeted teen's complicated reconciliation with his sexuality and his Patsy Cline-obsessed father.
In generic colored sweatshirts and black pants by Florence Klotz and set against Ben Shahn's cityscapes, 16 adolescents register emotional tumult through the ballet's five sections, from the jazzy finger-snapping that punctuates explosions of physical vigor to the sparse but moving duet between two tentative lovers, Rachel Rutherford and Craig Hall.
Dressed entirely in black and set against a black backdrop, Lichtenstein appears to levitate, a pale hand dangling limply at her side.
Set against the backdrop of an uprising in Puerto Rico in 1950, a 12-year-old boy witnesses an incident between his mother and her lover that haunts him into his adult years.
The new store is expected to create 500 to 600 permanent jobs in Red Hook, but some community activists were dead set against it, citing the possibility of traffic gridlock and damage to landmark structures in the historic neighborhood.
If God can give God's only Son for those set against God, those who have no respect for God, then what will those "saved" do with the "peace" that has been given them?
Welch's invariably busy, creative mind offers a fast paced work filled with engaging characters, snappy dialogue and absorbing yarn all set against a framework of staggering spectacle and reverberation, fragrance and ambiance sure to draw the reader straight into the tale and hold interest fast to the end.
Also available in a paperback edition (1571316493, $6.95), Hard Times For Jake Smith is a novel set against the background of the 1930's "Great Depression".
Children were left feeling not believed, children were set against children and some suffered greatly;
Actors appear wearing West Coast First Nations ceremonial masks set against abstract woodland scenes, with bird calls and natural sounds heard in the background.
If that's the future of high school sports, we're dead set against it.
CECOM and the folks at Ft Huachuca that have to fix the shelters are dead set against storing or transporting anything on top of the shelters.
Those cavils, as always with Lucie ("Progress," "Hard Feelings"), must be set against his characteristic cut-and-thrust, a killer approach that has been firing up leftist British drama for two decades.
All this set against the background of New York City.
Nader's supporters (invariably described as "thoughtful") are set against a pitiful cast of sellouts, hacks, turncoats, and cowards, which constitutes more or less everyone else on the leftward side of the political universe.