set the table

set the table

to place plates, glasses, napkins, etc., on the table before a meal. (The opposite of clear the table.) Jane, would you please set the table? Fm tired of setting the table. Ask someone else to do it.
See also: set, table

set the table

Also, lay the table. Arrange a cloth, plates, glasses, silverware and the like for a meal, as in Please set the table for eight tonight. [Late 1300s]
See also: set, table
References in classic literature ?
For, when the mouse had made the fire and fetched in the water, she could retire into her little room and rest until it was time to set the table.
So now the bird set the table, and the mouse looked after the food and, wishing to prepare it in the same way as the sausage, by rolling in and out among the vegetables to salt and butter them, she jumped into the pot; but she stopped short long before she reached the bottom, having already parted not only with her skin and hair, but also with life.
At half-past five, under his directions, I set the table in the cabin, with rough-weather trays in place, and then carried the tea and cooked food down from the galley.
Well," remarked the woman, as she bustled around the room and set the table and brought food from the cupboard, "you were unlucky to live all alone in that dismal forest, which is much worse than the forest around here; but perhaps your luck will change, now you are away from it.
I wish sometimes that I could bridle Minnie's," murmured Rebecca, as she went to set the table for supper.
Where were his lobster Newburgs now, his cold quarts that were wont to set the table in a roar?
There was plenty of food in the larder, and while Beth and Amy set the table, Meg and Jo got breakfast, wondering as they did why servants ever talked about hard work.
To see such things done with the roguish naivete of that pretty little child, and hear such things spoken by that small infantile voice, was as peculiarly piquant and irresistibly droll to them as it was inexpressibly distressing and painful to me; and when he had set the table in a roar he would look round delightedly upon them all, and add his shrill laugh to theirs.
She would set the table and they would sit down opposite each other, and eat their dinner; she ate as little as possible, herself, to avoid any extra expense, but would stuff him so with food that he would finally go to sleep.
The clock marked a quarter before twelve when he climbed up out of the lazarette, replaced the trapdoor, and hurried to set the table.
When the morning was well on between four and five, she slipped off her shoes (that her going about, might not wake Charley), trimmed the fire sparingly, put water on to boil, and set the table for breakfast.
The others did the same, and set the table on its legs again.
At last, about four o'clock, at the very moment when the Abbe de Sponde returned home, and just as mademoiselle began to think she had set the table with the best plate and linen and prepared the choicest dishes to no purpose, the click-clack of a postilion was heard in the Val-Noble.
For more information on how you can get involved, visit Andy's Set the Table page: help.
As this program was the first of two parts, she asked the children (as a homework assignment) to help their parents set the table for dinner that evening.