set off

set off  {v.}
1. To decorate through contrast; balance by difference.
The bright colors of the birds were set off by the white snow.
A small gold pin set off her plain dark dress.
2. To balance; make somewhat equal.
Her great wealth, as he thought, set off her plain face.
3a. To begin to go.
They set off for the West in a covered wagon.
Compare: SET OUT.
3b. To cause to begin.
A letter from home set off an attack of homesickness.
An atomic explosion is created by setting off a chain reaction in the atom.
Compare: TOUCH OFF.
3c. To cause to explode.
On July 4 we set off firecrackers in many places.
Categories: verb

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