There are 2 main definitions of settle in English:

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settle 1

Pronunciation: /ˈsɛt(ə)l/


1 [with object] Resolve or reach an agreement about (an argument or problem): the unions have settled their year-long dispute with Hollywood producers
More example sentences
  • Surely the company already had it on file and surely it was easy to settle the problem if the company wanted to.
  • Is it any wonder arguments are never settled and disputes always confused?
  • This could settle the irrigation problem of the area to a great extent.
resolve, sort out, reach an agreement about, find a solution to, find an answer to, solve, clear up, bring to an end, fix, work out, iron out, smooth over, straighten out, deal with, put right, set right, put to rights, rectify, remedy, reconcile
informal patch up
archaic compose
1.1End (a legal dispute) by mutual agreement: if the dispute was not settled it was possible there would be strike action [no object]: he sued for libel and then settled out of court
More example sentences
  • It was a genuine legal dispute that was settled without a judge ruling.
  • I will ask attorneys to help the students settle any legal disputes stemming from this incident.
  • To settle legal disputes via legal means is the best way.
1.2Reach a decision about; determine: exactly what goes into the legislation has not been settled [no object]: they had not yet settled on a date for the wedding
More example sentences
  • All in all, by the time Shirley had left, little had been settled on, and Charlie was even more tired than before.
  • Many delegates are complaining that most of the persons to be elected had been settled on by the major parties some time ago.
  • Naturally, a strongest front pairing should be settled on.
decide on, set, fix, come to a decision about, agree on, name, determine, establish, arrange, arrive at, appoint, designate, assign;
1.3 [no object] (settle for) Accept or agree to (something that one considers to be less than satisfactory): it was too cold for champagne so they settled for a cup of tea
More example sentences
  • They went to a more posh high school and I settled for the one down the road with considerably fewer amenities.
  • And, when the scores were level near the end, instead of settling for a draw they went for a win, and gained it.
  • Fey, instead, settles for making fun of her subjects and simply accepting the fact that they're mean girls.
2 [with object] Pay (a debt or account): his bill was settled by charge card [no object]: I settled up with your brother for my board and lodging
More example sentences
  • Interest on the loan rolls up, and then the debt is settled when the property is finally sold.
  • By the time the agreements expired late last year, none of the former bank owners had fully settled their debts.
  • We were renting in Hamburg and after settling our debts we had only about £5,000 left.
2.1 (settle something on) Give money or property to (someone) through a deed of settlement or a will: he offered to settle £150 a year on her
More example sentences
  • If I create a trust to dispose of all of my rights and interests, and I settle them on trustees, that is a trust despite the fact that it is not spelt out.
3 [no object] Adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home: one day I will settle down and raise a family
More example sentences
  • New York was going to be my new home; I'd get a steady job and settle down, start a family.
  • Residential complexes rose as officers posted in Shimla decided to settle down there.
  • He wished he had chosen a career where he could settle down permanently with a wife.
3.1 [with adverbial of place] Make one’s permanent home somewhere: in 1863 the family settled in London
More example sentences
  • He grew up in Juarez and spent several years abroad before returning to Mexico to settle permanently with his family.
  • Arcus had offices in Bangalore, Singapore and in Fremont, California, where Bhattacharya and his family settled around two decades ago.
  • Jim Ronan, Bekan, who died recently, was a popular and esteemed gentleman in the parish of Bekan since the family settled there in 1967.
make one's home, set up home, take up residence, put down roots, establish oneself;
go to live, move to, emigrate to;
North American  set up housekeeping in
formal become domiciled in
3.2 [with object] Establish a colony in: European immigrants settled much of Australia
More example sentences
  • When the colonies were first settled, he wrote, the towns sometimes provided relief for their care.
  • One of our favorite neighborhoods is Lincoln Square on the northwest side, originally settled by German immigrants.
  • Other historic areas include Vincennes, on the site of a French fort, and New Harmony to the south, settled by German immigrants.
colonize, establish a colony in, occupy;
people, inhabit, populate
3.3Begin to feel comfortable or established in a new situation: he had settled into his new job
More example sentences
  • As people settled into established societies many centuries ago, they began looking for ways to protect their crops.
  • Later the Academy went back to the jury system and now seems settled into a fairly established routine without too many gaffes.
  • Once the enemy has settled in and established their borders, they will begin to look for us.
3.4 (settle down to) Turn one’s attention to; apply oneself to: Catherine settled down to her studies
More example sentences
  • Making camp and starting a nice fire, we settle down to more of my nightly lessons.
  • Claudette couldn't concentrate on the epistle or the gospel, couldn't settle down to the rosary.
  • And this is what we can settle down to in weeks ahead.
apply oneself to, turn one's attention to, address oneself to, get down to, set about, set to work on, begin to tackle, attack;
concentrate on, focus on, devote oneself to
3.5Become or make calmer or quieter: [no object]: after a few months the controversy settled down [with object]: try to settle your puppy down before going to bed
More example sentences
  • For the first time I settled down, got calm and gained just a teensy bit of perspective.
  • However, at the actual vet's surgery he was very quiet and settled down nicely.
  • The crowd settled down, the coach calmed the players and gave them a plan.
3.6 [with object] dated Silence (a troublesome person) by some means: he told me to hold my tongue or he would find a way to settle me
4 [no object, with adverbial of place] Sit or come to rest in a comfortable position: he settled into an armchair
More example sentences
  • Amor joined her friends on the field while the rest of us settled under my usual tree at the home games.
  • She settles into one position and barely shifts until she wakes the next morning.
  • She sighed and sat back on her haunches before settling into a kneeling position.
sit down, seat oneself, install oneself, plant oneself, ensconce oneself, plump oneself, flump
land, come to rest, come down, alight, light, descend, perch
4.1 [with object and adverbial of place] Make (someone) comfortable in a particular place or position: she allowed him to settle her in the taxi
More example sentences
  • With that, she took Brady to her bedroom and settled him on top of her comforter.
  • Michael carried me to a comfortable stuffed chair and settled me there.
  • They were both laughing and giggling as William carried her into the main hall and settled her comfortably in a couch.
make comfortable, tuck in, bed down
4.2 [with object] Move or adjust (something) so that it rests securely: she settled her bag on her shoulder
More example sentences
  • Rowena settled the receiver as securely as she could against her shoulder.
  • He quickly looked down to settle the tray securely across her lap.
  • A silence fell between them then, as he leaned over and picked up his guitar, settling it flat in his lap to adjust the strap.
4.3(Especially of snow) fall on to a surface and remain there: traffic came to a standstill after the snow began to settle dust from the mill had settled on the roof
More example sentences
  • Latex dust also settles on horizontal surfaces throughout the OR and can become airborne again with subsequent agitation.
  • It was a bitterly cold day, but it was bright and still; no wind blew, no drops fell and no snow settled.
  • That means a lot less fine dust in the air that will settle on room surfaces.
4.4 [no object] (Of suspended particles) sink slowly in a liquid to form sediment.
Example sentences
  • Fill a jug and leave it to stand until the sediment has settled, then use the clear water at the top.
  • The pepper slowly settled to the bottom of the glass leaving a few grains on the surface which Bond dabbed up with the tip of a finger.
  • Fine sediment remains in suspension much longer and travels far out to sea, where it settles slowly to the bottom.
sink, subside, fall, gravitate;
4.5(Of a liquid) become clear or still as suspended particles sink: he watched his pint settling
More example sentences
  • As the water settled and all became placid again only the wrecked and sinking craft remained, alone in the sea.
4.6 [no object] (Of an object or objects) gradually sink down under its or their own weight: they listened to the soft ticking and creaking as the house settled
More example sentences
  • That clock had been audible in the hall, especially at night when the house had settled.
  • Allow the posts to stand several days and settle firmly in position before adding the fence.
4.7 [no object] (Of a ship) begin to sink: the craft was settling nose-down in the water
More example sentences
  • All 130 passengers got off safely, and a salvage job removed some of the machinery to safety before the ship began to settle.
  • Yet more bombs further damaged the submarine, which began to settle by the stern.
  • Scuttling teams hope she will settle upright, as have sister ships Perth in Western Australia and Hobart off South Australia, on the sandy seabed.



settle one's affairs (or estate)

Make any necessary arrangements, such as writing a will, before one’s death.
Example sentences
  • Though she was loathe to return to the city, she needed to settle her affairs there.
  • During the meal, Ralph began to talk about how he wanted to settle his estate, but Alex wants to avoid the subject.
  • You have one hour to settle your affairs, and make any preparations.

settle someone's hash

see hash1.



Example sentences
  • It is not settleable, I suppose, this cost issue?
  • Primary treatment to remove settleable solids, oil, and grease should be considered for communities with significant industrial or commercial waste flows.
  • Indeed, it might be concluded, just from the very fact that a paradox ensues, as above, that whether some English phrase defines a real number is not always entirely settleable.


Old English setlan 'to seat, place', from settle2.

Words that rhyme with settle

fettle, kettle, metal, mettle, nettle, petal, Popocatépetl
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There are 2 main definitions of settle in English:

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settle 2

Pronunciation: /ˈsɛt(ə)l/


A wooden bench with a high back and arms, typically incorporating a box under the seat.
Example sentences
  • They have been flying out of her shop, which is why she has extended the range of Ercol reissues to include a settle, a dining table and a nest of tables.
  • However, this suggests that your twin-seater was not a plain wooden settle, but almost certainly a settee, which at one time would have formed part of a suite.
  • She sat down aimlessly on a settle by the fireplace.


Old English setl 'a place to sit', of Germanic origin; related to German Sessel and Latin sella 'seat', also to sit.

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