from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To end or resolve (a dispute, for example) by making a decision or coming to an agreement. synonym: decide.
  • intransitive verb To resolve (a lawsuit or dispute) by mutual agreement of the parties rather than by court decision.
  • intransitive verb To make the determinations and distributions of (a trust).
  • intransitive verb To make compensation for (a claim).
  • intransitive verb To pay (a debt).
  • intransitive verb To put into order; arrange as desired.
  • intransitive verb To place or arrange in a desired position.
  • intransitive verb To agree to or fix in advance.
  • intransitive verb To establish as a resident or residents.
  • intransitive verb To migrate to and establish residence in; colonize.
  • intransitive verb To establish in a residence, business, or profession.
  • intransitive verb To restore calmness or comfort to.
  • intransitive verb To cause to sink, become compact, or come to rest.
  • intransitive verb To cause (a liquid) to become clear by forming a sediment.
  • intransitive verb To discontinue moving and come to rest in one place.
  • intransitive verb To move downward; sink or descend, especially gradually.
  • intransitive verb To become clear by the sinking of suspended particles. Used of liquids.
  • intransitive verb To be separated from a solution or mixture as a sediment.
  • intransitive verb To become compact by sinking, as sediment when stirred up.
  • intransitive verb To establish one's residence.
  • intransitive verb To become established or localized.
  • intransitive verb To reach a decision; decide.
  • intransitive verb To come to an agreement, especially to resolve a lawsuit out of court.
  • intransitive verb To provide compensation for a claim.
  • intransitive verb To pay a debt.
  • noun A long wooden bench with a high back, often including storage space beneath the seat.
  • idiom (settle (one's) stomach) To relieve one's indigestion or nausea.
  • idiom (settle (someone's) hash) To silence or subdue.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A seat; a bench; a ledge.
  • noun Specifically, a seat longer than a chair; a bench with a high back and arms, made to accommodate two or more persons.
  • noun A seat fixed or placed at the foot of a bedstead.
  • noun A part of a platform lower than another part.
  • noun One of the successive platforms or stages leading up from the floor to the great altar of the Jewish Temple.
  • To reconcile.
  • To determine: decide, as something in doubt or debate; bring to a conclusion; con clude: confirm; free from uncertainty or wavering: as, to settle a dispute; to settle a vexatious question; to settle one's mind.
  • To fix: appoint; set, as a date or day.
  • To set in order; regulate; dispose of.
  • To reduce to order or good behavior; give a quietus to: as, he was inclined to be insolent, but I soon settled him.
  • To liquidate: balance; pay: as, to settle an account, claim, or score.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English setlen, to seat, from Old English setlan, from setl, seat; see sed- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English setl, from Germanic *setla-, representing Proto-Indo-European *sed-lo-, from *sed- (“sit”). Cognate with German Sessel, Dutch zetel; and with Greek ἑλλά, Latin sedo, Russian седло. The verb (Old English setlan) developed from the noun.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word settle.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • settle: v., t. To impregnate, as used in animal husbandry.

    "A mature, fit, healthy ram can settle 75 or more ewes during a breeding season. An unthrifty, thin, sick ram is often sterile and will not settle any ewes."

    "Reproductive Management of the Ewe Flock and the Ram," Purdue University agricultural extension.

    From the preceding example it is not entirely clear whether the conjugal act must bear fruit for the verb "to settle" to be correctly employed. Such a limitation is conceivable but is not an impregnable assumption.

    Is the term also employed in the breeding of livestock other than sheep?

    March 8, 2015

  • See also tup.

    March 8, 2015

  • I suppose an “unthrifty” ram has spent his days woolgathering.

    March 8, 2015