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set (someone or something) (up)on (one)
To command, instruct, or order someone or an animal to attack one. The guards set the dogs on the would-be thieves. The crime boss set his goons upon the accountant who refused to launder money for him.
set (up)on (doing something)
Determined to do or achieve something. My cousin, set upon being the best tennis player in the world, trains for six hours every day. She's been set on becoming a fighter pilot ever since she was a little girl.
set (up)on (someone or something)
To viciously attack someone or something. The pair of thieves set upon the traveling merchant, stealing his goods and leaving him half-dead on the side of the road. The parade descended into chaos as a drunken band of teenagers set upon the main float and began tearing it to pieces. The deer was set on by the mountain lion.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
set upon someone or something
to attack someone or something violently. The dogs set upon the bear and chased it up a tree. Bill set upon Tom and struck him hard in the face.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
To attack someone or something violently: The gang set upon their victim with clubs.
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.