Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

start - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     start pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [singular] the beginning of a period of time
    start of:

    At the start of the final year, students do work experience.

    The revolutions of 1848 marked the start of a fascinating period in world history.

    This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

    from start to finish:

    The operation takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

    1. a.
      [singular] the beginning of a film, story, show etc

      Let’s look at the start of the story in more detail.

      Hurry up or we’ll miss the start.

  2. 2
    [singular] the way that someone begins a period of time or activity
    start to:

    There’s no better start to the day than a healthy breakfast.

    have/make a great/fine/excellent etc start:

    Hakkinen had a great start and was in second place by the first corner.

    Waddle has made an excellent start to his new career.

  3. 3
    [singular] the beginning of a journey

    After an early start, we were soon out of the city.

  4. 4
    [singular] the moment when a race begins

    The start has been brought forward by 30 minutes.

    1. a.
      [singular] the place where a race begins

      The runners were all gathered at the start.

    2. b.
      [countable] mainly journalism an occasion when a sports player takes part in a game at the beginning

      Liverpool gave Jamie Redknapp his first start of the season against Fulham.

    3. c.
      [singular] an advantage that you have in a race or competition, by beginning it in a better position than the other people

      The women runners are given a 50-metre start.

  5. 5
    [singular] a big change, or a new opportunity in your life
    a new/fresh start:

    She travelled to Hong Kong, hoping for a new start.

    give someone a start:

    The money she lent him would give him a fresh start.

  6. 6
    [singular] a sudden movement that you make because you are surprised or afraid
    give a start:

    She gave a nervous start as the door suddenly opened.

    give someone a start:

    A noise in the road gave us all a start.

    wake/sit up with a start:

    She woke with a start from her dream.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play