square one


Definition of square one

: the initial stage or starting point the failure set us back to square one

Examples of square one in a Sentence

They lost everything and found themselves back at square one.
Recent Examples on the Web The wedding had to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, and the delay has put the issue back to square one. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Upcoming wedding features extended family drama," 8 Feb. 2021 The wedding had to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, and the delay has put the issue back to square one. cleveland, "Dear Annie: Wedding invite snub leads to family drama," 7 Feb. 2021 The complicated legislation, which includes some 2,200 provisions that have been painstakingly negotiated over months, would essentially have to start the process over again from square one. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Congress calls Trump’s bluff on veto threat for defense policy bill," 3 Dec. 2020 This loss probably won’t send the Mustangs back to square one. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "SMU’s conference title hopes go up in smoke after losing to 3-win East Carolina," 28 Nov. 2020 In order to do so, the U.S. may need to start from square one in trade negotiations with China. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Trump’s final campaign push touts his China trade policy—but his signature deal isn’t delivering what it promised," 28 Oct. 2020 That means the appointment procedure goes back to square one, according to Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak). Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Board of Fisheries faces backlog of issues after pandemic delays," 27 Oct. 2020 Back to square one For Eleanore Fernandez, of Milpitas, California, spring was tough and the fall has felt like a reprise after some summer relief. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "'I will be put out of my house': Some Americans who struggled early in crisis are on brink, others find jobs," 27 Oct. 2020 In that case, a new attorney general would have to familiarize himself or herself with the case, but the process likely wouldn’t be sent back to square one, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Ko. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Attorney general is weighing federal death penalty in Poway synagogue shooting," 23 Oct. 2020

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

1960, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for square one

from the use of numbered squares in some board games

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Time Traveler for square one

Time Traveler

The first known use of square one was in 1960

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Statistics for square one

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Square one.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/square%20one. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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square one


English Language Learners Definition of square one

: the beginning stage or starting point

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