Definition of set off phrasal verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  

set off

 phrasal verb
phrasal verb
 
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Phrasal Verbs
 to begin a journey We set off for London just after ten.
  1. 1  to make a bomb, etc. explode A gang of boys were setting off fireworks in the street.
  2. 2   to make an alarm start ringing Opening this door will set off the alarm.
  3. 3 to start a process or series of events Panic on the stock market set off a wave of selling.
  4. 4to make something more noticeable or attractive by being placed near it That blouse sets off the blue of her eyes.

set somebody off (doing something)

 
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to make somebody start doing something such as laughing, crying or talking
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: set off