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 And now, in another twist in a story that has no right to still be going on, Fekir himself has come out with a vague, cryptic response to these claims that puts us right back at square one. SI.com, "Nabil Fekir Responds to Sugegstions His Entourage Caused Liverpool Move to Fall Through," 3 Nov. 2019 The compromise pick would be to call it a sandbox, but that just takes us back to square one. Gene Park, Washington Post, "The most influential games of the decade," 19 Dec. 2019 But that would mean putting the deal before Parliament, where it could be amended in ways that Mr. Johnson or the European Union might find unacceptable, bringing things back to square one. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Boris Johnson Calls for December Election in Push to Break Brexit Deadlock," 24 Oct. 2019 The development brings the investigation back to square one, as officials and victims' relatives on both sides of the border called for a speedy arrest in the case. NBC News, "Man arrested in Mexico highway ambush is no longer a suspect, authorities say," 7 Nov. 2019 The investigation appeared back at square one after authorities said a man arrested Tuesday with a cache of weapons was not involved in the attack. Daniella Silva, NBC News, "Mexico highway ambush shows fragility of government, experts say," 9 Nov. 2019 The unbeaten Niners are next, and then Cleveland gets the Seahawks and Patriots in back-to-back weeks, and so everything could be back to square one in a hurry. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Forget the Hype—the Browns Are Beginning to Believe in Themselves," 30 Sep. 2019 Failure to find a developer appears to put the state back to square one in the long-running debate over the future of the controversial property. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "State ends search for developer for Seaside State Park," 3 July 2019 The primary concern of the Utah alcohol agency, Wood said, is that the attorney general’s office will change its opinion and deem the drawing a lottery — leaving liquor authorities back at square one. David Montero, latimes.com, "You can enter a drawing to buy rare liquor in Utah. Just don’t call it a lottery," 24 June 2019

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

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Square one.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/square%20one. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for square one

square one


English Language Learners Definition of square one

: the beginning stage or starting point

Comments on square one

What made you want to look up square one? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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