set off

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Setoff

1. The ability of a debtor to reduce the amount of one's debt by an amount the creditor owes to the debtor. Thus, if a debtor owes a creditor $20,000 but the creditor owes the debtor $5,000 in an unrelated matter, setoff allows the debtor effectively to owe only $15,000.

2. In banking, the right of a bank to seize a debtor's account balance held at that bank if a debt is in or near default. Some jurisdictions limit the right of setoff; for example, the United States does not allow it to apply for commercial loans or credit card debt.

set off

To deduct debts from each other.Oftentimes defaulting debtors will claim that they have not paid their obligations because of a right of setoff against injuries suffered as a result of wrongdoing by the creditor.Lenders with bank deposits in the name of their borrower may set off the bank account against the mortgage debt if there is a default.

References in classic literature ?
Beneath the second dial he found the steel pin severed as in the other, but the controlling mechanism had first been set for a point upon the western hemisphere.
As soon as we were all set in our places, the boat was thrust off from the pier and began to move over the waters: and what with my pleasure in this new movement and my surprise at our low position, and the appearance of the shores, and the growing bigness of the brig as we drew near to it, I could hardly understand what the captain said, and must have answered him at random.
They wept bitterly in their dismay, but there was nothing to be got by crying, so I divided them into two companies and set a captain over each; I gave one company to Eurylochus, while I took command of the other myself.
The accident was set down to the account of robbers, who had stopped the chaise in the wood.
Among these probably may be reckoned those initial essays which we have prefixed to the historical matter contained in every book; and which we have determined to be essentially necessary to this kind of writing, of which we have set ourselves at the head.
We may therefore define the "perspective" to which the sensation in question belongs as the set of particulars that are simultaneous with this sensation.
Time passed on; and as the eldest son did not come back, and no tidings were heard of him, the second son set out, and the same thing happened to him.
In 1855, Brun-Rollet, a native of Savoy, appointed consul for Sardinia in Eastern Soudan, to take the place of Vaudey, who had just died, set out from Karthoum, and, under the name of Yacoub the merchant, trading in gums and ivory, got as far as Belenia, beyond the fourth degree, but had to return in ill-health to Karthoum, where he died in 1857.
She at once set to work afresh and they now trusted her completely.
In this stupid world most people never consider that a thing is good to be done unless it is done by their own set. I had no connection with Bulstrode before I came here.
But soon, in spite of his love for his wife, in spite of his interest in his beautiful home, in spite of his many friends, Raleigh's restless spirit again drove him to the sea, and he set out on a voyage of discovery and adventure.
You know it has always been a matter of pride with Captain Jim to start the light the moment the sun sets, and put it out the moment it rises."