verb (used without object)

  1. to begin or set out, as on a journey or activity.
  2. to appear or come suddenly into action, life, view, etc.; rise or issue suddenly forth.
  3. to spring, move, or dart suddenly from a position or place: The rabbit started from the bush.
  4. to be among the entrants in a race or the initial participants in a game or contest.
  5. to give a sudden, involuntary jerk, jump, or twitch, as from a shock of surprise, alarm, or pain: The sudden clap of thunder caused everyone to start.
  6. to protrude: eyes seeming to start from their sockets.
  7. to spring, slip, or work loose from place or fastenings, as timbers or other structural parts.

verb (used with object)

  1. to set moving, going, or acting; to set in operation: to start an automobile; to start a fire.
  2. to establish or found: to start a new business.
  3. to begin work on: to start a book.
  4. to enable or help (someone) set out on a journey, a career, or the like: The record started the young singer on the road to stardom.
  5. to cause or choose to be an entrant in a game or contest: He started his ace pitcher in the crucial game.
  6. to cause (an object) to work loose from place or fastenings.
  7. to rouse (game) from its lair or covert; flush.
  8. to draw or discharge (liquid or other contents) from a vessel or container; empty (a container).
  9. Archaic. to cause to twitch, jump, or flinch involuntarily; startle.


  1. a beginning of an action, journey, etc.
  2. a signal to move, proceed, or begin, as on a course or in a race.
  3. a place or time from which something begins.
  4. the first part or beginning segment of anything: The start of the book was good but the last half was dull.
  5. an instance of being a participant in a race or an initial participant in a game or contest: The horse won his first two starts.
  6. a sudden, springing movement from a position.
  7. a sudden, involuntary jerking movement of the body: to awake with a start.
  8. a lead or advance of specified amount, as over competitors or pursuers.
  9. the position or advantage of one who starts first: The youngest child should have the start over the rest.
  10. a chance, opportunity, aid, or encouragement given to one starting on a course or career: The bride’s parents gave the couple a start by buying them a house.
  11. a spurt of activity.
  12. a starting of parts from their place or fastenings in a structure.
  13. the resulting break or opening.
  14. an outburst or sally, as of emotion, wit, or fancy.

verb (riːˈstɑːt)

  1. to start again

noun (ˈriːˌstɑːt)

    1. the act or an instance of starting againthe restart of the lap
    2. (as modifier)a restart device


  1. to begin or cause to begin (something or to do something); come or cause to come into being, operation, etche started a quarrel; they started to work
  2. (when intr , sometimes foll by on) to make or cause to make a beginning of (a process, series of actions, etc)they started on the project
  3. (sometimes foll by up) to set or be set in motionhe started up the machine
  4. (intr) to make a sudden involuntary movement of one’s body, from or as if from fright; jump
  5. (intr; sometimes foll by up, away, etc) to spring or jump suddenly from a position or place
  6. to establish or be established; set upto start a business
  7. (tr) to support (someone) in the first part of a venture, career, etc
  8. to work or cause to work loose
  9. to enter or be entered in a race
  10. (intr) to flow violently from a sourcewine started from a hole in the cask
  11. (tr) to rouse (game) from a hiding place, lair, etc
  12. (intr) (esp of eyes) to bulge; pop
  13. an archaic word for startle
  14. (intr) British informal to commence quarrelling or causing a disturbance
  15. to start with in the first place


  1. the first or first part of a series of actions or operations, a journey, etc
  2. the place or time of starting, as of a race or performance
  3. a signal to proceed, as in a race
  4. a lead or advantage, either in time or distance and usually of specified extent, in a competitive activityhe had an hour’s start on me
  5. a slight involuntary movement of the body, as through fright, surprise, etcshe gave a start as I entered
  6. an opportunity to enter a career, undertake a project, etc
  7. informal a surprising incident
  8. a part that has come loose or been disengaged
  9. by fits and starts spasmodically; without concerted effort
  10. for a start in the first place

n acronym for

  1. Strategic Arms Reduction Talks

also re-start, 1845, from re- + start (v.). Related: Restarted; restarting. As a noun from 1881.


Old English *steortian, *stiertan, Kentish variants of styrtan “to leap up” (related to starian “to stare”), from Proto-Germanic *sturtjan- (cf. Old Frisian stirta “to fall, tumble,” Middle Dutch sterten, Dutch storten “to rush, fall,” Old High German sturzen, German stürzen “to hurl, throw, plunge”), of unknown origin.

From “move or spring suddenly,” sense evolved by late 14c. to “awaken suddenly, flinch or recoil in alarm,” and 1660s to “cause to begin acting or operating.” Meaning “begin to move, leave, depart” is from 1821. The connection is probably from sporting senses (“to force an animal from its lair,” late 14c.).

Related: Started; starting. To start something “cause trouble” is 1917, American English colloquial. Starting block first recorded 1937.


late 14c., “a sudden movement,” from start (v.); meaning “act of beginning to build a house” is from 1946. That of “opportunity at the beginning of a career or course of action” is from 1849. False start first attested 1850.

In addition to the idioms beginning with start

  • start from scratch
  • start in
  • start in on
  • start off
  • start out
  • start over
  • start something
  • start up

also see:

  • false start
  • fits and starts
  • for openers (starters)
  • (start) from scratch
  • from soup to nuts (start to finish)
  • get off the ground (to a flying start)
  • head start
  • running start
  • to start with

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