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All set

Posted by RRC on June 30, 2007

In Reply to: 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?

Nothing so involved, just gradual expansion of the normal meaning. The verb meaning of "to fix in place" evolved into an adjective meaning "fixed" as in "a set piece" which evolved to the meaning of "ready" or "prepared". Are we all set (ready/prepared) now?