\ 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

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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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Richie Martin, Rio Ruiz and Stevie Wilkerson have started more games at shortstop, third base and center field, respectively, than any other Orioles. Nathan Ruiz,, "Five stats that defined the Orioles’ first half of 2019," 10 July 2019 As the post-tournament celebration culminates with Wednesday's ticker tape parade, the full influence of the championship team will slowly start to reveal itself, measured by something bigger than youth soccer participation numbers or T-shirts sold. Rick Maese And Ava Wallace,, "The US women’s soccer team’s battle for equality is transcending sport," 10 July 2019 After Disney cast a black actress to play the next Little Mermaid and #NotMyAriel started trending on Twitter, the Senegalese painter Kiné Aw thought of her muse: a dark-skinned woman — a goddess, really — with seductive eyes and a fish tail. Washington Post, "#NotMyAriel? African mermaids existed long before Disney.," 10 July 2019 The Recycling Alliance of North Alabama has started delivery of some 53,000 new curbside recycling carts across Madison County. Leada Gore |,, "53,000 new recycling carts being delivered across Madison County; How to recycle your old blue bin," 10 July 2019 The agency started closing some beaches June 22 and on Sunday closed the last two sections near the Alabama line. USA TODAY, "‘Molly of Denali,’ saloon discourse, ashes by mail: News from around our 50 states," 10 July 2019 Quickly, any questions about Coffey’s place at the next level quickly started to dissipate. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Amir Coffey proves he belongs in NBA, finds a home with Clippers," 10 July 2019 Berkeley Rhinos Rugby Club: Have started training for 2019 season. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "What’s Happening sports briefs for July 12," 10 July 2019 Those racists have started using the Betsy Ross flag. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Defending culling of geese; Culling angers Canadian; If the shoe fits…; Give that team a raise (7/10/19)," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One of them, Carmen Lares, a single mother, first lost her job this year, then lost her 3-month-old baby to malnutrition at the start of April as food ran short. New York Times, "She Was Duped and Shipped to a Brothel at 16. Then the Boat Sank.," 10 July 2019 As with most years, news broke of several free agents and where they were headed well before the official start of free agency. Scooby Axson,, "Adam Silver: Changes To Rules on Draft Trades, Free Agency Possible," 10 July 2019 Tampa Bay, however, can release him at any time before the start of this season and not owe him anything. Ryan Kolakowski,, "Bucs’ Ryan Smith suspended for four games for PED use," 10 July 2019 At the start of each month from now through October, the 1st Saturday Attic Tours at the Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden will take place., "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 10 July 2019 Soccer legend David Beckham won an agreement from Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday night that virtually assures his Major League Soccer team a new stadium in time for the start of the season. Brittany Wallman,, "David Beckham scores soccer stadium deal in Fort Lauderdale," 10 July 2019 Other terms of a Taliban-U.S. agreement could include a ceasefire and the start of peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government, former U.S. officials, foreign diplomats and regional experts have told NBC News. NBC News, "Taliban-U.S. talks inch America closer to withdrawing from Afghanistan," 10 July 2019 On Tuesday, Helen Woodward Animal Center — an animal rescue based out of Rancho Santa Fe, California — announced the start of their very own Dog Surf Lessons. Eric Todisco,, "Doggie Surf Class Is in Session! California Animal Rescue Offering Surf Lessons for Your Dog," 10 July 2019 The Phoenix area will swelter under an excessive heat warning through Friday evening, but those high temperatures are also expected to signal the start of monsoon activity in the state. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Arizona monsoon season: High heat could bring storms in Tucson, dust in the Phoenix area," 10 July 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.

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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

Statistics for start

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for start

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

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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

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).


food or victuals

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