Definition of false start in English:

false start


  • 1An invalid start to a race, usually due to a competitor beginning before the official signal has been given.

    • ‘A fiasco involving the starting tape led to a false start being called but most of the field were oblivious and carried on.’
    • ‘Thorpe has been robbed of a chance to defend his 400m freestyle title in Athens after being disqualified for a false start.’
    • ‘His nerves could easily have been torn to shreds following a series of false starts which led to the Greek Georgios Theodoridis being disqualified.’
    • ‘After three false starts, Ferrari was in bad shape; and Schumacher's abilities were being gleefully questioned.’
    • ‘It was not a ‘tragedy’ when he was disqualified for a false start in an Olympic trials race earlier this year, he said in mild rebuke of Prime Minister John Howard.’
    1. 1.1 An unsuccessful attempt to begin something.
      ‘she had finally found a job she liked, after various false starts’
      • ‘Following several false starts in attempting to bring it back, the drama will finally be premiered in a webcast on BBCi in the spring.’
      • ‘I believe in failure, false starts, lots of mistakes, and falling down.’
      • ‘Indeed, false starts and incomplete fictions proliferate, until the ‘real’ story comes to the surface, barely 30 pages before the novel's conclusion.’
      • ‘There have been too many false starts, but there are promising signs.’
      • ‘After several years and many false starts, work is about to begin on the new airport.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the history of the region is replete with false peaces, false starts and unilateral attempts to impose a settlement.’
      • ‘Just as it was wrong-headed to write off England so soon after yet another false start in a World Cup, so it would be rash now to declare them the new favourites on the evidence of one admittedly outstanding performance.’
      • ‘After a couple of false starts, Neil and Brenda begin dating, and their relationship grows serious.’
      • ‘The move to the Kingston Communications Stadium was always meant to herald a new era for the Tigers and after a couple of false starts that has proved to be the case.’
      • ‘I've had a complicated history with jazz, with many false starts, disappointing attempts to divine the pantheon and forays into stuff I absolutely hated.’
      • ‘In a way, I am glad the monsoon has finally begun after all the false starts caused by atmospheric depressions in the Arabian Sea end of May.’
      • ‘After a false start in his master's style he began a series of large pictures with themes drawn from French history painted in an eclectic manner.’


false start