set the scene

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set the scene

1. In a narrative work, to establish the setting through description. I'm really impressed with how the author is able to set the scene while simultaneously working in a lot of exposition.
2. Similarly, to describe something so that others can understand or envision it. Let me set the scene for you: I walked into the middle of an all-out food fight and was promptly hit with a plate of spaghetti. So I think I punished those students appropriately.
3. To be the catalyst for something that happens later. Their squabbling at Thanksgiving set the scene for a total screaming match on Christmas. A positive conversation with the CEO today could set the scene for a promotion tomorrow.
See also: scene, set

set the scene

COMMON
1. If you set the scene, you briefly tell people what they need to know about a subject, so that they can understand what is going to happen next. I was writing an article and wanted to set the scene by giving a few details about how widespread the custom was. To visualize this period of his career it is first necessary to set the scene and describe the events leading up to World War 2. Note: You can also use the noun scene-setting. There's a certain amount of scene-setting in the initial chapter.
2. If something sets the scene for an event, it creates the conditions in which that event is likely to happen. Some members feared that Germany might raise its interest rates. That could have set the scene for a confrontation with the US, which is concerned that increases could cut demand for its exports. The first hour's cricket set the scene for a superbly entertaining day as England and South Africa played some of the best cricket ever seen.
See also: scene, set

set the scene

1 describe a place or situation in which something is about to happen. 2 create the conditions for a future event.
See also: scene, set

set the ˈscene/ˈstage (for something)


1 give somebody the information they need in order to understand what comes next: The first few chapters of the book just set the scene.
2 create the conditions in which something can easily happen: His arrival set the scene for another argument.With so many economic and political problems, the stage was set for another war.
See also: scene, set, stage

set the scene

/stage for
To provide the underlying basis for: saber rattling that set the stage for war.
See also: scene, set
References in periodicals archive ?
Russell Crowe (right) flexes his impressive pecs as Maximus, the Roman general betrayed by the ambitious young Caesar and sold into slavery, only to rise fame at the Colosseum as a powerful and brave gladiator - setting the scene for a dramatic showdown.
The novel definitely reads as the first in a series with the last chapter setting the scene for the next installment in the saga.
Setting the scene of early television: ``They really captured the frenetic pace and how new it was and how fresh it was during that time around the birth of this television network.
Patient compliance setting the scene, Dr Faiz Kermani and Dr Madhu Davies
By the time NBC gets through setting the scene this week, Michelle Kwan will have risen to the heroic stature of Joan of Arc, and the Apolo Anton Ohno box covers will be rolling off the presses at Wheaties headquarters.
The music is smoothly integrated and goes a long way toward establishing a tone and setting the scene.
Hayden spends a long time setting the scene, using his raw, sandpapery voice to summon what seems like a disproportionate amount of anguish.