\ 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 Unrelated to the pandemic, San Diego County fell under a permanent statewide rent cap to start 2020, which is around 9.1 percent. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego rent prices are up 5%. Will it last?," 10 May 2021 The plan is for the telescope to start recording in 2023. NBC News, "String of satellites baffles residents, bugs astronomers," 10 May 2021 On Friday, the European Union called on the United States to start boosting its vaccine exports to help contain the global crisis. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "FDA could approve COVID vaccines for children this week; Montana to share shots with Canadian truck drivers: Live COVID-19 updates," 10 May 2021 His company left it up to him to decide whether to start coming into the Manhattan office. Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, "Should You Go Back to the Office?," 10 May 2021 And learning how to start is something that never stops. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "DK Metcalf missed Olympics; 1 trainer thinks Calvin Johnson would have been 'competitive with Usain Bolt'," 10 May 2021 Gonzalez’s interest in comfort food, burgers, in particular, led him to start the Burger Beast blog back in 2008. Amy Drew Thompson,, "White Castle inspires cult-level love... and copycats," 10 May 2021 The Indians have responded with four straight wins, outscoring their opponents 27-0 to start 4-0 in South Suburban Conference play heading into a key week that includes games with Reavis, T.F. United and Tinley Park. Steve Millar,, "Girls soccer notes: After being sidelined for two seasons, ‘ecstatic’ Lewis recruit Isabel Guzman back to scoring goals again for Reavis," 10 May 2021 In a neighborhood chock-full of celebrities and famous estates, the undeveloped plot represents the chance to immediately start building a custom home with plenty of space to spread out. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Tobey Maguire gets $10.7 million for a patch of dirt in Brentwood," 10 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Newton school officials spent years developing a plan for later start times, and their implementation was delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year., "Newton School Committee approves later start times for high schools," 11 May 2021 The Rising earlier this month picked up goalkeeper Ben Lundt on loan from MSL's FC Cincinnati, who got the start against Oakland. Edwin Perez, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Rising FC will allow full capacity at new stadium starting June 5," 11 May 2021 Woodruff is 0 for 12 going into Wednesday's start against the Cardinals, but is a .213 career hitter with a regular-season homer to his credit and has been called on to pinch-hit in previous seasons. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Brewers receive a boost with Corbin Burnes returning to rotation. Here's when he'll be back.," 11 May 2021 But a bigger factor is the looming prospect of a strike or lockout that could impact the start of the 2022 campaign. Dan Schlossberg, Forbes, "Slew Of Star Shortstops To Crowd Baseball Free Agent Mart This Fall," 11 May 2021 Mata'afa, the fourth-year pro, had 2.5 sacks in 13 games, making his first NFL start in the season finale against Detroit. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "These five Vikings roster battles appear likely after the NFL Draft," 11 May 2021 The ceremonial start of debate at the mother of parliaments was still surrounded by pomp, though the event was pared down, in keeping with ongoing restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Washington Post, "Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t wear a mask or crown as she opens U.K. parliament and outlines Boris Johnson’s agenda," 11 May 2021 The current round of violence in Jerusalem coincided with the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in mid-April. Time, "24 People Killed, Including 9 Children, in Gaza as Israel Strikes Hamas Following Rocket Attacks," 11 May 2021 Hinch expects Ramos, 33, to return Monday for the start of a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners on the road. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers scratch Jeimer Candelario from lineup; Buck Farmer sent to Triple-A," 11 May 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

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 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)

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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