non·​start·​er | \ ˌnän-ˈstär-tər How to pronounce nonstarter (audio) \

Definition of nonstarter

1 : one that does not start
2 : someone or something that is not productive or effective his son has been, in politics a nonstarter— Anthony Lejeune

Examples of nonstarter in a Sentence

She's the leading scorer among the team's nonstarters.
Recent Examples on the Web Kligman, who attends the public Cimarron-Memorial High School online during the pandemic, said playing on Shabbat and Yom Kippur is a nonstarter, regardless of the game’s importance. Rob Charry,, "Shabbat-observant baseball phenom has his eyes on a Major League career," 23 Apr. 2021 Many chefs love peanut oil for frying, but that’s a nonstarter for anyone with a peanut allergy. Washington Post, "How to make crispy shredded hash browns part of your breakfast rotation," 19 Mar. 2021 But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said. Michael S. Schmidt, Star Tribune, "Rep. Gaetz sought pre-emptive pardon from Trump, sources say," 6 Apr. 2021 Republicans portrayed Biden's bid to cover the cost of the package by raising the corporate income tax to 28% from 21%, a reversal from former President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cut, as a nonstarter that would kill jobs. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Infrastructure draws hint of GOP support," 5 Apr. 2021 However, their suggestion that Congress rein in the Fed is a nonstarter. WSJ, "Federal Reserve’s Mission Creep Abets Congress’s Spending," 1 Apr. 2021 Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, an organization that seeks to expand entitlements like Social Security, views Reed’s willingness to tinker with Social Security as a nonstarter in heading the OMB. Jay Heflin, Washington Examiner, "Liberals rally to forestall nomination of fiscal centrist Bruce Reed as Biden budget director," 21 Nov. 2020 But that ideal world does not exist, Foroohar added, and given existing concerns over Chinese intellectual property theft and its dubious labor practices, genuine green-tech collaboration may be a nonstarter. Washington Post, "Where the U.S. and China go from here," 22 Mar. 2021 Dan just hit on the main reason this is a nonstarter. Los Angeles Times, "Four Corners: Discussing Kobe Bryant’s likeness as part of the NBA logo," 7 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonstarter.' 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 nonstarter

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of nonstarter was in 1865

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Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nonstarter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for nonstarter



English Language Learners Definition of nonstarter

informal : someone or something that will not be effective or successful
US, sports : a player who is not chosen to play at the beginning of games : a player who is not one of the starters on a team

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