Etymology
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settle (v.)

Middle Englishsetlen, "become set or fixed, stable or permanent; seat, place in a seat; sink down, come down," from Old English setlan "place in a fixed or permanent position; cause to sit, place in a seat," from setl "a seat" (see settle (n.)). Compare German siedeln "to settle; to colonize."

From c. 1300 in reference to birds, etc., "to alight." From early 14c. of ground, etc., "to sink down, descend; cave in." By early 15c. (Chauliac) in reference to a liquid, "change from a disturbed or muddy condition to one of cleanness." By 1570s, of persons, "change from a disturbed or troubled state to one of security." 

It is attested by 1520s as "become calm" (but c. 1600 it also could mean, colloquially, "knock down dead or stunned"). The meaning "decide, set or fix as by purpose or intention" is by 1620s. The meaning "secure title to (property, etc.) by means of a deed, etc." is from 1660s. It is attested by 1733 as "put beyond dispute or establish by authority or argument;" hence "resolve, determine, come to a decision (1782).

The sense of "establish a permanent residence" is recorded by 1620s; that of "plant with inhabitants, colonize" is by 1702.

The old meaning "reconcile" (a quarrel, differences, etc.) perhaps is influenced by or merged with Middle English sahtlen "to reconcile," which is from Old English saht "reconciliation," from Old Norse satt "reconciliation."

To settle down (intrans.) as what married couples do in establishing a domestic state is by 1835 (settle alone in this sense is by 1718). The transitive sense is by 1520s. To settle for "content oneself with" is from 1943; Middle English also used settle (v.) in an intransitive sense of "come down in the world, become lower in estate" (mid-14c.).

settle (n.)

"long seat or bench with a high back and arms," 1550s, now archaic or obsolete (but compare settee), from Middle English setle "a seat," from Old English setl "a seat, stall; position, abode; setting of a heavenly body," related to sittan "to sit," from Proto-Germanic *setla- (source also of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch setel, Dutch zetel, German Sessel, Gothic sitls), from PIE *sedla- (source also of Latin sella "seat, chair," Old Church Slavonic sedlo "saddle," Old English sadol "saddle"), from root *sed- (1) "to sit."

updated on July 01, 2022

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Definitions of settle from WordNet
1
settle (v.)
settle into a position, usually on a surface or ground;
dust settled on the roofs
Synonyms: settle down
settle (v.)
bring to an end; settle conclusively;
Synonyms: decide / resolve / adjudicate
settle (v.)
settle conclusively; come to terms;
We finally settled the argument
Synonyms: square off / square up / determine
settle (v.)
take up residence and become established;
The immigrants settled in the Midwest
Synonyms: locate
settle (v.)
come to terms;
Synonyms: reconcile / patch up / make up / conciliate
settle (v.)
go under;
Synonyms: sink / go down / go under
settle (v.)
become settled or established and stable in one's residence or life style;
He finally settled down
Synonyms: root / take root / steady down / settle down
settle (v.)
become resolved, fixed, established, or quiet;
Her mood settled into lethargy
The roar settled to a thunder
A cough settled in her chest
The wind settled in the West
settle (v.)
establish or develop as a residence;
He settled the farm 200 years ago
This land was settled by Germans
settle (v.)
come to rest;
settle (v.)
arrange or fix in the desired order;
She settled the teacart
settle (v.)
accept despite lack of complete satisfaction;
We settled for a lower price
settle (v.)
end a legal dispute by arriving at a settlement;
The two parties finally settled
settle (v.)
dispose of; make a financial settlement;
settle (v.)
become clear by the sinking of particles;
the liquid gradually settled
settle (v.)
cause to become clear by forming a sediment (of liquids);
settle (v.)
sink down or precipitate;
Synonyms: subside
settle (v.)
fix firmly;
Synonyms: ensconce
settle (v.)
get one's revenge for a wrong or an injury;
I finally settled with my old enemy
Synonyms: get back
settle (v.)
make final; put the last touches on; put into final form;
Synonyms: finalize / finalise / nail down
settle (v.)
form a community;
The Swedes settled in Minnesota
settle (v.)
come as if by falling;
Synonyms: fall / descend
2
settle (n.)
a long wooden bench with a back;
Synonyms: settee
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.