In the OED dictionary, "Reset" has the following meanings:

reset See definition in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Line breaks: re¦set Pronunciation: /riːˈsɛt/ Definition of reset in English: verb (resets, resetting; past and past participle reset)

[WITH OBJECT] 1Set again or differently: I must reset the alarm

1.1 Electronics Cause (a binary device) to enter the state representing the numeral 0.

This is what's written in

But, would the word "reset" we commonly use in our daily life have a closer meaning to "setting again" or to "setting back to the original state"?

Wouldn't the word have the use as a "setting back to the previous state" probably due to the use of the computer, but originally has its meaning as re+set, or "setting again"?

Do you know anyone who uses the word "reset" with its use as "setting again"?

I would regret to find no one in use of the word, but if there is anyone who frequently uses the word with such meaning, could I please have some examples using it?

  • I'm having trouble understanding your question, but I may be one of those people who resets something by setting it again. My alarm is set to 7:35am and once it goes off in the morning, I reset it to 8:00am; when night comes around, I reset it again to 7:35am (repeat until dead). Is this what you're looking for?
    – VampDuc
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:15
  • I think OP is wondering about the distinction between resetting the alarm to 7.35 (which is what it was set to before) and re-setting it to 8.00 (again). If so, there is no difference, and hence no distinction to be made. Aug 13, 2015 at 21:22
  • @VampDuc Which part particularly are you having a problem?
    – kimsungbum
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:30
  • @kimsungbum I'm not quite sure (hence my confusion), but I think your answer would be: context. We all use the word reset in both meanings. I can change something's settings (re-set) or I can revert changes (reset). I have even seen them distinguished with the hyphen/no-hyphen spellings. I re-set my alarm after it first goes off at 7:35 (change its setting) to ring again later, but at night, I reset (revert) it back to 7:35.
    – VampDuc
    Aug 13, 2015 at 22:37
  • Etymon has: Word Origin and History for reset v. ... Related: Resetting. Meaning "cause a device to return to a former condition" is from 1847; intransitive sense from 1897. As a noun, from 1847. Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper >> I'm giving this quote because I can't find a regular dictionary that gives the broader 'former condition' rather than just the 'original condition' sense. One can reset to last week's state, for example. Aug 13, 2015 at 22:52

1 Answer 1


"Reset" is used in two senses:

  • To set (to a new value/position/whatever) some entity that had previously been set (presumably within the context of the overall discussion, making the "re" prefix meaningful).
  • To restore some entity to a prior value/position/whatever.

Thus you may "reset" an alarm clock from 7:45 to 8:00 (first sense) or you may press the "reset" button on top of it to cause it to stop sounding the alarm and set it back to the "default" state (second sense).

  • 1
    Thank you for a good opinion !! but.. Do you know anyone who uses the word "reset" with its use as "setting again"? :D
    – kimsungbum
    Aug 14, 2015 at 0:01
  • 1
    @kimsungbum - I'm not quite sure what you're asking -- I hear both uses fairly often. (Though note that some people may hear the first sense as if it were spelled "re-set".)
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 14, 2015 at 0:07
  • I'm so sorry for late .... Thank you for your compliment.!! :D
    – kimsungbum
    Aug 14, 2015 at 15:41

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