Definition of back to (or at) square one in English:

back to (or at) square one

phrase

informal
  • Back to where one started, with no progress having been made.

    • ‘In 1999 we lost all of our good players and went back to square one.’
    • ‘Having spent all summer to earn money to put yourself through college, Christmas comes and goes and you find yourself back to square one.’
    • ‘One member of the executive said yesterday that the pay deal could now be ripped up, sending the dispute back to square one.’
    • ‘Engineers managed to get trains running on time again by the early hours today, but further problems near Bethnal Green put them back to square one.’
    • ‘But even so, it will take the whole year to pay off his overdraft - and at the end of it he will be back to square one.’
    • ‘But after only four months, the owner announced he was closing it down and they were back to square one.’
    • ‘‘It is the same knee problem as before and it looks as if it is back to square one for him,’ said Lehmann.’
    • ‘The minute I finished my treatment I was back to square one, and they say they don't have anything else that I can do.’
    • ‘I think that the prosecution and the police have gone back to square one.’
    • ‘He made his comeback a year later but after 12 games he was back to square one.’