set off

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Related to set off: set off against

set (someone or something) off

1. To ignite or cause something to explode. Kids in the area have been setting off fireworks all night long. The police set a small bomb off to force the door open.
2. To cause something to begin or occur. The incident set off a series of protests that ultimately resulted in the law being changed. Adding salt to the solution will set off a chain reaction, producing a great amount of heat and light.
3. To trigger or activate something. If you open this door, it will set off the fire alarm. The fire set off the sprinkler system.
4. To make someone very angry or upset. Having his integrity questioned set Jim off like nothing I've seen before. Nothing sets me off more than seeing someone hit a child.
5. To induce someone to lecture or talk about something at length. Don't bring up taxes, or you'll set your father off again. Seeing someone in uniform always sets Jerry off about his time in the military.
See also: off, set

set off (for some place)

To depart for or begin traveling (to some place). Have an amazing time in Japan! When do you set off? I'm setting off for New York tomorrow to attend a business meeting.
See also: off, set

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.
See also: off, set

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 (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.
See also: off, set

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 ?
31) As noted above, account combination can also be understood as an implied contractual term under which the bank is entitled to set off its customer s current debit balances against reciprocal deposit account balances.
A spokesman for United Utilities said: "Our teams worked long into the night to try and keep the liverpool uk water flowing to people's homes, but they were up against it with so many hydrants being set off.
People have been told to leave the region's beaches as they found them if they set off fireworks >
A video shows a smoke-bomb being set off in the packed pub, with yellow smoke filling the main room as supporters with pins ts chant and film the scene on mobile phones.
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.
Holyhead Coastguard requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat following a flare being set off close to Traeth Bychan.
In the winter, fireworks can only be set off between 8:30 p.
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.
HEATHER Mills was ordered to have her artificial leg swabbed for explosives by airport staff after it set off a security alarm.
set off 1 : to start a journey <We set off for home.
You know the sort of thing - back-packing around the Caribbean, round-the-world cruises set off by a winter slumming it in fashionable skiing resorts.
MORE than 400 soldiers have set off to walk the length of Hadrian's Wall in a five-day sponsored trek for charity.
In fact, acting in concert with the principle of compatibility will set off a highly positive chain of events, which runs something like this:
Mrs James set off from Newport, South Wales, to her home in Llandrindod Wells, Powys, after a five-day stay with relatives.