American English

Definition of start noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, usually singular] the point at which something begins a perfect start to the day Things didn't look too hopeful at the start of the year. If we don't hurry, we'll miss the start of the game. The meeting got off to a good/bad start (= started well/badly). The trip was a disaster from start to finish. We've had problems (right) from the start. (informal) This could be the start of something big.
  2. 2[singular] the act or process of beginning something I want to get an early start in the morning. I'll paint the ceiling if you make a start on the walls. She's moving abroad to make a fresh start (= to begin a new life). see also false start, kick-start
  3. opportunity
  4. 3[countable, usually singular] the opportunity that you are given to begin something in a successful way They worked hard to give their children a good start in life. The job gave him his start in journalism.
  5. in race
  6. 4the start [singular] the place where a race begins The runners lined up at the start.
  7. 5[countable, usually singular] an amount of time or distance that someone has as an advantage over other people at the beginning of a race She went into the second round with a five-minute start on the rest of the cyclists. I gave the younger children a start. see also head start
  8. 6[countable, usually plural] (sport) a race or competition that someone has taken part in She's been beaten only once in six starts.
  9. sudden movement
  10. 7[countable, usually singular] an act of moving your body quickly and suddenly because you are surprised, afraid, etc. She woke from the dream with a start. You gave me quite a start!
  11. Idioms
    by/in fits and starts
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    frequently starting and stopping again; not continuously Because of other commitments I can only write my book in fits and starts.
    for a start (informal)
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    used to emphasize the first of a list of reasons, opinions, etc. I'm not working there—for a start, it's too far to travel.
    get off to a flying start
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    to make a very good start; to begin something well She's off to a flying start in her new career.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: start