\ ˈstärt How to pronounce start (audio) \
started; starting; starts

Definition of start

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to move suddenly and violently : spring started angrily to his feet
b : to react with a sudden brief involuntary movement started when a shot rang out
2a : to issue with sudden force blood starting from the wound
b : to come into being, activity, or operation when does the movie start the rain started up again
3 : to protrude or seem to protrude eyes starting from their sockets
4 : to become loosened or forced out of place one of the planks has started
5a : to begin a course or journey started toward the door just starting out
b : to range from a specified initial point the rates start at $10
6 : to begin an activity or undertaking especially : to begin work
7 : to be a participant in a game or contest especially : to be in the starting lineup

transitive verb

1 : to cause to leave a place of concealment : flush start a rabbit
2 archaic : startle, alarm
3 : to bring up for consideration or discussion
4 : to bring into being start a rumor
5 : to cause to become loosened or displaced
6 : to begin the use of start a fresh loaf of bread
7a : to cause to move, act, or operate start the motor
b : to cause to enter a game or contest especially : to put in the starting lineup
c : to care for or train during the early stages of growth and development started plants a well-started coonhound
8 : to do or experience the first stages or actions of started studying music at the age of five
start something or less commonly start anything
: to make trouble always trying to start something don't start anything
to start with
1 : at the beginning : initially
2 : in any event



Definition of start (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a sudden involuntary bodily movement or reaction woke with a start
b : a brief and sudden action or movement
c : a sudden capricious impulse or outburst
2 : a beginning of movement, activity, or development a false start housing starts
4 : a place of beginning
5 : the act or an instance of being a competitor in a race or a member of a starting lineup in a game undefeated in six startsCurrent Biography


\ ˈstärt How to pronounce START (audio) \

Definition of START (Entry 3 of 3)

strategic arms reduction talks

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Choose the Right Synonym for start


begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate, usher in mean to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable. begin, opposed to end, is the most general. begin a trip began dancing start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages. the work started slowly commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start. commence firing commenced a conversation initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue. initiated diplomatic contacts inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance. the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate. ushered in a period of economic decline

Examples of start in a Sentence

Verb They started clearing land for the new housing development. He started studying music at the age of five. As soon as you're ready to play, we'll start. Let's start with some warm-up exercises. He deleted what he wrote and started fresh. Olympic athletes start young and train hard. I started the quilt last month. Have you started your book report? We started the meeting at 6:30. She started the meeting with a brief review of the previous meeting. Noun knew from the start of the game that he would win easily
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Saturday will start out with a low temperature of 53 degrees and climb to a high of 65 by mid-afternoon, Burns said. Henri Hollis, ajc, "SATURDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Cool temps, cloudy with possible sprinkles," 17 Apr. 2021 The price for the gold passes starts at $625 and platinum passes start at $1,325. Elizabeth Montgomery, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona's film festivals are bouncing back after being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic," 16 Apr. 2021 Leatherwood is a high-floor prospect who should start quickly. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "What signing Jadeveon Clowney might mean for the Browns’ draft plans: 2021 NFL mock draft 7.0," 16 Apr. 2021 That is expected to continue for several years before the payments eventually start shrinking. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Timing will help San Diego move on from pension nightmare," 16 Apr. 2021 The Huskies were cleared to start their series against the Hoyas and won April 9. Shawn Mcfarland,, "COVID-19 cases among UConn athletes is decreasing, but playing sports in a pandemic continues to be a challenge," 16 Apr. 2021 When the hunts start, Collins sits back and watches the show unfold in the Facebook group and in his inbox., "How a lockdown game became a monthly treasure hunt with a cult following," 16 Apr. 2021 The last transfer to arrive and start for the Tide was Landon Dickerson in 2019 from Florida State while eight others went the other direction in the transfer portal. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Saban: Good players aren’t leaving Alabama, transfer rule won’t likely change much," 16 Apr. 2021 Once service does start, passengers can expect complimentary coffee and internet, breakfast in bed, and easy bike transport options. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, "Europe's Night Trains Are About to Get a Major Upgrade — Breakfast in Bed Included," 16 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Marathon, usually held on Patriots’ Day in conjunction with an 11 a.m. start for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, was moved to Oct. 11 due to the pandemic. Ken Powtak, ajc, "New-look Red Sox top White Sox 7-4, Gonzalez HR starts rally," 18 Apr. 2021 After a dreadful start to the season, Washington has rallied to a virtual tie for the 10th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons game vs. Washington Wizards: Time, TV, more info," 17 Apr. 2021 Before the deadly start to 2021, the last mass shooting was on Feb. 5, 2020. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "FedEx mass shooting the deadliest in Indianapolis in at least 15 years," 17 Apr. 2021 Kershaw has shaken off a difficult opening day start with consecutive gems, allowing one run over 13 innings against Oakland and Washington. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Red Sox-White Sox MLB 2021 live stream (4/17): How to watch online, TV info, time," 17 Apr. 2021 One of the few bright spots is the vaccination campaign, which has finally gathered speed after a sluggish start over the past few months., "Virus deaths pass 3 million as hot spots keep emerging," 17 Apr. 2021 The region’s arts behemoth, the Kennedy Center, has announced an October start to a breathtakingly ambitious 2021-2022 season that includes 12 Broadway musicals and a perhaps overly optimistic expectation of full-capacity audiences in masks. Washington Post, "As hopes rise for a return to the stage later this year, D.C.-area theaters sing: We’re still here!," 17 Apr. 2021 Coming off the worst start of his big-league career, Davies lasted four innings and allowed four runs against the Braves. Meghan Montemurro,, "Chicago Cubs come up empty with runners in scoring position in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves, their 7th defeat in 9 games," 17 Apr. 2021 Rookie Ryan Weathers made his first career start for the Padres and held the Dodgers scoreless for 3-2/3 innings. Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers outlast Padres in 12-inning thriller: ‘It was like a playoff game’," 17 Apr. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for start


Middle English sterten; akin to Middle High German sterzen to stand up stiffly, move quickly

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Time Traveler for start

Time Traveler

The first known use of start was before the 12th century

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Statistics for start

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for start



English Language Learners Definition of start

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to do the first part of something : to begin doing something
: to begin to work on, produce, or give attention to (something)
: to cause (something) to begin : to cause (something) to begin in a specified way



English Language Learners Definition of start (Entry 2 of 2)

: the time at which something begins
: the first part of an activity, development, event, etc.
: the first opportunity to begin a career


\ ˈstärt How to pronounce start (audio) \
started; starting

Kids Definition of start

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to begin an activity I'm starting a new book.
2 : to come or bring into being or action Who started the rumor? Rain is likely to start soon.
3 : to begin to move toward a particular place or in a particular direction Let's start for home.
4 : to cause to move, act, or operate I'll try to start the motor.
5 : to give a sudden twitch or jerk (as in surprise)
6 : to stick out or seem to stick out Their eyes started from the sockets.



Kids Definition of start (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sudden twitching or jerking movement a start of surprise
2 : a beginning of movement, action, or development I got an early start.
3 : a brief act, movement, or effort They work by fits and starts.
4 : a place of beginning (as of a race)

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More from Merriam-Webster on start

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for start

Nglish: Translation of start for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of start for Arabic Speakers

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