This context comes from the TV show "The Leftovers". It's a scene in which two men talk about a plan to kill wild dogs who are a danger to the town they live in.

A: So I found another pack.

B: Of what?

A: Dogs. Couple dozen, I'd guess. I saw them slinking around the elementary school tonight. I'm pretty sure they're sleeping in a drainpipe. We could set up there and pick them off.

Based on these definitions below It could mean that they are going to erect some structure there from which they are going to shoot at the dogs or they are going to arrange the situation of (shooting dogs) in some way. I'm not sure exactly what this could mean though.

set up

  1. place or erect something in position. "police set up a roadblock on Lower Thames Street"

  2. make the arrangements necessary for something. "he asked if I would like him to set up a meeting with the president"

(Both definition come from Oxford Languages Dictionary)

  • 1
    It could just be US regional dialect ('set' meaning 'sit'). Feb 3 at 11:33
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    I don't suppose the speaker gave his choice of verb much thought. Or more accurately, perhaps, the scriptwriter. It could just as well have been "We could go / be / wait [up] there and pick them off" without making any difference to the meaning. Feb 3 at 11:42
  • Why the dislike for this post? I don't understand. Feb 3 at 11:55
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    My downvote was because (as implied by my comment) I don't think understanding the exact meaning of "set [up]" there is significant in terms of understanding the overall meaning of what the guy is saying. And even if you made quite some effort, you might not be able to find any more instances of exactly the same verb usage with a similarly "vague" meaning. Thus it doesn't really represent a genuine obstacle to learning English, since you'll probably never need any better understanding that whatever you might have "guessed" from just "We could XXXX up there and..." Feb 3 at 12:58
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    @Lambie: I doubt there's any point in advising the OP here to take into consideration whether the speaker had a "rustic" accent when trying to decide exactly what was meant. Most learners wouldn't be able to recognize Anglophone "country folk" by their accent anyway. And I maintain that if you really want to learn a language you should approach it the way you learned your mother tongue. You don't see children constantly looking things up to understand the exact meaning of ordinary spoken usages like this in their own language, where the general sense is contextually obvious. Feb 3 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


Yes it could mean either of those, or it could mean "position and arrange ourselves and our guns (and other equipment)

When you say "erect something". It doesn't need to be a "building". It might just be a tripod or a gunsight.

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