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

Words Related to start

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

Synonyms for start

Words Related to start

Near Antonyms for start

Antonyms for start

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

Synonyms for start

Words Related to start

Near Antonyms for start

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

Synonyms for start

Words Related to start

Phrases Synonymous with start

Near Antonyms for start

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about start

Time Traveler for start

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Start.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on start

Dictionary: Definition of start

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!