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

Uber and Lyft have made clear in their conversations with labor leaders that full employment status is a nonstarter, according to an industry official. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "Debate Over Uber and Lyft Drivers’ Rights in California Has Split Labor," 29 June 2019 Returning to his family in rural Burundi is plainly a nonstarter. Scott Helman,, "This boy came to Boston for healing. You won’t believe his life now," 19 June 2019 While some would have seen that as a nonstarter, the architect took it as a challenge, eschewing the conventional to create a design that optimized the use of space with vertical interlocking shapes that evoke music; not a sea shanty, but an aria. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Look inside a Palo Alto home that imagines the sea and music," 4 June 2019 President Donald Trump has long demanded $5 billion for the construction of a wall (or other barrier) along the US-Mexico border, a proposal that is a nonstarter with Democrats, who Trump needs in order to pass a bill in the Senate. Li Zhou, Vox, "Wednesday is day 5 of a partial government shutdown. It could go on for a while.," 26 Dec. 2018 Didn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out that would be a nonstarter with a Democratic Congress. Neil Swidey,, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 Indeed, a House GOP source said Trump was asking for wall money to be included in any standalone legislation keeping families together — a nonstarter for many lawmakers. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Why the GOP Might Face More Humiliation on Immigration," 2 July 2018 For me, watching a movie, television show or any other media on a small-screen smartphone is unacceptable, and having to download the airline’s app makes this a nonstarter., "Letters: Here's an easy way to make a San Diego bike trip even easier," 1 July 2018 That’s a nonstarter for a player who was a healthy inactive in four of the final seven games last year and has had multiple injury problems. Jeff Zrebiec,, "Ravens news, notes and opinions on Breshad Perriman, draft talk and the ones who got away," 3 May 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

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The first known use of nonstarter was in 1865

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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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