All set

Posted by Bob on June 29, 2007

Any thoughts or knowledge as to the origin of the phrase "all set", used as a question or a response to a question, for eg., when one is asking if someone is ready (to leave, or, pay a dinner bill,) or something is ready (the hotel manager has tallied up your bill)?

I have no idea, but can't help but wonder if it doesn't have a military origin (as the cannons are 'all set in place' and ready to fire,) or, more arcane, that a bowling lane set of pins were, before automation, "all set" (ie, standing upright,) and the bowler could bowl. or: baking? assembly line?