English dictionary



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English verb: set off

1. set off (creation) put in motion or move to act


SamplesTrigger a reaction.
Actuate the circuits.


Synonymsactivate, actuate, spark, spark off, touch off, trigger, trigger off, trip


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something


Broader (hypernym)initiate, pioneer


Causecome about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place

2. set off (motion) leave


SamplesThe family took off for Florida.


ExamplesThe children set off to the playground


Synonymsdepart, part, set forth, set out, start, start out, take off


Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s.
Somebody ----s PP


Broader (hypernym)go away, go forth, leave


Narrower (hyponym)blaze, blaze out, lift off, roar off, sally forth, sally out, take off

3. set off (change) direct attention to, as if by means of contrast


SamplesThis dress accentuates your nice figure!.
I set off these words by brackets.


Synonymsbring out


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something


Broader (hypernym)accent, accentuate, emphasise, emphasize, punctuate, stress


Narrower (hyponym)foreground, highlight, pick up, play up, raise, spotlight

4. set off (change) cause to burst with a violent release of energy


SamplesWe exploded the nuclear bomb.


Synonymsblow up, detonate, explode


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something


Broader (hypernym)change integrity


Narrower (hyponym)dynamite, fulminate


Causeblow up, detonate, explode

5. set off (stative) make up for


SamplesHis skills offset his opponent's superior strength.


Synonymscancel, offset


Pattern of useSomething ----s something


Broader (hypernym)balance, equilibrate, equilibrise, equilibrize


Narrower (hyponym)counteract, counterbalance, countervail, neutralize

6. set off (change) set in motion or cause to begin


SamplesThe guide set the tour off to a good start.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody.
Something ----s somebody.
Something ----s something


Broader (hypernym)begin, commence, lead off, start

7. set off (communication) provoke or stir up


SamplesIncite a riot.
Set off great unrest among the people.


Synonymsincite, instigate, stir up


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody.
Somebody ----s somebody to INFINITIVE


Broader (hypernym)provoke, stimulate


Narrower (hyponym)raise


Causeact, move









Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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