what does “set off” mean in this sentence?

Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 05:44 am
I was just reading this book called "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. There is a sentence that goes like this: I went outside to the long porch that overlooked the lake, made my way along a line of grand rocking chairs, and found one that was set off by itself.

What does the phrase "set off"mean in this context and sentence? THX!
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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 08:28 am
The word 'set' has multiple meanings; it can be a noun or a verb and in this sentence it is the past participle of the verb. To set something means to place it. Off' can often be replaced with 'away' or in this cased 'apart'. There was a line of rocking chairs, and one was placed apart from the others.

Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 08:45 am
Thx. BTW, this book is fantastic. Read it if you have the chance.
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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 08:49 am
"set off by itself" is an idiom that means one item, apart from all others.

You may see the words "set off" used in other places and there would be a different meaning.
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