\ˈstärt \

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 \

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


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.


knew from the start of the game that he would win easily
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Given that Jimmy Yacabonis, who has started twice this season, has been scratched from Sunday’s turn because of an undisclosed illness, manager Buck Showalter suggested Tillman might be an option for the series finale against the Texas Rangers. Katherine Fominykh,, "Orioles notes: Chris Tillman a possibility for Sunday start against Rangers," 14 July 2018 After that, the Padres’ third-year skipper will have to start rethinking his rotation. Jeff Sanders,, "Padres' Jordan Lyles 'sharp' in sim game as he nears return," 14 July 2018 Saturday night’s lineup is an example of the flexibility Maddon possesses, as Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant will bat 1-2 against the Padres and starting pitcher Luis Perdomo. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant batting 1-2 vs. Padres," 14 July 2018 Derek Dietrich, Brian Anderson and J.T. Realmuto reached base to start the inning, and after a fielder’s choice off the bat of Starlin Castro and a single from Martin Prado, Miami jumped out to a two-run lead. Mike Persak,, "Marlins shut out Phillies, 2-0, even weekend series with division leaders," 14 July 2018 By the end of the recent conference call, Tech for Campaigns had persuaded Ms. Eskamani, the Florida House candidate, to start running ads on her social media accounts. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018 The expansion is expected to start next year, said Mr. Adam, with the first prototype dish built in China already on site about 280 miles north of Cape Town in the Northern Cape province. Wendell Roelf, The Christian Science Monitor, "South Africa's MeerKAT telescope will help uncover next space frontier," 13 July 2018 Among the nations that sit on the edge of these blocs, squeezed between the West and Russia, the tensions within NATO have not prompted people to start digging trenches or calling up reserves. Simon Shuster/tallinn, Time, "Trump Shakes Up NATO, but Eastern European Allies Aren't Stirred," 13 July 2018 Surveys conducted by Celmatix indicate that most millennials want to wait until after 30 or 35 to start having kids. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "This Company Wants Your Fertility Data," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In Cuba start-ups like El Estornudo (the Sneeze) and Periodismo de Barrio (Neighbourhood News), though cautious about challenging the legitimacy of the regime, are reporting critically about the state of the country. The Economist, "Latin America’s new media are growing up," 14 July 2018 The staff of 34 is trained to follow over 150 service steps from the start to the finish of your meal. Casey Quackenbush / Hong Kong, Time, "'We're Not Educated.' The Untold Story of Lung King Heen, the World's First Michelin Three-Star Chinese Restaurant," 12 July 2018 While many women experienced unpleasant side effects and there were concerns about safety and reliability from the start, the drug proved unprecedentedly successful at regulating women’s menstrual cycles and preventing fertilization. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 The start-up costs for even a small grocery store can run anywhere from $750,000 to $1.5 million, and slim margins mean investors might not turn a profit for years. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Dare to Care opens pop-up shop to address west Louisville food desert," 12 July 2018 That's led a handful of start-ups to develop alternatives to hypodermic syringes. Mike Feibus, USA TODAY, "Afraid of needles? These start-ups are working on alternatives," 8 July 2018 Connecticut has just a handful of start-ups in the industry space, making the Seven Stars Cloud deal a bit of a coup, experts said. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Arrival of Infosys and Seven Stars Raises Hopes For Financial Tech Future Of Hartford Region," 8 July 2018 Today, Van der Lee Vineyard is a test site, with business operations located in the Temecula Valley Entrepreneur’s Exchange (TVE2), a local incubator and resource for tech business start-ups. Nicole Miller-coleman,, "As attention on Vinduino grows, so does its market," 7 July 2018 He was backed by a for-profit company called the Indie Party, which has gotten millions of dollars from start-up investors and which Jenkins founded before launching his Senate run. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "After failing to crash Texas’ Senate race, independent candidate alleges Cruz campaign derailed him," 7 July 2018

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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Learn More about start

Statistics for start

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for start

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

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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 \
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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