\ ˈstärt How to pronounce start (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The generation of Earth’s magnetic field starts at its very center. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, "Earth’s Magnetic Field Could Take Longer to Flip Than Previously Thought," 8 Aug. 2019 Alonso is the joint-third most expensive defender this year at £6.5m behind Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but his starting place in Lampard’s side is not guaranteed., "Premier League Fantasy Football: 10 Players You Should Absolutely Avoid Like the Plague," 7 Aug. 2019 The business part started with planting the first grapes at the Stonewall property in 1992. Mike Sutter,, "Bunny Becker, Becker Vineyards co-founder, died Monday," 7 Aug. 2019 His approved four-year contract comes with an annual starting salary of $260,000. Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot, "Huntington Beach hires Oliver Chi as new city manager," 6 Aug. 2019 After a significant decline at the plate, Panik lost his starting job at second base last week. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "San Francisco Giants cut struggling second baseman Joe Panik," 6 Aug. 2019 Every member of Oakland’s starting lineup reached base and scored Tuesday, and Chapman and Piscotty each scored twice. Susan Slusser,, "Brett Anderson leads A’s win over Cubs with arm....and bat?," 6 Aug. 2019 The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Please note that no pets are allowed, and open containers, outside alcohol and open flames aren’t either. Sharina Taveras Lopez,, "South Carroll: South Carroll Lioness-Lions Club hosting cash bingo; Taste of Linganore Festival coming up," 6 Aug. 2019 In 1941, Musso was the oldest player on the team at 31 and lost his starting spot at right guard to Ray Bray. Will Larkin,, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 32, George Musso," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

BioWatch has been plagued from the start by false alarms, however, and government scientists say it cannot be relied on to detect actual biological attacks. David Willman, Los Angeles Times, "Lawmakers seek probe of controversial bioweapons defense system," 8 Aug. 2019 The incoming class should slot into several of these voids from the start. Emily Caron,, "Class Evaluation: Hopkins's Recruiting Efforts Pay Off for Washington in 2019," 8 Aug. 2019 But Sampaio’s own career has been groundbreaking from the start. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "For Valentina Sampaio, Victoria’s Secret Is Only the Beginning," 8 Aug. 2019 Deer Park brushed off the sour defeat by leading from start to finish in Game 4. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Lady Deer open volleyball season with thrilling 3-2 win over Clear Falls," 8 Aug. 2019 Combs, now retired, said Biehl was a leader from the start. Sharon Coolidge,, "Meet Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl. He's the Elder grad and former Cincinnati Police Department official now in the national spotlight.," 6 Aug. 2019 The Mercury only had eight healthy players for the game but dominated from the start and scored 60 points in the first half for the fifth time in team history. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Arizona sports weekend: Phoenix Rising FC leads impressive wins among Diamondbacks, Mercury," 5 Aug. 2019 Its music video features photographs and videos from the start of Aldean's almost 15-year career, along with footage of his hometown of Macon, Georgia. Ellise Shafer, Billboard, "Here Are the Lyrics to Jason Aldean's 'Rearview Town'," 5 Aug. 2019 The housing recovery that began in 2012 has been unequal from the start. Prashant Gopal,, "America’s housing affordability crisis spreads to heartland," 5 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about start

Statistics for start

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for start

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on start

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with start

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for start

Spanish Central: Translation of start

Nglish: Translation of start for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of start for Arabic Speakers

Comments on start

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


of or relating to the heavens

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!