\ 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Investors, on the other hand, are betting the central bank will start reversing course with rate cuts by mid-2023. Erin Prater, Fortune, 14 Aug. 2022 Head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that Smith has taken an early lead in the position battle and will start Saturday, though Carroll did add that both Smith and Lock would get equal reps with the starting receivers. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 14 Aug. 2022 But people could start a company and create a new product or a new piece of software that's never existed before that fills a need. Steve Baltin, Forbes, 14 Aug. 2022 That game will start at 4 p.m. Arizona time and will be televised on ESPN. George Alfano, The Arizona Republic, 13 Aug. 2022 Marlins: have not announced a starter for the second game, while LHP Braxton Garrett (2-6, 4.02) will start Sunday. Georgia News, ajc, 13 Aug. 2022 The interior boasts navigation, SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the push button start and push button transmission are positioned perfectly. Marc Grasso, Hartford Courant, 13 Aug. 2022 The belief within the industry is that an assortment of linear and cable networks will eventually start paying the tours to air their content. Michael Silverman,, 12 Aug. 2022 The first devices will start to appear at Ikea locations later this year; by the end of 2023, more than 200 ultra-fast 150kW-to-350kW chargers are expected to be available at locations in 18 states. Stephanie Mlot, PCMAG, 12 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just after the start of Tuesday’s UConn football preseason practice, head coach Jim Mora watched his receivers closely. Joe Arruda, Hartford Courant, 2 Aug. 2022 The Reds fell out of the playoff race in April after their 3-22 start to the season and the result was a selling spree at the trade deadline. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 2 Aug. 2022 After a strong start to the season, Rogers posted a 5.59 ERA in June and a 9.31 ERA in July. Bernie Wilson, Chicago Tribune, 1 Aug. 2022 Bunq BV, an online bank based in the Netherlands with 400 employees and clients across Europe, hired 18 new arrivals including Ukrainians who fled after the start of the war and Russians who left their country to protest the invasion. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2022 Russell was fired after a 17-41 start, finishing his coaching career with a 341-290 record. Ira Kaufman, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 July 2022 The Heat, in fact, last month lost Tucker even before the Knicks’ agreement with Brunson became clear minutes after the 6 p.m. June 30 start of free agency. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 30 July 2022 Upwards of 75 were seen gathered after the start of the game. Isabella Murray, ABC News, 28 July 2022 Mets ace Jacob deGrom pitched four innings Wednesday for Triple-A Syracuse, finishing strong after a shaky start in what could be his last minor league rehab outing before rejoining New York's rotation. Mike Fitzpatrick, ajc, 27 July 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About start

Time Traveler for start

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near start



start a family

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for start

Last Updated

16 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for start


\ 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on start

Nglish: Translation of start for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of start for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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