non·​start·​er ˌnän-ˈstär-tər How to pronounce nonstarter (audio)
: one that does not start
: someone or something that is not productive or effective
his son has been, in politics a nonstarterAnthony Lejeune

Examples of nonstarter in a Sentence

She's the leading scorer among the team's nonstarters.
Recent Examples on the Web The developer also said that requests for changes to office space at the complex were a nonstarter since some of the project’s public funding is contingent upon providing on-site property management and support services. Kate Talerico, The Mercury News, 9 May 2024 Those appear to be nonstarters with the administration because of Chicago’s neutrality policy. Jeremy W. Peters Jamie Kelter Davis, New York Times, 6 May 2024 That position puts investing in Israel on a par with investing in fossil fuels, which has become a nonstarter now for many colleges. Maureen Farrell, New York Times, 3 May 2024 That’s a nonstarter, and there’s a good chance that will continue to be a nonstarter. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 2 May 2024 To get a feel for why the Senate’s bipartisan border proposal is a nonstarter for so many House Republicans, turn to a dissenting GOP senator. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 31 Jan. 2024 But letting go of specialists is a nonstarter for many patients. Maria J Silveira, The Conversation, 1 Apr. 2024 So often, sales teams rely on product pitches that target general business issues that rarely resonate and are, frankly, nonstarters. Andrew Kahl, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 House Republicans passed a partisan bill known as H.R. 2 that includes nonstarters for Democrats like resuming border wall construction, gutting the asylum system, and restricting a president's parole authority. Sarah Lapidus, The Arizona Republic, 29 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonstarter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonstarter was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near nonstarter

Cite this Entry

“Nonstarter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on nonstarter

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!