false start

noun

Definition of false start

1 : a premature start (as of a race or football play)
2 : an unsuccessful attempt to begin something (such as a career)

Examples of false start in a Sentence

If someone makes a false start, the race is immediately stopped and the runners have to start again. After several false starts, the researchers were finally able to identify the virus causing the epidemic.
Recent Examples on the Web Then came a false start from Atwell, and just like that, Louisville was facing a first-and-24. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Despite all the preseason hype, Louisville football's offense is far from satisfied," 6 Aug. 2020 There's also a real possibility of the 2001-2003 scenario, which included a false start of sorts. CNN, "Yes, we're in a recession. But the stock market's rally still makes perfect sense," 24 June 2020 The lack of consensus on how to proceed with the session has prompted a few false starts, with Bowers announcing a time for the chamber to reconvene only to scrap the plans. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Arizona House of Representatives reconvenes as lawmakers seek to protect businesses from coronavirus lawsuits," 18 May 2020 The song begins with a solemn piano introduction in G minor, which turns out to be something of a false start, as the clarinet swoops in, introducing the major key and the main melodic line. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Schubert in Spring," 4 Apr. 2020 In a week of mixed messages and false starts, as government officials warned in increasingly urgent terms that the outbreak in the U.S. will only get worse, Washington suddenly seemed poised to act. Time, "President Trump Suspends Travel Between U.S. and Europe as He Announces New Measures to Fight Coronavirus," 12 Mar. 2020 After a week of mixed messages and false starts, and as government officials warned in increasingly urgent terms that the outbreak in the U.S. will only get worse, Washington suddenly seemed poised to act. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump sharply restricts travel from Europe to U.S. for 30 days amid coronavirus concerns," 12 Mar. 2020 In a week of mixed messages and false starts, as government officials warned in increasingly urgent terms that the outbreak in the U.S. will only get worse, Washington suddenly seemed poised to act. Lisa Mascaro, Fortune, "Trump suspends travel between U.S. and Europe for 30 days amid coronavirus pandemic," 11 Mar. 2020 Down, set, jump Notre Dame’s offensive line committed a season-high six false starts on Saturday, including two by left tackle Liam Eichenberg and three more by reserves in the fourth quarter. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on quarterback Ian Book: 'I want him back'," 24 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'false start.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of false start

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for false start

Time Traveler

The first known use of false start was in 1815

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Statistics for false start

Last Updated

14 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“False start.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false%20start. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for false start

false start

noun

English Language Learners Definition of false start

: the mistake of starting too soon in a race
: an unsuccessful attempt to begin something (such as a career or a project)

Comments on false start

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