See also: set back


English Wikipedia has an article on:
setback in architecture


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɛtbæk/
  • (file)


From the verb phrase set back.


setback (plural setbacks)

  1. An obstacle, delay, disadvantage, blow (an adverse event which retards or prevents progress towards a desired outcome)
    After some initial setbacks, the expedition went safely on its way.
  2. (US) The required distance between a structure and a road.
  3. (architecture) A step-like recession in a wall.
    Setbacks were initially used for structural reasons, but now are often mandated by land use codes.
  4. An offset to the temperature setting of a thermostat to cover a period when more or less heating is required than usual.
    • 1980, Popular Science (volume 217, number 4)
      Fuel savings from thermostat setbacks have long been accepted as fact, but little documentation existed to support it.
  5. (possibly archaic) A backset; a countercurrent; an eddy.
  6. (archaic) A backset; a check; a repulse; a relapse.


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for setback in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)