AskDefine | Define setback

Dictionary Definition

set-back n : structure where a wall or building narrows abruptly [syn: setoff, offset]setback n : an unfortunate happening that hinders of impedes; something that is thwarting or frustrating [syn: reverse, reversal, blow, black eye]

User Contributed Dictionary



From set + back



  1. An obstacle, delay, or disadvantage.
    After some initial setbacks, the expedition went safely on its way.
  2. The required distance between a structure and a road.
  1. (possibly archaic) A backset; a countercurrent; an eddy.
  2. A backset; a check; a repulse; a ; a relapse.

Extensive Definition

Setback may have the following meanings:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

arrest, arrestation, arrestment, atavism, backset, backsliding, backward deviation, backward motion, backward step, bafflement, balk, betrayed hope, blasted expectation, blighted hope, blockage, blocking, blow, buffet, check, checkmate, clogging, closing up, closure, comedown, confusion, constriction, cramp, cruel disappointment, dash, dashed hope, deceleration, defeat, delay, descent, detainment, detention, disappointment, discomfiture, disillusionment, dissatisfaction, down, drag, ease-off, ease-up, failure, fallen countenance, falling back, fiasco, fixation, fizzle, flagging, foil, foiling, foot-dragging, forlorn hope, frustration, hampering, hindering, hindrance, holdback, holdup, hope deferred, impediment, inhibition, interference, interruption, lag, lapse, let, letdown, letup, minus acceleration, mirage, negativism, nuisance value, obstacle, obstruction, obstructionism, occlusion, opposition, reaction, rebuff, recession, recidivation, recidivism, recrudescence, recurrence, reentry, refluence, reflux, regress, regression, relapse, renewal, repression, repulse, resistance, restraint, restriction, retardation, retardment, retroaction, retrocession, retroflexion, retrogradation, retrogression, retrusion, return, reversal, reverse, reverse of fortune, reversion, rollback, rout, severe check, slack-up, slackening, slowdown, slowing, slowing down, slowup, sore disappointment, squeeze, sternway, stranglehold, stricture, stumbling block, suppression, tantalization, tease, throwback
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