set (someone or something) back

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set (someone or something) back

1. To cost someone a specific amount of money. Getting the car fixed is going to set me back nearly a grand. It's estimated the failed product set the company back roughly $2 million. Wow, how much did those shoes set you back?
2. To delay someone for a specific amount of time. That computer virus wiped out our data and set us back nearly a month in our work. He was supposed to arrive by 9, but the traffic jam set him back about an hour.
3. To delay or hinder something. A series of conflicts within the administration has set healthcare reform back yet again.
See also: back, set

set someone back (some amount of money)

to cost someone (an amount of money). This coat set me back about $250. That fancy dinner at the restaurant last night really set us back.
See also: back, set

set something back

 and put something back
to set something, like a timepiece, to a lower number. (Put is less common.) It's that time of year when you must set your clocks and watches back! Set back your clock tonight. I have to put all the clocks back.
See also: back, set

set back

1. Slow down the progress of, hinder, as in The project was set back by the frequent absences of staff members. [First half of 1500s]
2. Cost, as in That car set me back twenty thousand dollars. [Colloquial; c. 1900]
3. Change to a lower level or earlier time, as in We set back the thermostat whenever we go on vacation, or On October 10 we have to set back the clocks. [First half of 1600s] Set back the clock is also used figuratively to mean "return to an earlier era," as in He wished he could set back the clock to those carefree high-school days. Also see set forward.
See also: back, set

set back

1. To construct something so that it is a certain distance away from the edge of some boundary. Used in the passive: All houses must be set back 100 feet from the lake. The second tier of the building is set back 10 feet.
2. To slow down the progress of something; hinder something: Bad weather set the project back two weeks. The recent attacks have set back the peace process.
3. To cost someone some amount of money: That coat set me back $1,000.
4. To adjust some instrument or device to an earlier reading: Last fall, I forgot to set back my clock. The dealership set the odometer back and tried to sell the car as new.
See also: back, set

set someone back

tv. to cost someone. This bracelet set me back plenty.
See also: back, set, someone
References in periodicals archive ?
One of Birmingham's oldest independent jewellers has revealed how much the items favoured by Tommy Shelby and the Peaky Blinders would have set them back during the gang's heyday.
A private jet from California to New York can set them back as much as $50,000, ( Go Banking Rates noted.
Some players can get injuries which set them back a few weeks, but hopefully I can stay injury free."
Kyle Mills set them back by taking four for 14, Habibul Bashar top-scoring with 22.
Main sponsors Littlewoods are funding free admission at Firs Park for this afternoon's game against Elgin City (based on average attendances, it' s a scheme that will set them back about pounds 47) so we 'll see how many people are even remotely interested.
Rescate de Fauna Marina, an Uruguayan organization dedicated to saving marine wildlife, cleaned the aquatic birds and set them back on their annual migration from Patagonia to the shores of Brazil.
For This Will Kill That (all works 1999), Lapthisophon erected two ten-by-twenty-foot walls in the gallery and set them back to back.