1. something, as land or profits, set aside for a particular purpose.
  2. a tract of federal lands set aside as a wildlife refuge, oil exploration site, etc.
  3. a tract of farmland on which commercial crops or a specific crop will not be grown, as part of a federal plan to decrease production in order to maintain or increase prices.
  4. a specified amount or percentage of an industry’s production set aside, especially for government use: Ten percent of gasoline production is a set-aside for emergency use by the state.
  5. a government contract awarded, as to a minority-owned business, without competitive bidding.


  1. pertaining to or constituting a set-aside: set-aside provisions of the new law.

n.1943, from verbal phrase (early 15c.); see set (v.) + aside (adv.).

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