Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Dead Set.

 Dead-Sea Fruit.Dead Shares. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Dead Set.
He made a dead set at her. A pointed or decided determination to bring matters to a crisis. The allusion is to a setter dog that has discovered game, and makes a dead set at it.   1
   To be at a dead set is to be set fast, so as not to be able to move. The allusion is to machinery.   2
   To make a dead set upon someone is to attack him resolutely, to set upon him; the allusion being to dogs, bulls, etc., set on each other to fight.   3

 Dead-Sea Fruit.Dead Shares. 


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