sets up; set up; setting up
1 : to prepare for something by putting things where they need to be
We have one hour left to set up for the party.
We had better start setting up.
2 set up (something) or set (something) up a : to create or establish (something) for a particular purpose
A panel needs to be set up to investigate the issue.
She hopes that in a few years she can set up a private practice of her own.
A foundation was set up for people with the disease.
The church set up a school for the city's homeless children.
The hikers set up camp [=they prepared an area where they could sleep outside] just before sunset.
2 set up (something) or set (something) up b : to arrange and plan (an event or activity)
I'll ask my secretary to set up a meeting with our clients.
Let's set up a time to get together.
He was the one who set up the bank robbery.
2 set up (something) or set (something) up c : to put (something) in an upright position
They set up flags along the street for the parade.
Help me set the tent up.
2 set up (something) or set (something) up d : to make (a machine, system, etc.) ready to be used
They set up the movie camera next to the door.
This computer wasn't set up to run so many programs at one time.
3 set (someone) up or set up (someone) a : to cause (someone) to be in a bad situation or to appear guilty
Those aren't his drugs. Someone must have set him up! [=framed him; made it look like the drugs were his]
He claimed he was set up by the police.
3 set (someone) up or set up (someone) b British : to help (someone) feel healthy and full of energy
She says that daily exercise has set her up to face the challenges of getting old.
3 set (someone) up or set up (someone) c : to give (someone) a job, a place to live, etc.
She set me up in a great apartment in the city.
He set his son up with a job at his company.
3 set (someone) up or set up (someone) d : to do something that makes it likely or possible for (someone) to do, get, or experience something
The team's excellent defense set them up to score the winning touchdown.
— usually + for
I think you're just setting yourself up for a big disappointment. [=you're expecting something that won't happen and you will be disappointed when it doesn't]
3 set (someone) up or set up (someone) e : to cause (someone) to meet someone in order to start a romantic relationship
“How did you first meet your husband?” “My best friend set us up.”
— often + with
She wants to set him up with her sister.
4 set (yourself) up as (something) a : to try to make people believe that you are (something)
She has set herself up as the best alternative to the current administration.
He sets himself up as a defender of the people, but he's really only interested in getting more power.
4 set (yourself) up as (something) b : also set up as (something) or set up in (something) : to start your own business
She set (herself) up as a wedding planner. [=she began working as a wedding planner]
He set up in business after finishing college.