(1)   The act of starting something
"He was responsible for the beginning of negotiations"
(2)   A turn to be a starter (in a game at the beginning)
"He got his start because one of the regular pitchers was in the hospital"
"His starting meant that the coach thought he was one of their best linemen"
(3)   A sudden involuntary movement
"He awoke with a start"
(4)   Advantage gained by an beginning early (as in a race)
"With an hour's start he will be hard to catch"
(5)   A signal to begin (as in a race)
"The starting signal was a green light"
"The runners awaited the start"
(6)   The beginning of anything
"It was off to a good start"
(7)   A line indicating the location of the start of a race or a game
(8)   The time at which something is supposed to begin
"They got an early start"
"She knew from the get-go that he was the man for her"


(9)   Take the first step or steps in carrying out an action
"We began working at dawn"
"Who will start?"
"Get working as soon as the sun rises!"
"The first tourists began to arrive in Cambodia"
"He began early in the day"
"Let's get down to work now"
(10)   Set in motion, cause to start
"The U.S. started a war in the Middle East"
"The Iraqis began hostilities"
"Begin a new chapter in your life"
(11)   Play in the starting lineup
(12)   Bring into being
"He initiated a new program"
"Start a foundation"
(13)   Get off the ground
"Who started this company?"
"We embarked on an exciting enterprise"
"I start my day with a good breakfast"
"We began the new semester"
"The afternoon session begins at 4 PM"
"The blood shed started when the partisans launched a surprise attack"
(14)   Get going or set in motion
"We simply could not start the engine"
"Start up the computer"
(15)   Begin or set in motion
"I start at eight in the morning"
"Ready, set, go!"
(16)   Move or jump suddenly, as if in surprise or alarm
"She startled when I walked into the room"
(17)   Leave
"The family took off for Florida"
(18)   Bulge outward
"His eyes popped"
(19)   Begin work or acting in a certain capacity, office or job
"Take up a position"
"Start a new job"
(20)   Begin an event that is implied and limited by the nature or inherent function of the direct object
"Begin a cigar"
"She started the soup while it was still hot"
"We started physics in 10th grade"
(21)   Have a beginning, in a temporal, spatial, or evaluative sense
"The DMZ begins right over the hill"
"The second movement begins after the Allegro"
"Prices for these homes start at $250,000"
(22)   Have a beginning characterized in some specified way
"The novel begins with a murder"
"My property begins with the three maple trees"
"Her day begins with a workout"
"The semester begins with a convocation ceremony"


  1. The beginning of an activity.
    The movie was entertaining from start to finish.
  2. A sudden involuntary movement.
    He woke with a start.
  3. The beginning point of a race.
  4. An appearance in a sports game from the beginning of the match.
    Jones has been a substitute before, but made his first start for the team last Sunday.


  1. To set in motion.
  2. To begin.
  3. To initiate a vehicle or machine.
  4. To begin an activity.
    The rain started at 9:00.
  5. To jerk suddenly in surprise.
  6. To awaken suddenly.
    I started from my sleep with horror . . . --Mary Shelley

Usage notes

  • In uses 1, and 2 this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive or the gerund (-ing) form. There is no change in meaning.
  • For more information, see Appendix:English catenative verbs

See also

  • at the start
  • false start
  • for a start
  • get started
  • jump-start

  • start off
  • start on
  • start out
  • start up