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"set someone up"

Posted by Pamela on April 14, 2006

In Reply to: "Set someone up" posted by Brian from Shawnee on April 13, 2006

: : what's the origin and meaning of the phrase "set someone up".it is used in the negative sense....quite unlike how u say "set up a business" or "set up a factory".anyone please?

: It's the purpose of setting someone up that makes it negative. If you set someone up in order to knock them down, that's negative ("Set up like a bowling pin" as the Grateful Dead song Truckin' says). If you set up a business and try to keep it going, that's positive.

In Australia, to "set someone up" is almost always negative. It usually means that you have made an innocent person look guilty or responsible. In ganster movies, if a crime was involved and I set you up (or "framed" you), you would "take the wrap" and go to jail instead of me. More usually, "setting someone up" involves "letting them walk right into it" by withholding information or giving them the wrong information so that they make a fool of themself. I say that it's amost always negative because the phrase can also be postive if something good is added to the end (i.e "I set her up on a date with a nice man" or "I set him up for life by giving him a job"). Pamela