• IPA: /ˈsɛtbæk/

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.

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