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

After a week's worth of unrest over proposal for permanent supporting housing for the homeless along Greenville Avenue near Forest Lane, Dallas City Hall is back to square one. Dallas News, "More secret tape fallout in Texas House, Beto O'Rourke's reboot, Dallas mayor creates crime task force," 20 Aug. 2019 Making noise [in the playoffs] is going to have to start with us at square one, being better and young men, period. Daily Pilot, "High School Football Preview: Los Amigos to dedicate season to late coach Harold McDowell," 9 Aug. 2019 The environment can also be negatively impacted If industrial processes, like small scale manufacturing, get interrupted when the power fails, forcing businesses to go back to square one to remake the item when the lights come back on, Pope says. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Did the New York City blackout mean less strain on the climate?," 16 July 2019 State employees charged with Flint, Michigan water crimes have been allowed to return to work after prosecutors dropped the charges against the employees with a plan to rebuild the investigation from square one, The Detroit News reported. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "Flint Water Crisis Defendants Invited Back To Work," 21 June 2019 That deal sits at square one, the same tough starting point other presidents faced. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "This Is the Art of the Deal?," 18 July 2018 But as Vox’s Tara Golshan explains, the resolution was thrown back to square one after House Democrats helped Republicans stall any action on Yemen until at least the new Congress comes into session. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Saudi Arabia is reportedly outsourcing its war in Yemen to child soldiers," 30 Dec. 2018 But just one day before the Senate passed it, House Republicans and a handful of House Democrats came along and put the Senate resolution back to square one. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The bizarre story of Democrats helping Republicans stall action on Yemen," 15 Dec. 2018 Mapping out city streets is essentially square one for testing self-driving cars — that’s a tough spot to be in as a company with serious ambitions for developing autonomous technology, especially in the face of tough competition. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "Months after a self-driving crash, Uber is being slower and more deliberate as it gets back on public roads to test its technology," 24 July 2018

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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Statistics for square one

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for square one

The first known use of square one was in 1960

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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).


concealment of treason or felony

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