\ 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 The agreement promises to start production of Fisker vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2023. James Morris, Forbes, "Will Fisker Be The True IPhone Of Electric Vehicles?," 27 Feb. 2021 Farmer applicants should be able to start work in April and are expected to have at least five years’ farm work experience, an understanding of New England farming techniques and the ability to create a farm from scratch. Susan Dunne,, "Millwright’s restaurant in Simsbury is set to open its own farm and is looking to hire a farmer," 27 Feb. 2021 The company is slated to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange in a few months. Eliot Brown, WSJ, "SPAC Frenzy Emboldens Silicon Valley Startups to Forgo Venture Funding," 26 Feb. 2021 Young, the backup to Mac Jones as a freshman last season, is the frontrunner to start in 2021 as a sophomore. Mike Rodak |, al, "Five-star quarterback Ty Simpson commits to Alabama over Clemson," 26 Feb. 2021 Kylor Kelley continued to start this past week in the bubble, but his production tailed off a bit, scoring eight points and grabbing seven rebounds in four games. oregonlive, "Louis King turns heads, Jordan Bell injures leg: Locals in the NBA and G League," 26 Feb. 2021 Metal Lords, directed by Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist filmmaker Peter Sollett and written by Weiss, centers on two kids who want to start a heavy metal band in a high school where exactly two kids care about heavy metal. Nick Romano,, "Game of Thrones creators' first Netflix film sets its cast of young rockers," 25 Feb. 2021 Another very nice day is expected on Friday here in the Twin Cities, as morning temperatures start off in the mid-20s, climbing to around 40F for a high. Star Tribune, "Windy and warm Friday expected," 25 Feb. 2021 But when wrestling was set to start in January, the team kept being stonewalled by administration and morale sunk. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "For Stanford's century-old wrestling program, no foe is tougher than its own university," 25 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun So much for Fulmer's start Monday against the New York Yankees in Tampa. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "What Detroit Tigers' Michael Fulmer leaving camp means for his spring training schedule," 28 Feb. 2021 Schroder and his expiring contract to the Pelicans for Bledsoe gives both teams a fresh start both on the court and in the accounting offices. Christopher Dodson, Forbes, "New Orleans Pelicans Could Possibly Trade Every Guard They Did Not Draft In The Next Three Weeks," 28 Feb. 2021 Cox said before the race Essential Quality likely will make one more start before the Kentucky Derby in either the Blue Grass on April 3 at Keeneland or Arkansas Derby on April 10 at Oaklawn. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Essential Quality wins Southwest, takes another step toward Kentucky Derby for Cox," 28 Feb. 2021 For the Galaxy, the new year offers the chance at a fresh start after the worst four-year stretch in club history. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "MLS is back, with a new team in the mix," 28 Feb. 2021 However, the official hurricane season start dates may be permanently changing. Allison Chinchar, CNN, "Characters from the movie 'Frozen' could serve as hurricane names this season," 28 Feb. 2021 Thomas Shrader earned some crucial playing time as a freshman last season, including a start against NC State. Matt Murschel,, "FSU football: 2021 spring roster breakdown," 28 Feb. 2021 After a wet start to Saturday, the afternoon ended up featuring much brighter skies and drier conditions. Washington Post, "PM Update: Rain redevelops overnight and persists through Sunday," 27 Feb. 2021 Jane Hill: There was a sense in the U.K. that this was almost a fresh start. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Will the discovery of a credible suspect lead to answers in the Madeleine McCann case?," 27 Feb. 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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 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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