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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.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Strongly opposed to: We are dead set against the idea.
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.