start 1 of 2

as in to jump
to move suddenly and sharply (as in surprise) I started from my chair when I heard the sudden scream

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How is the word start different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of start are begin, commence, inaugurate, initiate, and usher in. While all these words mean "to take the first step in a course, process, or operation," start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages.

the work started slowly

How is begin related to other words for start?

Begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable, with begin, opposed to end, being the most general.

begin a trip
began dancing

How does the word commence relate to other synonyms for start?

Commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start.

commence firing
commenced a conversation

When could inaugurate be used to replace start?

The meanings of inaugurate and start largely overlap; however, inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance.

the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine

In what contexts can initiate take the place of start?

Although the words initiate and start have much in common, initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue.

initiated diplomatic contacts

How are the words usher in and inaugurate related as synonyms of start?

Usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate.

ushered in a period of economic decline

Thesaurus Entries Near start

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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