set the pace: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘set the pace’ mean?

The idiom "set the pace" means to establish the speed or rhythm that others follow or try to match. It is often used to describe someone who is leading or setting a high standard in a particular activity or situation.

Idiom Explorer


The idiom "keep pace" is closely related to the phrase "set the pace." While "set the pace" refers to establishing the speed or progress of a particular activity or situation, "keep pace" means to maintain the same speed or level as someone or something else. When you keep pace with someone, you are following their lead and matching their speed or level of progress.

In a business context, keeping pace with competitors is crucial for staying relevant and successful. Companies must constantly monitor the market and adapt their strategies to keep up with industry trends and customer demands. By keeping pace with their competitors, businesses can ensure that they are not left behind and are able to maintain their position or even surpass their rivals.

Similarly, in personal life, keeping pace with friends or colleagues can be important for maintaining relationships and achieving common goals. Whether in terms of personal development, career progression, or social activities, keeping pace with those around you allows for a sense of belonging and shared experiences.

Another related idiom is "set the bar," which means to establish a standard or expectation that others must meet or surpass. When someone sets the bar, they are raising the level of excellence or achievement to be reached by others. This idiom is often used in competitive or performance-based contexts where individuals or organizations strive to meet or exceed the highest standard set.

She led with a dominant pace and rhythm.

In many ways, "set the bar" and "set the pace" are interconnected. The person or entity that sets the pace often sets the bar as well, as they establish the standard or benchmark that others must strive to reach or surpass. By setting a high standard, they inspire and motivate others to push themselves and achieve greater success.

Furthermore, "set the pace" can also be related to the concept of a "change of pace." When we talk about a change of pace, we refer to a shift or variation in the speed, intensity, or style of an activity or situation. This change can be intentional or unexpected and often serves to bring freshness, excitement, or renewed energy.

In the business world, a change of pace can be seen as a strategy to break the monotony or routine and stimulate creativity and innovation. By introducing a change of pace, companies can deliver new products or services, adopt different marketing approaches, or even venture into entirely new markets. This flexibility and ability to adapt help businesses stay competitive and respond effectively to evolving customer preferences.

Similarly, in personal life, a change of pace can be invigorating and rejuvenating. Taking a break from work or daily responsibilities, engaging in a new hobby or activity, or traveling to a different location are all ways to introduce a change of pace. These experiences can help individuals recharge, gain new perspectives, and find inspiration.

Overall, the idioms "keep pace," "set the bar," and "change of pace" are all closely connected to the concept of "set the pace." Whether it's about maintaining the same speed as others, striving to reach high standards, or introducing a variation or freshness in activities, these idioms reflect the dynamics and complexities of our personal and professional lives. By understanding and embracing these idioms, we can navigate the challenges and opportunities that come our way and strive for growth, success, and fulfillment.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "set the pace" can be used in a sentence:

  1. She set the pace in the race and took an early lead.
  2. The company's innovative products always set the pace in the market.
  3. As the captain of the team, it was his responsibility to set the pace of the game.

More "Verbs" idioms