See also: Settle



  • enPR: sĕtʹəl, IPA(key): /ˈsɛtəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛtəl

Etymology 1Edit

From a merger of two verbs:

German siedeln (to settle) is related to the former of the two verbs, but is not an immediate cognate of either of them.


settle (third-person singular simple present settles, present participle settling, simple past and past participle settled)

  1. To conclude or resolve (something):
    1. (transitive) To determine (something which was exposed to doubt or question); to resolve conclusively; to set or fix (a time, an order of succession, etc).
      • (Can we date this quote by Jonathan Swift and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        It will settle the wavering, and confirm the doubtful.
      His fears were settled
      She hopes to settle and questions about the plans.
      The question of the succession to a throne needs to be settled.
    2. (transitive) To conclude, to cause (a dispute) to finish.
      to settle a quarrel
      1. (transitive) In particular, to terminate (a lawsuit), usually out of court, by agreement of all parties.
    3. (transitive) To close, liquidate or balance (an account) by payment, sometimes of less than is owed or due.
      • (Can we date this quote?) Paul Kelly, Willie Blair: A Tale of True Loss and Sadness →ISBN:
        The coffee was only surface wet and looked worse than it actually was and as he returned to the Reception Desk to settle his account and give back his room key, he was met again by the young man who was still wearing his rucksack.
    4. (transitive, colloquial) To pay (a bill).
      to settle a bill
    5. (intransitive) To adjust differences or accounts; to come to an agreement on matters in dispute.
      He has settled with his creditors.
    6. (intransitive) To conclude a lawsuit by agreement of the parties rather than a decision of a court.
      • 2010, Clay H. Kaminsky, “The Rome II Regulation: A Comparative Perspective on Federalizing Choice of Law”, in Tulane Law Review, volume 85, number 1, page 79:
        Of course, certainty is a value in all systems of conflict of laws—including those of the United States. Certainty for litigants decreases litigation and transaction costs and increases the chances that cases will settle.
  2. (transitive) To place or arrange in(to) a desired (especially: calm) state, or make final disposition of (something).
    to settle my affairs
    to settle her estate
    1. (transitive) To put into (proper) place; to make sit properly.
      • 2012, Nancy Gideon, Seeker of Shadows →ISBN:
        She twisted out from under the claim of his palm to settle her feet on the floor.
      • 2002, Tom Deitz, Warautumn →ISBN, page 53:
        Pausing only to settle his cloak and set his Regent's circlet on his hair, he strode to the rail and waited.
    2. (transitive) To cause to be no longer in a disturbed condition; to quiet; to calm (nerves, waters, a boisterous or rebellious child, etc).
      • (Can we date this quote by George Chapman and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        God settled then the huge whale-bearing lake.
      • (Can we date this quote by John Bunyan and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        Hoping that sleep might settle his brains.
    3. (Britain, dialectal) To silence, especially by force; by extension, to kill.
      • 1894-5, Patterson, Man and Nature (in The Primitive Methodist Magazine):
        I poured a charge of powder over the nipple so as not tu miss goin' off if possible. Click! went the match,—up jumped the flock, or tried tu. As they bunched up, Peggy blazed intu 'em, settlin’ how many I didn't know, [...]
    4. (transitive) To bring or restore (ground, roads, etc) to a smooth, dry, or passable condition.
      clear weather settles the roads
  3. (intransitive) To become calm, quiet, or orderly; to stop being agitated.
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale
      Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear: / Then, till the fury of his highness settle, / Come not before him.
    • 2017 March 14, Stuart James, “Leicester stun Sevilla to reach last eight after Kasper Schmeichel save”, in the Guardian[1]:
      With Vardy working tirelessly up front, chasing lost causes and generally making a nuisance of himself, Sevilla were never allowed to settle on a night when the atmosphere was electric inside the King Power Stadium.
    the weather settled;  wait until the crowd settles before speaking
    1. (intransitive) To become firm, dry, and hard, like the ground after the effects of rain or frost have disappeared.
      the roads settled late in the spring.
  4. To establish or become established in a steady position:
    1. (transitive) To place in(to) a fixed or permanent condition or position or on(to) a permanent basis; to make firm, steady, or stable; to establish or fix.
      • 2 Kings VIII. 11. (Rev. Ver.):
        And he settled his countenance steadfastly upon him,until he was ashamed.
    2. (transitive) In particular, to establish in life; to fix in business, in a home, etc.
      • 1700, Ovid, Metamorphoses, translation of original by John Dryden:
        The father thought the time drew on Of settling in the world his only son.
      • Bible
        But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever.
      1. (transitive, obsolete, US) In particular, to establish in pastoral office; to ordain or install as pastor or rector of a church, society, or parish.
        to settle a minister
    3. (transitive, law) To formally, legally secure (an annuity, property, title, etc) on (a person).
    4. (intransitive) To become married, or a householder.
      • (Can we date this quote by Matthew Prior and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        As people marry now and settle.
    5. (intransitive, with "in") To be established in a profession or in employment.
      • 1825, William Buell Sprague, An Historical Discourse Delivered at West Springfield:
        He is settled in the profession of law at Rochester, New York.
      • 1994, Arthur MacGregor, Sir Hans Sloane:
        Following his avowed aim to settle in his profession of medicine, Sloane arranged to call on Dr Thomas Sydenham, the foremost physician of his day in London, known as 'the English Hippocrates'.
      • 2016, J.K. Ng'eno & M.C. Chesimet, “Differences in Mathematics Teachers' Perceived Preparedness to Demonstrate Competence in Secondary School Mathematics Content by Teacher Characteristics”, in Journal of Education and Practice, volume 7, number 18:
        The likely explanation for this is the fact that between the two groups one is now settling in the profession while the older group is preparing to retire and are no longer keen to gain new skills.
    6. (intransitive, usually with "down", "in", "on" or another preposition) To become stationary or fixed; to come to rest.
      • (Can we date this quote by Francis Bacon and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        The wind came about and settled in the west.
      • (Can we date this quote by John Arbuthnot and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        Chyle [] runs through all the intermediate colors until it settles in an intense red.
      they settled down at an inn; the hawk settled on a branch
  5. (intransitive) To fix one's residence in a place; to establish a dwelling place, home, or colony. (Compare settle down.)
    the Saxons who settled in Britain
    1. (transitive, in particular) To colonize (an area); to migrate to (a land, territory, site, etc).
      the French first settled Canada
      the Puritans settled New England
      Plymouth was settled in 1620.
  6. (transitive) To move (people) to (a land or territory), so as to colonize it; to cause (people) to take residence in (a place).
    • 2001, Eric Nelson, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman Empire, →ISBN:
      Rome began to settle displaced or disenfranchised citizens, veterans, and allies in colonies beyond Italy.
  7. To sink, or cause (something, or impurities within it) to sink down, especially so as to become clear or compact.
    1. (transitive) To clear or purify (a liquid) of dregs and impurities by causing them to sink.
      to settle coffee, or the grounds of coffee
    2. (transitive) To cause to sink down or to be deposited (as dregs, sediment, etc).
      to settle the sediment out of the water
    3. (transitive) To render compact or solid; to cause to become packed down.
      to settle the chips in the potato chip bag by shaking it
    4. (intransitive) To sink to the bottom of a body of liquid, as dregs of a liquid, or the sediment of a reservoir.
    5. (intransitive) To sink gradually to a lower level; to subside, for example the foundation of a house, etc.
      • 1980, Robert M. Jones, editor, Walls and Ceilings, Time-Life Books, →ISBN, page 38:
        Sometimes a tub will settle at one corner, causing the rim to slope.
    6. (intransitive) To become compact due to sinking.
      the chips in the bag of potato chips settled during shipping
    7. (intransitive) To become clear due to the sinking of sediment. (Used especially of liquid. also used figuratively.)
      • (Can we date this quote by Joseph Addison and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        A government, on such occasions, is always thick before it settles.
      wine settles by standing
  8. (intransitive, obsolete) To make a jointure for a spouse.
    • (Can we date this quote by Samuel Garth and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      He sighs with most success that settles well.
  9. (transitive, intransitive, of an animal) To make or become pregnant.
    • 1926, Farmers' Bulletin, number 801-825:
      Some mares do not show signs of being in heat even when tried ("teased") regularly with a stallion, but they often can be settled either by natural or artificial service, provided the approximate time of ovulation is determined and they are not suffering from either a diseased or abnormal condition of the reproductive system.
    • 1928, The journal of heredity, volume 19, page 415:
      During March, 1926, two more mares were bred to him and on February 14, 1927 one of them foaled a perfectly formed bay stud foal. It is not known whether or not the other mare settled for she was never returned for trial.
    • 1977, Stud Managers' Handbook, volume 13, page 153:
      This older mare created many, many problems for us in terms of trying to get the mare to settle. She came to us in January, and her record shows fairly consistent heats, but she had numerous problems which will be outlined in Example l0.
    • 2010, Heather Smith Thomas, Storey's Guide to Raising Horses, 2nd edition, →ISBN:
      Those sperm may still be viable, enabling the stallion to settle mares for a while until he runs out of mature sperm and has no more coming on because of the gap in production while he was sick or injured.
    • 2012, Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac, →ISBN:
      However, even a stallion with low volume, poor-quality semen, if properly managed, can adequately settle mares.
    • 2017, Jacob (Jack) Moorman, Living Legend, →ISBN:
      There are several kinds of hormones available that may help your mare to settle properly in case she is difficult to get in foal.
Alternative formsEdit
  • sattle (in several British dialects)
The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. Use the templates {{syn|en|...}} or {{ant|en|...}} to add them to the appropriate sense(s).
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English settle, setle, setel, setil, seotel, from Old English setl (that upon which one sits, a seat, a settle, a place to sit), from Proto-Germanic *setlaz (a seat; arm-chair), representing Proto-Indo-European *sed-lo-, from *sed- (sit). Cognate with Dutch zetel, German Sessel, Latin sella.


settle (plural settles)

  1. (archaic) A seat of any kind.
    • (Can we date this quote by Hampole and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      upon the settle of his majesty
    • (Can we date this quote by Joshua Sylvester and provide title, author's full name, and other details?):
      If hunger drive the Pagans from their dens,
      One, 'gainst a settle breaketh both his shins;
    • (Can we date this quote by John Richard Green and provide title, author's full name, and other details?):
      [The] Queen or eorl's wife, with a train of maidens, bore ale-bowl or mead-bowl round the hall, from the high settle of king or ealdorman in the midst to the mead benches ranged around its walls, while the gleeman sang the hero-songs
  2. (now rare) A long bench with a high back and arms, often with chest or storage space underneath.
    • 1808 February 22, Walter Scott, “Canto Third. The Hostel, or Inn.”, in Marmion; a Tale of Flodden Field, Edinburgh: Printed by J[ames] Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Company, []; London: William Miller, and John Murray, OCLC 270129616, stanza III, page 103:
      Beneath its shade, the place of state, / On oaken settle Marmion sate, / And viewed around the blazing hearth.
    • (Can we date this quote by J. W. Palmer and provide title, author's full name, and other details?), After his Kind:
      By the fireside, the big arm-chair [...] fondly cronied with two venerable settles within the chimney corner.
    • 1883, Thomas Hardy, The Three Strangers:
      Of these, five women, wearing gowns of various bright hues, sat in chairs along the wall; girls shy and not shy filled the window-bench; four men, including Charley Jake the hedge-carpenter, Elijah New the parish-clerk, and John Pitcher, a neighboring dairyman, the shepherd's father-in-law, lolled in the settle.
    • 1880, Ellen Murray Beam, English translation of Captain Fracasse by Théophile Gautier (→ISBN):
      Let us return now to the little girl we left feigning to sleep soundly upon a settle in the kitchen.
  3. (obsolete) A place made lower than the rest; a wide step or platform lower than some other part. (Compare a depression.)
    • Bible, Ezekiel xliii. 14
      And from the bottom upon the ground, even to the lower settle, shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit.