\ 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 Educators could start getting vaccines within the coming weeks. Jill Tucker,, "Moving California teachers to the front of the vaccine line might not be enough to reopen schools," 7 Jan. 2021 As fans already know, season 5 of Riverdale will start off with two episodes that were meant for the show's fourth season until it was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, ""Riverdale" Season 5 to Include a "Katy Keene" Crossover," 6 Jan. 2021 When that has been accomplished, the state will start vaccinating people over age 75 and front-line workers such as police officers, prison guards, grocery store workers, teachers and postal employees. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Hank Aaron, skeptic’s mea culpa, vaccine campouts: News from around our 50 states," 6 Jan. 2021 The steady persistence needed to get ahead might start to seem boring and insufficiently challenging. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Jan. 6, 2021: Happy birthday Norman Reedus; Scorpio, inspiration may spark new project," 6 Jan. 2021 In fact, according to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), pets accidentally start hundreds of home fires every year. Laura Lajiness, House Beautiful, "6 Ways to Keep Pets Safe At Home This Winter," 6 Jan. 2021 Here is an apple cider pheasant jerky recipe of mine that’s a good place to start. Jack Hennessy, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate DIY Guide to Making Wild Game Jerky and Snack Sticks," 4 Jan. 2021 Fortunately, our favorites are a good place to start. Lindsay Colameo, Allure, "The Best Dry Shampoos Under $20 for When You Just Can't Be Bothered," 30 Dec. 2020 After a year when your relationship may have felt unprecedented external strains, laying the foundation to take advantage of any positives is good place to start. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., The Conversation, "7 research-based resolutions that will help strengthen your relationship in the year ahead," 28 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Oxford coach Justin Richards, the state coaches rep to the committee, pushed strongly for the possibility of retaining at least sectional tournaments for one last season before the start of statewide tournaments in 2021-22. Jim Clark,, "MIAA Baseball Committee hears pitches for spring tournament play," 6 Jan. 2021 The reopening comes just eight days before the start of the 2021 legislative session. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Country venue blues, ice shanty dining, turkey sightings: News from around our 50 states," 5 Jan. 2021 Azalina Eusope, the owner of Mahila, a Malaysian restaurant in San Francisco's Noe Valley, said she was mugged outside of her restaurant just before the start of the pandemic in February. Justin Phillips,, "S.F. restaurant owners say rise in property crime is making dire situation worse," 2 Jan. 2021 Public health officials continued to plead with residents just hours before the start of 2021 not to gather for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Time, "California's Hospitals Are at the 'Brink of Catastrophe' as the State Passes 25,000 Dead," 1 Jan. 2021 The team ruled Morsell out for the remainder of the game shortly before the start of the second half. Daniel Oyefusi,, "Darryl Morsell suffers face injury in Maryland men’s basketball’s 84-73 loss to No. 16 Michigan," 31 Dec. 2020 Temple missed the preseason after testing positive for the virus before the start of training camp. Jamal Collier,, "Short-handed Chicago Bulls hold off the Wizards 133-130 for a 2-game sweep in Washington," 31 Dec. 2020 All participants at the Jingle Bell Jog wore masks before the start of the race and had their temperatures taken. Emmett Hall,, "Jingle Bell Jog pulls off 37th annual run despite COVID-19," 30 Dec. 2020 Preclinical research: Studies that take place before the start of a clinical trial, typically involving experiments where a treatment is tested on cells or in animals. New York Times, "U.S. Officials Say Covid-19 Vaccination Effort Has Lagged," 30 Dec. 2020

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

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 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for start


How to pronounce START (audio)

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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Comments on start

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