Definition of set about in English:

set about

phrasal verb

  • 1Start doing something with vigour or determination:

    ‘it would be far better to admit the problem openly and set about tackling it’
    • ‘Car companies, big and small, embraced the new category and set about creating cars for it.’
    • ‘After breakfast he sets about cleaning his truck till it gleams and drives off to work at a stone quarry.’
    • ‘I am relieved to see that our government has set about dealing with this problem.’
    • ‘She then sets about building the nest laying her eggs as the work proceeds.’
    • ‘So what he does is identify a specific problem in the workplace and sets about resolving it.’
    • ‘But this team has shown over the year to be up to the challenge and set about the task of closing the gap.’
    • ‘She set about getting rid of the dresses and her hick accent and her love of cowboy songs.’
    • ‘In the millennium year the club set about an ambitious task of upgrading their facilities.’
    • ‘I arrived in Scotland today and set about exploring the ruins of Tantallon Castle.’
    • ‘They set about finding out what their peers were eating and the results don't make for good news.’
    begin, start, make a start on, go about, set to, get to work on, get down to, get going on, embark on, tackle, attack, address oneself to, buckle down to, undertake
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  • 2British informal Attack (someone):

    ‘the policeman began to set about him with his truncheon’
    • ‘You cheer when he manages to gain respect by setting about tormentors with a fistful of batteries.’
    • ‘As he tried to recover it, the other side's players thought she was being assaulted and set about him.’
    • ‘He claimed the cabbie had assaulted him, setting about him with a wheel brace and then trying to run him over.’
    attack, assail, assault, hit, strike, beat, give someone a beating, thrash, pound, pummel, wallop, hammer, tear into, set upon, fall on, turn on, let fly at
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