Synonyms & Antonyms of start

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

Synonyms for start

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4 to come into existence
  • the fight started when one child tripped the other

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Antonyms for start

5 to extend outward beyond a usual point
  • frightened horses with starting eyes

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6 to take the first step in (a process or course of action)
  • we'll be ready to start the concert in a moment

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Antonyms for start



Synonyms & Antonyms of start (Entry 2 of 2)

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About start

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

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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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Cite this Entry

“Start.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on start

Nglish: Translation of start for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of start for Arabic Speakers


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