Main definitions of start in US English:

: start1START2



  • 1no object Come into being; begin or be reckoned from a particular point in time or space.

    ‘the season starts in September’
    ‘we ate before the show started’
    ‘below Roaring Springs the real desert starts’
    • ‘The New Wimbledon Theatre's own summer season starts at the end of August, with a two-week run of The King and I.’
    • ‘Mr Hainsworth said a £5.2 million refurbishment would start at the store in October.’
    • ‘‘The season starts now,’ he says, before reeling off the names of almost his entire squad.’
    • ‘The 20 mph zone will start at the point in North Street, where the road meets Bryans Close Road.’
    • ‘The film starts at 7.45 pm and there will be a smoking ban during the performance.’
    • ‘The gates will open at 4.45 pm, one hour before the concert starts.’
    • ‘With plenty of stretching and running the players will be fit and raring to go when the season starts at Old Trafford in August.’
    • ‘Because fires can start anywhere smoke alarms are ideal for early detection.’
    • ‘Sliding Sands Trail starts at the Haleakala Visitor Center parking lot and drops 2,500 feet in 4 miles.’
    • ‘Ideally, you should decide your lighting scheme before any building work has started.’
    • ‘The rain stops as suddenly as it started but the streets still swirl with water.’
    • ‘Excavation at the Seymour site is expected to start by the end of this month.’
    • ‘As suddenly as it had started, the music stopped and there was a babble of conversation.’
    • ‘Training camp for officials begins Friday, and the regular season starts Nov. 2.’
    • ‘The blaze started at 8pm, when it appears Eddie accidentally put a magazine on top of a lit candle.’
    • ‘My brother kept the vehicle going, and the storm eased as suddenly as it had started.’
    • ‘In February demolition work started, and the building was gutted, leaving just the shell.’
    • ‘Each ride will start at Pendle Leisure Centre in Colne at 11 am and will include a cafe-stop.’
    • ‘Psoriatic arthritis can start suddenly or slowly, and may affect only one joint or many.’
    • ‘There was some time left before the lesson started and an idea suddenly occurred to me.’
    begin, get under way, go ahead, get going
    come into being, begin, be born, come into existence, appear, arrive, come forth, emerge, erupt, burst out, arise, originate, break, unfold, develop, crop up, first see the light of day
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    1. 1.1with infinitive or present participle Embark on a continuing action or a new venture.
      ‘I started to chat to him’
      ‘we plan to start building in the fall’
      • ‘Jason jumped up and started to go upstairs to his room with the box of shoes in his hand.’
      • ‘The band, having recognised the song, started to play, building up to the crescendo.’
      • ‘The baby starts kicking and Claire moves her hand on to her stomach.’
      • ‘As we started to travel to the beach I noticed a lake of over 4 acres on our left-hand side.’
      • ‘The kids who live in the house next door to us have started to learn the recorder.’
      • ‘I should continue what I started and take more classes so I can get a certificate out of it.’
      • ‘Ronnie made his way to the bottom of the stairs and started to crawl up them.’
      • ‘As soon as the envelope arrived, Logan had started planning how he'd spend the money.’
      • ‘He started to move to the front door, but was stopped short as a coughing fit hit him.’
      • ‘Stas and Anton came running out of the building and we started to run towards what I think was Juhani's place.’
      • ‘To her surprise, the nobleman started to laugh and he continued to laugh for some time.’
      • ‘I've also started job hunting, and there's an incredible choice of jobs in this city.’
      • ‘As we started to leave the building, we ran into Vince and had a brief meeting with him.’
      • ‘I am happy to go back to Canada and start furnishing and living in our new house.’
      • ‘As firefighters started to drag the door out of the way, there was a sudden ignition of petrol vapour causing a fireball.’
      • ‘As we approached the coast we started to fly over buildings and roads, growing denser the closer we got to the airport.’
      • ‘Riley starts to push me forward, but I turn around and push his hands off of me.’
      • ‘He started attending drama classes at 19 while working in a factory job he hated.’
      • ‘Dylan turned around, took a deep breath, and surprised Riley by starting to cry.’
      • ‘After the game, he told me he wanted to start weight training to be the best that he could be.’
      make a start, begin, make a beginning, take the first step, lay the first stone, make the first move, get going, go ahead, set things moving, take something forward, buckle down, buckle to, turn to, put one's shoulder to the wheel, put one's hand to the plough, get the ball rolling, set the ball rolling, start the ball rolling
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    2. 1.2 Use a particular point, action, or circumstance as an opening for a course of action.
      ‘the teacher can start by capitalizing on children's curiosity’
      ‘I shall start with the case you mention first’
      • ‘In the 1970s Segal began selling space to employees, starting with his nephew Ron Herman.’
      • ‘Firstly, we ranked treatments by mean cost, starting from the least costly.’
      • ‘So I decided to start by flushing out the things I am inspired to write about.’
      • ‘Let me first of all introduce to you the panelists for this evening and I'll start with Mike Palmer.’
      • ‘We looked at all the items that had to be contained in the space, and started simply by making a list.’
      • ‘Let us start with Skipton Woods, this I know belongs to The Woodland Trust.’
      • ‘So if you want to have a crack at rockabilly, you can start with a few free lyrics and chords from the band's albums.’
      • ‘Anyone trying to get their head around pensions needs to start by understanding how the basic state pension works.’
      • ‘Can I start by saying good afternoon to both of you, Ms Black and Ms Adams.’
      • ‘Can you start by introducing yourself and the core members of the development team?’
      • ‘You start with the conclusion and work back from there to make the news and opinion fit.’
      • ‘I would like to start by making a comment on the amendment that Mr Adams has put forward.’
      • ‘You can start by looking at the list of resources at the back of the book.’
      • ‘It is often best to start by introducing the puppy to the smell of the other animal.’
      • ‘You could start by going to her book blog, which is a valuable resource in itself, or you can go to the book's own web site and work on from there.’
      • ‘If Swindon council really is intent on saving money, it could do worse than start by looking at its advertising policy.’
      • ‘You could start by going back to their fine debut, last year's Gallowsbird's Bark.’
      • ‘You start by nibbling on first rate home-baked rolls - granary, herb or dusted with sea salt.’
      • ‘Let me start by saying I have absolutely no idea why I called him Kevin.’
      • ‘At a deep philosophical level, we could start by questioning the very basis of our consumer society.’
    3. 1.3 Begin to move or travel.
      ‘we started out into the snow’
      ‘he started for the door’
      • ‘As he starts up the stairs, Harrison asks him where he is going.’
      • ‘Satisfied, Arlie started back up the stairs, but curiosity got the better of her.’
      • ‘She starts for the stairs and this time, she hears their footsteps behind her.’
      • ‘Gently closing the door behind her she started down the stairs rubbing her eyes free from sleep as she did so.’
      • ‘Rick started toward the door of the medical bay and entered the white room.’
      • ‘Daren moved and then got up and started toward the door not saying anything to Kristen.’
      • ‘The loud silver Chevy arrived and the two girls jumped out and started for the truck he was in.’
      • ‘She had started toward the stairs when she saw her father asleep in his favorite chair.’
      • ‘He followed her out the door and grabbed her arm before she started down the stairs.’
      • ‘Suddenly curious, Rayne starts forward, eager to discover what the shop contained.’
      • ‘Moira nodded in agreement and we both started down the stairs to talk to the guys.’
      • ‘She took one last look at her bedroom, before starting down the stairs.’
      • ‘He started up the stairs, leaving Gabrielle, obviously expecting her to follow.’
      • ‘However, just as the twins were starting down the stairs, a cry roared down the hall.’
      • ‘Closing the door he started down the stairs once more, planning to go out to the tree house.’
      • ‘Renfrew started forward, suddenly aware that he had not just been talking to himself.’
      • ‘He started up the stairs, with me in tow, bags and all.’
      • ‘The tall man reached the stairs and started down them, both Nisren and Elleen in tow.’
      • ‘I started towards the double doors, thinking that I should explain in person.’
      • ‘I opened it and saw all the food and scooped it into my arms and started toward the stairs.’
      set off, set out, start out, set forth, begin one's journey, get on the road, depart, leave, get under way, make a start, sally forth, embark, sail
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    4. 1.4with object Begin to attend (an educational establishment) or engage in (an occupation, especially a profession)
      ‘she will start school today’
      ‘he started work at a travel agency’
      • ‘Jin called and told me he's starting third grade in a week or two and that he wished I was there to make him feel better.’
      • ‘For someone who started her serious acting career as a mother, Suhasini has no regrets.’
      • ‘The girls all want to start part-time work to begin saving for overseas travel.’
      • ‘Most of the members started their Guiding careers in the Brownies, and Marjorie is no exception.’
      • ‘Sally Tomkins, 43, is a full-time mother from Bolton who wanted to buy a computer for her son before he starts university in October.’
      • ‘The card is aimed at fresh university graduates or those starting their first jobs.’
      • ‘Lisa has just started her third level studies in Galway and is wished every success.’
      • ‘And now the man who started cutting hair as a boy is beginning to out-Sassoon Vidal.’
      • ‘They are set to start work today and will follow recommendations from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.’
      • ‘She started night classes in 1997 and quickly developed a taste for medieval and early modern history.’
      • ‘The scheme is aimed at alleviating some of the initial costs people face when they start work after a period of unemployment.’
      • ‘However, I really should catch up with the girls before they start their promising careers.’
      • ‘Trouble continued on the land in Ireland when Gladstone started his second ministry in 1880.’
      • ‘This week primary school teacher Mrs Trainor held a meeting for parents of children who will be starting primary school in September.’
      • ‘And it also makes me worry, because he was starting his postdoc when I was barely in my thesis lab.’
      • ‘The state pools the money and invests it, then pays tuition when the child starts college.’
      • ‘She starts kindergarten today at Riverside Presbyterian Day School.’
      • ‘When her children started school she began to look for a job in the tourism area.’
      • ‘Undergraduates starting their studies at York St John College are worried about the lack of junior posts available to complete their training.’
      • ‘Best wishes also to all who are going to Third Level, starting an Apprenticeship or beginning a new job.’
    5. 1.5 Begin one's working life.
      ‘he started as a typesetter’
      ‘she started off as a general practitioner’
      • ‘He started off as a monk, then when he met the prerequisites he started down the path of a technology monk.’
      • ‘Some of our leading politicians started their political careers from there.’
      • ‘He started in theatre and began getting involved in film productions nine years ago.’
    6. 1.6with object Begin to live through (a period distinguished by a specified characteristic)
      ‘they started their married life’
      • ‘A York man who walked out of an open prison and went on the run with his ten-year-old son was today starting a new nine-month prison sentence.’
      • ‘A thug who wore heavy gold rings when he beat up another man was today starting a 15-month jail sentence.’
      • ‘A York boy aged 15 was today starting a year-long custodial sentence for mugging schoolboys in the street.’
      • ‘A school worker who stole more than £100,000 from funds was today starting a 21-month jail sentence.’
      • ‘Three Bradford men who were part of an illegal immigrants smuggling ring using false passports were today starting lengthy prison sentences.’
      • ‘An early-hours chip shop raider caught by police climbing out of the window was today starting a 12 month jail term.’
      • ‘His wounds began to heal just three days after starting treatment.’
      • ‘A teenager was today starting an eight-month custodial sentence for a string of drunken outbursts in different parts of York.’
    7. 1.7 Cost at least a specified amount.
      ‘fees start at around $300’
      • ‘Prices invariably start at Rs.500 and that is probably for a gaudy or a beady look on a slipper.’
      • ‘Double rooms start at Ã125 per room per night, but it's always worth checking for special deals.’
      • ‘A basic bed, shower and toilet will start at £10 a night, plus the cost of disposable linen.’
      • ‘A detached stone cottage to the north of the region will start at about £160,000.’
      • ‘Prices start at #20 for two fish but includes catch and release on the main loch should you reach your limit.’
      • ‘Prices start at £185 per night for a suite with a Chelsea view, based on one or two people sharing.’
  • 2with object Cause (an event or process) to happen.

    ‘two men started the blaze that caused the explosion’
    ‘those women started all the trouble’
    • ‘Developers will start work on skateparks in Braintree and Witham in less than two weeks.’
    • ‘The blaze was accidentally started by welders working on the building.’
    • ‘I was a bit worried that it might all get too hot and start a fire before then.’
    • ‘We could all participate by not starting, or continuing, a conflict with our family, neighbours or work colleagues.’
    • ‘This means you are the one who starts and continues the conversation.’
    • ‘Prior to starting transmission, the device would monitor the radio environment for a radar's presence.’
    • ‘South Wales Police believe the blaze may have been started deliberately after finding two separate seats to the fire.’
    • ‘A caretaker has been praised after he tackled one of three suspicious blazes which were started at a secondary school.’
    • ‘There were also more than 2,000 rubbish blazes started by firebugs in Bradford.’
    • ‘The blaze had been inadvertently started by a mountain climber trying to burn toilet paper on Sunday.’
    • ‘My father would never start trouble, only try to defend himself if he was in danger.’
    • ‘The blazes are believed to have been deliberately started by children.’
    • ‘This approval means we can start work on developing the service to make this a reality.’
    • ‘It's no surprise then that he starts most of the fights, and suffers most of the insults, at the hands of his fellow bandmates.’
    • ‘The blaze was started by a cigarette which had not been properly extinguished in the smoking room.’
    • ‘Developers can start work on the site once they have met the conditions of their application.’
    • ‘A Hampshire firefighter became an arsonist so that he would be called out to the blazes he had started himself.’
    • ‘Wherever they take their instruments and PVC trousers, these Bond dames seem to start trouble.’
    • ‘Yet what Petronzi knew was that many others would use the Heysel link as an excuse to start trouble.’
    • ‘Fire chiefs believe the blaze may have been started by arsonists.’
    • ‘The developers want to start work on the site at the end of this year, with a view to opening in 2006.’
    establish, set up, found, lay the foundations of, lay the cornerstone of, lay the first stone of, sow the seeds of, create, bring into being, institute, initiate, inaugurate, introduce, open, begin, launch, float, kick-start, put in place, get something off the ground, get something going, get something moving, get something working, get something functioning, activate, originate, pioneer, organize, mastermind, embark on, make a start on, tackle, set about
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Bring (a project or an institution) into being; cause to take effect or begin to work or operate.
      ‘I'm starting a campaign to get the law changed’
      • ‘Are people starting software companies to build and sell these smaller systems?’
      • ‘I was so fortunate that Peter had taken time out of his busy schedule to start such a program.’
      • ‘To help nudge things along, Sun this week started a Grid Developer Community web site.’
      • ‘This was followed by Blue Cross, which was started primarily to help community dogs.’
      • ‘Linda called a residents' meeting two weeks ago and a petition was started which today bears around 50 signatures.’
      • ‘One reason many young people want to start their own companies is to have a bigger stake in their working lives.’
      • ‘He never got to set in motion his vision of starting a University in Kisumu.’
      • ‘The Parc project was started by a group of parents who had either a child or children with disabilities.’
      • ‘Expensive projects started by the previous administration had to be completed.’
      • ‘Earlier, the campaign against tuberculosis was started with a media campaign.’
      • ‘Another step is to start career guidance units in each educational district.’
      • ‘We started this campaign a year ago, when are they going to do something?’
      • ‘The project was started by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as part of its outreach work.’
      • ‘Bolton businessmen who started their own companies can now help others.’
      • ‘He is lobbying parliament to make changes to the educational system to encourage people to start their own businesses.’
      • ‘Lt. Frank Lahm was starting an Army flying school there, but there were few officers available for training.’
      • ‘Someone's starting an entirely laudable campaign to get the pubs opened early in the morning for the World Cup.’
      • ‘I began building my vast media empire by starting a small regional newspaper in East Texas.’
      • ‘Two villagers want to start local football teams and the new meeting room could be a changing facility.’
      • ‘Project Release is a promotions company started by Nathalie Clarke and Jennifer Horn.’
      • ‘The website was started and is being developed by a distinguished American academic called Karama Neal.’
    2. 2.2 Cause (a machine) to begin to work.
      ‘we had trouble starting the car’
      ‘he starts up his van’
      • ‘I heard the car being started and I hurried back to find Herself backing down the driveway.’
      • ‘Water gushed into the hold space and the captain ordered the pumps started.’
      • ‘One woman said she had a sense of foreboding while the aircraft was still on the ground because the pilot had trouble starting one of the engines.’
      • ‘Deuterium Boy belted himself in as Chris started the motor and began backing out.’
      • ‘You'd be surprised at what can be done to make the flight safer before starting the engine’
      • ‘The owner of the vehicle heard it being started and gave chase in another car.’
      • ‘It's quite amazing; the merest hint of a parking ticket is enough to start car engines at almost a hundred metres.’
      • ‘They targeted luxury cars which, thanks to modern security devices, could not be started without the car keys.’
      • ‘The system also allows for the car to be started by simply pressing a button on the dash.’
      • ‘I know the ignition was in the on position but to be honest I don't remember the engine being started.’
      • ‘He seemed to be having some trouble starting the little cutting machine up.’
      activate, set in motion, switch on, turn on, fire up
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    3. 2.3no object (of a machine or device) begin operating or being used.
      ‘the noise of a tractor starting up’
      ‘there was a moment of silence before the organ started’
      • ‘She was only vaguely aware of the sound of car engines starting and the flash of headlights illuminating them as they drove by.’
      • ‘You just potter about quite normally, completely unaware that the engine is starting and stopping constantly.’
      • ‘What he can do is enter a special code, and the car's engine will not start.’
      • ‘The caboose starts suddenly, then eases to a gentle roll.’
      • ‘The diesel engine starts easily and the first impression of the car is how quiet it is.’
      • ‘Just as the cart was starting, Kirsten jumped out of the cart.’
      • ‘Then the engine started and I saw him back out of the driveway and squeal off down the road.’
      • ‘The mechanic had the engine started, peered in and listened to the noise with closed eyes.’
      • ‘Soon, she heard the engine starting and the sound of the Land Rover rolling out of the driveway.’
      • ‘One day I turned the key, the ignition light came on but the engine didn't start.’
      • ‘According to reports, the engine wouldn't start and they couldn't swim to the vessel against the current.’
      • ‘Push the gas down and the engine starts instantly and off you go.’
      • ‘Several showers of sparks later I made the correct connection and the car started.’
      • ‘The engine finally started by the time the troops were about to jump onto the plane.’
      • ‘Twenty seconds later Wendy heard the faint sound of a car engine starting.’
      • ‘Once he was inside the sedan, she heard the engine starting and the next moment the car zoomed away.’
      • ‘He was already to his Hummer and the engine started when she came out onto the porch and watched him speed off.’
      • ‘They returned to their nearby home, went to bed and shortly afterwards, the car alarm started.’
      • ‘There was a muted roar combined with a yelp from Happy as the Turbo jet engine started.’
      • ‘The engine starts at the same revs it was doing before.’
      begin working, start functioning, get going, start operating
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    4. 2.4 Cause or enable (someone or something) to begin doing or pursuing something.
      ‘his father started him off in business’
      ‘what he said started me thinking’
      • ‘It was no doubt the arrival of the ZX Spectrum that started him on his career.’
      • ‘She credits childhood reading of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov for starting her on her career.’
      • ‘Willynilly is the game that originally started me writing this book.’
      • ‘Now, a sports column is nothing more than a springboard, a gig that starts you on your way to becoming a multimedia star.’
    5. 2.5 Give a signal to (competitors) to start in a race.
      • ‘Then he starts a Slam Dunk competition between Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.’
      • ‘She took centre stage when starting last year's junior race before joining in to raise more cash for Francis House.’
      • ‘He started the first running race and cheered the young athletes on in the warm sunshine.’
      • ‘The De Nardi Colpack rider was not allowed to start the Tour of Lombardy World Cup race.’
  • 3no object Give a small jump or make a sudden jerking movement from surprise or alarm.

    ‘“Oh my!” she said, starting’
    • ‘When we broke apart the next time, she started suddenly, as if coming out of a dream.’
    • ‘The closed door opened suddenly and Angel started but it was only a rather small woman.’
    • ‘Cinaed started slightly in surprise as he heard the door he had set his back to start to open.’
    • ‘Everyone started, surprised, until they realised it had been the Queen speaking.’
    • ‘She started and jumped up, looking at Tobias with an expression that was close to fright.’
    flinch, jerk, jump, twitch, recoil, shrink, blench, wince, shy
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    1. 3.1literary Move or appear suddenly.
      ‘she had seen Meg start suddenly from a thicket’
      jump, leap, spring, bound, dash, charge, pounce, dive, rush, dart
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    2. 3.2 (of eyes) bulge so as to appear to burst out of their sockets.
      ‘his eyes started out of his head like a hare's’
      • ‘Then she came wriggling back, with repentant doleful eyes starting upward and a knife behind her back.’
      • ‘She looked at me with her round eyes starting from her face, and then turned over her shoulder to see if her gasp had alerted anyone.’
    3. 3.3 Be displaced or displace by pressure or shrinkage.
      ‘the mortar in the joints had started’
      • ‘The seas continuously swept over her, and finally started the seams in her decks, washed off the tarpaulins which had been placed over the hatches and battened down, and resulted in great damage to the wheat from the sea water pouring over it through the deck seams and hatches of the ship.’
      • ‘It was nothing to explain the leakage - the wrecking of the upper works had warped the hull and started the seams - and, for a little, 'twas nothing, with patches and a hose laid to the steam pump, to keep the water back.’
    4. 3.4with object Rouse (game) from its lair.


  • 1The point in time or space at which something has its origin; the beginning.

    ‘he takes over as chief executive at the start of next year’
    ‘the event was a shambles from start to finish’
    ‘his bicycle was found close to the start of a forest trail’
    • ‘At its Monday session, the Constitutional Court inaugurated the start of the case.’
    • ‘Thirty hours after the start of treatment the cells were harvested and micronucleus slides were prepared.’
    • ‘From start to finish the whole operation was ill-conceived, hurriedly executed and bungled.’
    • ‘However, this would result in the balances being in a worse position than at the start of the financial year.’
    • ‘At the start of my third hour I suddenly recalled that I had not eaten for seven hours.’
    • ‘When crunching, keep your abdominal muscles contracted from the start to finish of each move.’
    • ‘The committee has no rigid rules for determining the start or finish of a business cycle.’
    • ‘It was the close to the start of my first semester of my senior year at Sequioa High School.’
    • ‘After plenty of rain over the preceding 24 hours, the start of play was delayed to allow a wet outfield to improve.’
    • ‘It was an ill omen at the start of the journey, but the trek couldn't be postponed any longer.’
    • ‘After having accepted the invite, two hours before the start of the game he phoned me to say he wasn't coming.’
    • ‘Chelsea seized the initiative from the start, and might have scored in the seventh minute.’
    • ‘He makes a point of being on playground duty at the start and finish of the school day, so parents can bring any concerns to him.’
    • ‘What is needed is immediate end to confrontation and start of positive engagement.’
    • ‘The film will show the work from its start, through its construction to its delivery to the stadium.’
    • ‘That is a pretty devastating turnaround from the initial outlook at the start of the year.’
    • ‘From start to finish, the treatment of the defendants was a travesty of legal due process.’
    • ‘This hole is the start of a project initiated to commemorate the millennium for the people of Trowbridge.’
    • ‘They are at the start of a long journey, and must be given the benefit of the doubt.’
    • ‘The start and finish of this linear route are poorly served by public transport.’
    beginning, inception, onset, emergence, appearance, first appearance, arrival, eruption, dawn, birth
    origin, source, root, starting point, germ, seeds, beginning, genesis
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    1. 1.1 The point or moment at which a race begins.
      • ‘The race start was delayed four times on the Saturday, as there was a complete lack of wind for the ships to sail.’
      • ‘Anyone arriving later than 10.30 am is unlikely to get into the estate in time for the race start.’
      • ‘Cricket commitments meant that I was always going to be an hour late for the start.’
      • ‘However today my race was really over when I stalled the car at the start and had to begin my race from the pit lane.’
      • ‘I was very aggressive at the start and during the race I tried to defend my second place and to not do any mistake.’
      • ‘I flew up this morning from Philadelphia and just made it in time for the start of the race.’
      • ‘The heavy rain held up the start for an hour and a half and left sodden fairways and greens to add to the golfers' worries.’
      • ‘The early evening kick-off saw a number of players stranded in rush hour traffic and the start was delayed.’
      • ‘It can get a bit crowded at the start of a race and the potential for a crash is significant.’
      • ‘The exact course was a secret until about three hours before the start of the race.’
      • ‘Injuries forced the lineup to change three times prior to the start of the race.’
      • ‘He ate, drank and stretched and at 9am lined up at the start, to begin his second marathon.’
      • ‘I lost a lot of time at the start of the race and I tried to close the gap as much as possible.’
      • ‘He bustled Ouija Board into fifth soon after the start and held his position until the field quickened down the back stretch.’
      • ‘John Pawson missed the start of the second race, having damaged his fin and forced to make a quick repair.’
      • ‘It begins with a mass start and the aim is simply to cross the finishing line first.’
      • ‘So last Saturday Fell Foot was a country traffic jam as 491 runners arrived at the race start.’
      • ‘There was a considerable delay to the start of the race due to a knock to First Row.’
      • ‘Participants are urged to arrive at least an hour before the start, and say parking will be available in a field at the hall.’
      • ‘It was a magnificent sight to see so many participants surging through the Claddagh at the start of the race.’
      • ‘Judging by the shape of the first corner, the start of the race could be interesting.’
    2. 1.2 An act of beginning to do or deal with something.
      ‘I can make a start on cleaning up’
      ‘an early start enabled us to avoid the traffic’
      • ‘Okocha made a lively start, creating chances for himself and his new colleagues.’
      • ‘The animals are at their most active in a morning and an early start will be well rewarded.’
      • ‘Proposals for the resurfacing of Fishergate are well advanced and we are hopeful for an early start to the work there.’
      • ‘On what was to be the last days fishing of that holiday, Val and I had decided to make an early start and fish up at Flix.’
      • ‘Flying Lyric is held in high regard by Woods and looks the sort of horse to enjoy a useful campaign after a promising start.’
      • ‘Obviously I am disappointed as I had a great start and was really building on my lead.’
      • ‘The classical style requires an early start at an age young enough for the body to adapt to its demanding range of movement.’
      • ‘This of course is where Willy Brandt comes in, so it's a useful start for my work on Democracy.’
      • ‘At Dudley they got away to a reasonable start, Paul Bailey giving them a third minute lead with a penalty.’
      • ‘The home side made a good start with early scores and were well in command for the first half.’
      • ‘We make an immediate start to constructing a coal-fired power station in Fife.’
      • ‘His weight alarmed the club's coaching staff and led to a sluggish start to the season.’
      • ‘Amir made a positive start and took the fight to his experienced opponent.’
      • ‘An early start will enable you to compensate for the inevitable traffic jam or late taxi.’
      • ‘Along with her fellow climbers, Katrina will have to make an early start before the clouds come in.’
      • ‘A year earlier a start had been made on dismantling the batteries, and seventeen electric cabs were scrapped.’
      • ‘Defending champion Justin Rose made a disappointing start as he finished on one over par.’
      • ‘An early start enables a two-dive morning trip to be back on the beach before mid-day.’
      • ‘Once again, the little convoy got an early start, and by nine, they had covered over twenty miles.’
      • ‘Michael made a good start and remained in third into the first corner on the half wet half dry circuit.’
      • ‘Pawson made a bad start and Hardy established a significant lead by the windward mark and went on to win.’
    3. 1.3 Used to indicate that a useful initial contribution has been made but that more remains to be done.
      ‘if he would tell her who had put him up to it, it would be a start’
      • ‘Going to the gym for an hour is a great start, but what about the rest of the day?’
      • ‘It is a small step, but it is a start at shaping a positive image of nursing in young minds.’
      • ‘It doesn't need to be done every 15 minutes, like News, but every 6 hours would be a start.’
      • ‘It is a good start to try to deal with the difficulties around medical mishaps.’
      • ‘This year's programme is only the start and it'll be subject to review.’
      • ‘I think this might be a good start for building something more solid with your mother.’
      • ‘Making the concept a reality was just the start, Browne also had to sell it.’
    4. 1.4 A person's position or circumstances at the beginning of their life, especially a position of advantage.
      ‘she's anxious to give her baby the best start in life’
      • ‘The children have overcome their shaky start in life and all three love performing and dancing to Indian music.’
      • ‘When you are pregnant, you can give your baby the best start in life by refusing to use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, including over-the-counter medications, unless ordered by your doctor.’
      • ‘And how can we make sure they're getting the best possible start in life?’
      • ‘But, vital as good maternity services are, they're only one part of the picture when it comes to giving our children the best possible start in life.’
      • ‘Ensuring that all young children have the best possible start in life with quality education is essential.’
      advantageous beginning, flying start, opening, opportunity, chance, helping hand, encouragement, lift, assistance, support, boost, kick-start
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 An advantage consisting in having set out in a race or on journey earlier than one's rivals or opponents.
      ‘he would have a ninety-minute start on them’
      • ‘The senior race also climbs to this summit, the first of five they have to climb (the juniors only do one), and with a five minute start the first junior usually beats the first senior to the top.’
      • ‘Sulamani was not too well away and gave most of his rivals plenty of start.’
      • ‘His oldest brother, Tory, would give him an hour's head start before following in his car.’
      • ‘It world take forever to find the pair in town, especially with nearly an hour head start.’
      • ‘The limit riders headed off with a 23 minute start, but were caught at about the half way mark several kilometres after Mokepilly.’
      lead, head start, advantage, advantageous position
      View synonyms
  • 2A sudden movement of surprise or alarm.

    ‘she awoke with a start’
    ‘the woman gave a nervous start’
    • ‘With a start, she twirled around and found herself fact to face with Kinchi's brother, Chikan.’
    • ‘It took her a moment to remember where she was, and when she did, she sat up with a start.’
    • ‘As soon as she laid her hand on the doorknob the door opened from the inside and she jumped back with a start.’
    • ‘The pounding on the door sounded like a bomb had exploded and Nikolas woke with a start.’
    • ‘Audrey woke with a start but quickly remembered where she was and why she was there.’
    • ‘With a start, he realized that he was still in the hayloft, and the sun was well up.’
    • ‘Mrs Barnes gave a tug at the lead that was wrapped around her wrist and the sleeping terrier at the other end of it woke with a start and gave her a baleful look.’
    • ‘Miel got up with a start, realizing that she had been resting her head on his shoulder.’
    • ‘Kelsey awoke with a start and shook her head a few times to get rid of her dream.’
    • ‘With a start, she realized that she could not remember the last time she had laughed.’
    • ‘He raised his head with a start when a floorboard creaked from the hallway leading to the bedrooms.’
    • ‘The next thing I knew an alarm was going off and I woke with a start.’
    • ‘Her words still held a trace of an accent, and with a start, she heard it in her own voice.’
    • ‘Within the ship Odin looked up with a start as footsteps thudded on the hull.’
    • ‘The splash gave Dog a start and she began barking in the general direction of the noise.’
    • ‘Malachi and Lilith looked round with a start at the sound of the voice.’
    • ‘With a start, Peter realised that Cy would have disapproved of that kind of thinking.’
    • ‘There did not appear to be anything wrong with the poor old boy except I think he had woken with a start and was a bit frightened.’
    • ‘I woke up with a start as someone shook my shoulders lightly, whispering my name in my ear.’
    • ‘Bin Rahim shot up with a start, bewildered as to why he had a sudden pain in his side.’
    jerk, twitch, flinch, wince, spasm, convulsion, jump
    View synonyms


  • don't start (or don't you start)

    • informal Used to tell someone not to grumble or criticize.

      ‘don't start—I do my fair share’
      • ‘I've been keeping the conversation moving so Buffy here doesn't blubber, so don't you start or we'll be having to blow dry my dress.’
      • ‘‘Oh don't you start,’ Arcadia said.’
      • ‘‘Now don't you start,’ Briar replied, nudging Althia a second time and crying out when she shoved him in return.’
      • ‘Your mom's already gonna kick your dad out for it, don't you start too.’
      • ‘Oh don't you start as well I've already had this conversation with Em and Casey today, yes I like Jonathan but as a friend nothing else, okay.’
      • ‘I contributed my archery skills, keen senses and prettiness to the Company, so don't you start.’
      • ‘Sarah turned her head to glare at her teenage son, ‘Joe, don't you start with me!’’
      • ‘Lenni corrected, rolling her eyes, ‘So don't you start.’’
  • for a start

    • informal Used to introduce or emphasize the first or most important of a number of considerations.

      ‘this side is at an advantage—for a start, there are more of them’
      • ‘The brand launch, for a start, could not have come at a better time for advertisers and media outlets.’
      • ‘Parents, for a start, should restrict a child's viewing hours to around a couple of hours every day.’
      • ‘It is important to point out, for a start, that this is not a national security risk.’
      • ‘There was the shepherd's pie, for a start, made from the minced-up leftovers from the Sunday joint.’
      • ‘Well, for a start, I think that we should pursue an independent foreign policy.’
      • ‘Senator Chambers said the issue, for a start, was a matter for the Management Board to decide.’
      • ‘It had to be cotton for a start, and I didn't want any floral design or any narrow straight lines.’
      • ‘If they had discussed it with local people we could have set them straight on a few things, how many people are affected, for a start.’
      • ‘On the other hand my focus on albums might have held me back in some ways - for a start hardly anyone buys them.’
      • ‘The advantages of such programs are far higher recovery rates, for a start.’
  • get started

    • Begin a task, endeavor, or process.

      ‘for an art gallery owner, Naples was a good place to get started’
      • ‘There are some interesting experiments of start-up business incubators that have been designed to help new small businesses get started.’
      • ‘If you do want to just get started quickly, simply create a text file.’
      • ‘Before the class began we sat on the floor and talked about how she got started.’
      • ‘There's an attempt to encourage more people to pursue science as a career, with more scholarships and the possibility of 5-year career establishment grants to help new researchers get started.’
      • ‘You can go the other way round and just get started doing computer animation.’
      • ‘She suggests that aspiring entrepreneurs consider this seven-step guide to get started.’
      • ‘If we're content to stick with the status quo and not search for alternatives, new products and ways of doing business will have a difficult time getting started.’
      • ‘Organizers have already been criticized for getting started too late on stadium construction and other preparations.’
      • ‘The trail features online activities to show people how to get started in exploring local history.’
      • ‘The easiest way to ruin a web development project is to get started before you are ready.’
  • get the start of

    • dated Gain an advantage over.

      • ‘Cross got the start of a lifetime and pumped his way into a widening lead, flashing across the finish line with the day's fastest time, 18.800 seconds.’
      • ‘There was a lot of heat there, I remember sort of getting the start of that heat and then going out.’
      • ‘The secrets of victory thus lie in taking the initiative, and in getting the start of one's adversary there are included the following factors.’
  • start a family

    • Conceive one's first child.

      • ‘If a couple are considering starting a family they may approach their general practitioner for advice on conceiving.’
      • ‘I put on around a stone, which wouldn't have been so bad, but starting a family a couple of years later really added to my weight problem.’
      • ‘At the time, Newberry and her husband, Maurice, were in the Air Force, starting a family and attending grad school.’
      • ‘He still feels that way, but his keen focus on becoming mayor of his hometown has dulled somewhat now that he's started a family and established roots in Houston.’
      • ‘A century ago, to start a family you'd hire a professional to find you a spouse, and by doing what comes naturally you'd make a baby.’
  • start something

    • informal Cause trouble.

      • ‘If other people that they don't know come around started something, the gang would most likely get involved.’
      • ‘Please don't try to start something in here.’
  • to start with

    • 1At the beginning of a series of events or period of time.

      ‘she wasn't very keen on the idea to start with’
      • ‘The audience sat sedately to start with, expecting a traditional folk dance.’
      • ‘But production can only push the music so far if the band's soul isn't there to start with.’
      • ‘Ren had been against the idea to start with saying it was too public, there was too great a risk that someone would recognise one of us.’
      • ‘I picked one of my Greek favourites, the Salata Snezhanka four leva, to start with.’
      • ‘Inevitably you realise you don't perform them any more because they weren't good to start with.’
      • ‘And nor do I know how many megajoules the magnetic field had to start with.’
      • ‘OK, so lots of people think that going deep into a dark, narrow cave is a bad idea to start with.’
      • ‘I think we'll try again tomorrow when he wakes up and hopefully he'll be in a considerably better mood to start with.’
      • ‘This comes as a three-course meal, packed with a variety of kebabs to start with.’
      • ‘He was a bit reluctant to co-operate to start with, but when the project was explained to him he was happy to help.’
      at first, at the start, at the outset, at the beginning, in the beginning, to begin with, to start with, originally, in the early stages, in the first instance
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1As the first thing to be taken into account.
        ‘to start with, I was feeling down’
        • ‘It just makes me wonder who the heck has called him a genius to start with?’
        • ‘It's causing me worry and depression and my health is not good to start with because I have emphysema and arthritis.’
        • ‘So, to start with, these are the films that I could watch over and over.’
        • ‘Poetry shouldn't be friendly, period, to start with, and it's not there for users.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • start again

    • Abandon what one is doing and make a new beginning.

      ‘while I was writing this essay my computer froze and I had to start again’
      • ‘The weekly jazz nights will start again in February next year.’
      • ‘Now I can sweep the whole episode under the carpet and start again.’
      • ‘Kevin guessed his family didn't know she had started again.’
      • ‘The only way to regain full speed is to stop and start again.’
      • ‘I spent an age going over and over the same pieces, erasing the files and starting again.’
      • ‘But there's bad news too, as local supporters have to start again down in the fourth division.’
      • ‘To present ourselves to the universe in as pure a state as when we came in, and start again with a clean slate.’
      • ‘Shields finally will get his chance to start again next fall with the Ducks.’
      • ‘He should give all asylum-seekers currently here the right to remain, and start again.’
      • ‘Simply read, its message is that time and tide must be allowed to wipe the slate clean, so everyone can start again.’
  • start in

    • 1Begin doing something, especially talking.

      ‘people groan when she starts in about her acting ambitions’
      • ‘Unfortunately, if I back the car out of the driveway, she's going to see those two little patches of dirt and start in on a variation of Mother's ‘what will the neighbors think’ speech.’
      • ‘Right away, they started in on their lectures, going on about how martial arts encouraged bowing down to a higher power that was definitely not God, and that I should be very careful.’
      • ‘One young lady noticed I had a VIP pass, and started in on me with her need to get backstage.’
      • ‘After we were done, she started in on all the details.’
      • ‘She agreed, stubbornly, and I started in on what Folttel had told me, and watched as Jana's eyes went slowly and slowly wider.’
      • ‘I sighed as I reached the podium, pulling my mirror out of my pocket and putting it on the stand in front of me and swept my eyes over the crowd once before starting in on my speech.’
      • ‘Fred starts in on how, this week, he chose some of his wife's best clothes, some of the clothes which he says were custom made, and offered them to his neighbor and, as a result, he feels that he has made progress and is coping better.’
      • ‘‘It wasn't, and I have to go,’ I injected the last part right before she could start in on more questions.’
      • ‘Then you start in on the ‘X passage should have been translated as Y’ stuff.’
      • ‘He ran the fastball, you know, the one that kind of starts in and goes back over the plate.’
      1. 1.1North American Begin to do or deal with.
        ‘you vacuum the stairs and I'll start in on the laundry’
        • ‘I stare wild-eyed at the computer and instead of jumping up and starting in on those lists and to-dos, I stare some more.’
        • ‘It was 7: 30, almost dark, by the time Geoff started in on his 21st consecutive, and final, operation.’
        • ‘Then, at 10:00 am, he started in on the last remaining manuals.’
        • ‘I finished off the last novel of a mystery series I love yesterday and have no others to start in on, so I think I'll turn in for the night.’
        • ‘Planting continued across the state at the end of the week, with some producers finishing up their corn and starting in on their soybeans.’
        • ‘‘So,’ he said as he started in on his third doughnut.’
        • ‘We'd reached the middle of the dance floor by this point, and I turned to face him, putting my free arm on his shoulder and starting in on the steps right away.’
        • ‘Once we were home, we started in on the outside decorations.’
        • ‘The rented organist started in on the familiar measures of ‘Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,’ and Father Marino strode onto the altar.’
        • ‘He sat down and dug in, licking his bowl clean and then starting in on the fruit.’
      2. 1.2North American Attack verbally; begin to criticize.
        ‘before you start in on me, let me explain’
        • ‘But when she and Mack left, they started in on how fat she was.’
        • ‘We get more done than she sometimes gives us credit for, which does cause me considerable frustration when she starts in on the, ‘We never do anything,’ riff that is one of her specialties.’
        • ‘But we are hesitant to start in on this business of who's there and who isn't.’
        • ‘Almost immediately my father started in on how the person who was out in California who made the first complaint about had way too much time on their hands.’
        • ‘One day, I'm having dinner and he starts in on me about something or another and mentions the spaghetti I'm eating.’
        • ‘It funny how those commenting then started in on each other.’
        • ‘I could tell Anna was getting ready to start in on how if I just applied myself more often I could have more ‘productive days’.’
        • ‘The turning point came when she started in on the psychiatrist, who as she pointed out, smoked continually.’
        • ‘As soon as we made it through the front door she started in on me, ‘You were stupid!’’
        • ‘Emma starts in on me about Paul and he just laughs and nudges my shoulder.’
  • start off (or start someone/something off)

    • 1Begin (or cause someone or something to begin) working, operating, or dealing with something.

      ‘treatment should start off with attention to diet’
      ‘what started you off on this search?’
      • ‘If you are a jazz-rock-fusion fan, I highly recommend starting your musical year off right by getting this CD.’
      • ‘There's that playful, percussive guitar which starts it off, and there are those multiple false endings, and the entire song does actually sound like lots of fun, as long as you don't listen to the words.’
      • ‘The ceremonies were started off with a Catholic mass in the cathedral in Monaco.’
      • ‘Thanks to Nick for starting me off on reading Robert Rankin.’
      • ‘I gave his mother a hug when she began to cry, she started me off too, and just then I noticed that she must have been hurting more than I was.’
      • ‘Kate starts things off singing something called ‘I Wish’.’
      • ‘Our parents started us off in music when we were very young.’
      • ‘He starts things off by revisiting the acoustic song ‘Big Mama's Door’ from his debut, instilling a bit more muscle in the mix - the hard-rock reworking easily transcends his original.’
      • ‘Her senior year had just begun, and she wanted to start it off with a bang.’
      • ‘But the basic story's a hoax newspaper article from Chicago which people don't realise is a hoax, and that's what starts the whole thing off.’
      1. 1.1Begin a meal.
        ‘she started off with soup’
        • ‘I started off with the Thai fishcakes with sweet chilli sauce, and was very pleasantly surprised.’
        • ‘I started off with a bowl of steamed mussels with bacon, basil, pine nuts and Parmesan.’
        • ‘You can easily have an entire meal of tapas or start off with tapas and move on to a main course.’
  • start on

    • 1Begin to work on or deal with.

      ‘I'm starting on a new book’
      • ‘The girls waited for the prince to begin eating his own food before they started on their own, which was custom.’
      • ‘Armed with soap suds, sponge, and rags, he starts on the task ahead.’
      • ‘Yeah, okay he didn't win as many matches as he would have wanted to, but he has set up a very good platform for the nest manager to start on.’
      • ‘It's time I started on another piece, except I still haven't managed to find one.’
      • ‘Finishing his glass of water he simply starts on mine.’
      • ‘There I have been lucky and it was easy for me to manage the gap on Sunday morning and I started on pole.’
      • ‘I now have a wheelchair and a pair of crutches and I will soon be starting on a new course of medicine to try and deal with the various medical problems.’
      • ‘The second someone starts on that line I know it's a lie.’
      • ‘This next one seems to have plenty to keep me occupied, so I'd better go off and begin drafting the review before starting on the next one.’
      • ‘Paula is watching him and starts on another train of thought.’
    • 2Begin to talk to someone, especially in a critical or hostile way.

      ‘she started on about my not having nice furniture’
      • ‘Next you're going to start on about how pro-wrestling is a respectable art form. It's absolutely embarrassing how low-brow American movies have become.’
      • ‘I'm concerned that by going to her she'll start on about all the things I do wrong.’
  • start over

    • Make a new beginning.

      ‘could you face going back to school and starting over?’
      • ‘This produced such an uproar that the initial selection process had to be scrapped and started over from the beginning.’
      • ‘This is a grand step forward for us, it's almost like we are starting over.’
      • ‘Imagine reading 20 pages of a book and then starting over at the beginning.’
      • ‘We understand that desire, but, well, he knows and we know, starting over isn't an option, we've got to see it to the end.’
      • ‘Their house obliterated by fire, the Inglehart family of Glenwood Springs now struggles with the stresses of loss and starting over.’
      • ‘I'm not sure that you will get much support for replacing our system and starting over, but it could definitely use some adjustments.’
      • ‘Reinstalling the operating system is a fate worse than a root canal… it basically means wiping the hard drive clean and starting over.’
      • ‘A failed referendum means the arduous process starts over.’
      • ‘After two and half years, and just before the big trial, they were pulling the lead attorney from the case and starting over with someone new.’
      • ‘Other Katrina evacuees have travelled hundreds of miles in search of a new life, But Hardy Jackson is starting over right here in Atlanta.’
  • start out (or up)

    • Embark on a venture or undertaking, especially a commercial one.

      ‘the company will start out with a hundred employees’
      • ‘She has had a good response and in the future we may look forward to this worthy programme starting up in Hacketstown.’
      • ‘The money went to the Prince's Trust to help young people start up new business ventures.’
      • ‘He enjoyed the process so much, he's started up Flint, a new venture, already.’
      • ‘Keen on starting a new venture, Mr Twit wants to start up a circus act in his back yard.’
      • ‘Mr Okeke persuaded Mr Sawalha to travel to Spain to sign a contract and to make the payment for the start up costs of the venture.’
      • ‘What are the biggest traps to look out for when starting out in a venture like this?’


Old English styrtan ‘to caper, leap’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch storten ‘push’ and German stürzen ‘fall headlong, fling’. From the sense ‘sudden movement’ arose the sense ‘initiation of movement, setting out on a journey’ and hence ‘beginning of a process, etc.’.




Main definitions of start in US English:

: start1START2



  • Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, an agreement between the US and the Soviet Union to limit and reduce strategic nuclear weapons, first signed in 1991.