\ 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

Travel does affect her skin, but a consistent routine, starting with a gentle seaweed cleansing soap, has helped keep it calm. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Shanina Shaik’s Guide to a Summer Skin Glow-Up," 12 June 2019 The San Jose man has a Prius and his plate starts with 5TEZ. Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "California gas tax to jump nearly 6 cents a gallon on July 1: Roadshow," 12 June 2019 While Rivue might have been known as an exclusive brunch spot and formal event venue, the new restaurant will have an approachable, come one, come all vibe — starting with a large bar in the center, to keep up with Louisville’s boozy scene. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Galt House to replace iconic revolving RIVUE restaurant at top of hotel with new concept," 11 June 2019 Today Samsung announced that its midrange smartphone lineup will be coming to the US this summer, starting with the $349.99 Samsung Galaxy A50. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Samsung is bringing the $350 Galaxy A50 to the US," 11 June 2019 But 1999 was different, starting with his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which set the stage for his victories at the U.S. Open and on the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team. Sam Farmer,, "20 years after fatal plane crash, Payne Stewart still evokes classic golf memories," 11 June 2019 There never seemed to be enough time or energy to plant flowers in the front yard or get started with the back-of-the-garage vegetable garden. Jerry Shnay, Daily Southtown, "Shnay: Bad spring ends on high note," 10 June 2019 Episode 4: A City’s Darkest Days was released on Monday, July 2, and revisits a tragic week in Orlando that started with Grimmie’s murder and included the Pulse nightclub massacre and a bizarre death of a child at Walt Disney World. Richard Tribou,, "Christina Grimmie shooting death in Orlando happened three years ago," 10 June 2019 Wolfe has been busy testing more than 80 recipes for launch, with the aim of starting with eight full-time beers, and room on the 20-tap menu for a steady stream of rotating smaller batches. Maggie Gordon, Houston Chronicle, "Another new brewery on tap to open in Near Northside," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In four starts during his first major league call-up, Stubbs is 4-for-17, has caught one would-be base stealer and allowed four wild pitches. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros mailbag: When will Jose Altuve return to action?," 13 June 2019 Brown Dog Farm has more tulips and anemones at the market this week, while Rob Wells at Hatcher Pass Dahlias has dahlia starts at clearance prices, along with tumbler tomato baskets, nasturtium baskets and zucchini starts. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Give rhubarb, get Wild Scoops ice cream. Also, where to get the season’s first strawberries.," 13 June 2019 The last two starts rank among Hamels’ most impressive efforts since joining the Cubs on July 27. Mark Gonzales,, "5 takeaways from the Cubs-Rockies series, including a potential 'spicy' rematch in October and Javier Baez's heroics," 13 June 2019 Snelten is 2-0 with a 3.95 in five starts through Wednesday. Lamond Pope, Lake County News-Sun, "A rooting interest: Lakes graduate D.J. Snelten relishes role as starting pitcher for the Chicago Dogs," 13 June 2019 Irsay's start as an NFL owner can be traced back 48 years. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Jim Irsay turns 60: NFL's youngest team owner at 37 isn't that young anymore," 13 June 2019 Amazon declined to comment on the start date for Prime Day 2019. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Amazon Prime Day 2019: When Is It? What Are the Best Deals?," 12 June 2019 If approved, the ordinance would take effect March 1 — a delay from the original proposed start date of Oct. 1., "Portland poised to make it easier for people with bad credit, criminal histories to find a place to rent," 12 June 2019 This two-to-five-day jump-start phase is a strict eating schedule involving an 8-hour eating window followed by a 16-hour fast. Samantha Cassetty, NBC News, "Is the Dubrow Diet healthy? A dietitian weighs in," 12 June 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

15 Jun 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

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