non·​start·​er | \ ˌnän-ˈstär-tər \

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

For a girl far too concerned about the appearance of things, the headband was a nonstarter. Liz Mcdaniel, Vogue, "I Love My Husband— I Didn’t Always Love His Headband," 4 Feb. 2019 This would probably be a nonstarter for both Washington and Seoul, regardless of whether Pyongyang were truly prepared to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange. Patricia Kim, Washington Post, "The 3 big obstacles to success if Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un meet," 11 Mar. 2018 An actual wall along some or all of the 2,000 miles of border is a nonstarter for congressional Democrats, and a number of Republicans, too. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "3 reasons a deal to protect 'dreamers' might not happen," 9 Jan. 2018 An official with the Canadian Consumers’ Association testified the proposal was a nonstarter for the group. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, "Canada Data Agency Faces Blowback Over Plan to Collect Bank Records," 8 Nov. 2018 But Trump’s proposed reforms have all substantially cut the number of legal immigrants who would be allowed into the country — a reform that is a nonstarter for Democrats and that traditional Republicans are also uncomfortable with. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "The Senate is desperate to avoid another government shutdown — but Trump isn’t," 24 Aug. 2018 Villanova’s hero on Monday was reserve guard Donte DiVincenzo, who poured in 31 points, the most ever by a nonstarter in an NCAA title game. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Early college basketball forecast for 2018-19: Is the sport on the bubble? | The Kansas City Star," 3 Apr. 2018 The administration’s opening bid, which would have produced a substantial reduction in legal immigration, is a nonstarter, but a similar proposal that maintained or increased legal immigration levels could be a sound step toward eventual agreement. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Americans Want an Immigration Deal," 10 July 2018 Now the Smith sits serenely and uncaromed on the lawn, where skateboarding is a nonstarter. Susan Dunne,, "The Sculptures Outside The Wadsworth, Explained," 9 July 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

10 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for nonstarter

The first known use of nonstarter was in 1865

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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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a servile follower or underling

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