false start


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

At least three offensive linemen have had to go for jogs, two for a false start and another for a bad snap. Dan Labbe, cleveland.com, "Entire Browns team faces consequences after fight breaks out in training camp," 28 July 2019 Saturday, there were some problems with false starts, but not too many to distract Murray. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Daily Kyler Murray report: Electricity returns to Arizona Cardinals camp," 27 July 2019 Far too many flags were thrown for false starts or offsides, although that’s to be expected a little bit on the second day of camp. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts camp observations: Trio of young pass rushers flash potential, Luck does 7-on-7 work," 26 July 2019 Sun won the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday night after Danas Rapsys of Lithuania finished first and got disqualified for an apparent false start. Beth Harris, baltimoresun.com, "China’s Sun Yang gets shunned again on podium at world swimming championships," 23 July 2019 The plot was plagued for more than a year by false starts and missteps, prosecutors said in court papers filed on Tuesday. Michael Wilson, New York Times, "Killing of Mobster at McDonald’s Was Ordered by His Son, Prosecutors Say," 18 June 2019 Noah Lyles gets a break in Boston when meet officials don’t disqualify him after an obvious false start. oregonlive.com, "Genzebe Dibaba edges Sifan Hassan in an epic 1,500, Nijel Amos wins: Oregon track & field rundown," 17 June 2019 After a protracted false start it was announced Wednesday that the Raiders will host the Green Bay Packers in a Week 3 exhibition game in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday, Aug. 22. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Raiders bound for exhibition game against Packers in Canada," 5 June 2019 Without straying much from the formula—first the meet-cute, then many false starts, all culminating in happily ever after—the creators have to provide some element of novelty. Judy Berman, Time, "Four Weddings and a Funeral," 24 July 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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Statistics for false start

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for false start

The first known use of false start was in 1815

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More Definitions for false start

false start


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)

More from Merriam-Webster on false start

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with false start

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