start - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlestarting
past tensestarted
past participlestarted
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to begin to happen or take place

    Work has started on a new terminal at Heathrow Airport.

    The World Championships start in two weeks’ time.

    The show has just started.

    What time does school start in the morning?

    start as:

    The riot started as a dispute between neighbours.

    1. a.
      used about a change, movement, process etc
      start doing/to do something:

      The leaves have started falling off the trees.

      The traffic had started to move more freely now.

      It’s starting to rain.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] used for saying that someone begins to do something

    Please start when you are ready.

    Have you started the washing-up yet?

    start by:

    Let’s start by defining our terms.

    start with:

    The class starts with some gentle stretching exercises.

    start doing something:

    Everyone in the class started laughing.

    start to do something:

    I started to unpack my suitcase.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to begin a new job, career, or period of education

      When do they want you to start?

      Things were very different when I started in politics.

      I started as an office boy and worked my way to the top.

      start work:

      I start work on Monday.

      start school/college:

      Children start school at age five.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to begin a period of time in a particular way
      start the day/week/year etc:

      I usually start the day with a cup of coffee.

    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] to be involved in something at the beginning

      Of the 36 horses that started the race, only four finished.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to begin a journey

    We started early enough but got caught in the London traffic.

    It was time to start the long walk back home.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] to move in a particular direction

      The footsteps came again, and then started up the stairs.

      start for:

      Guy started for the door.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] used for talking about the nearest end or edge of something

    The new houses start immediately beyond the bridge.

    1. a.
      used for talking about the lowest price or number
      start from/at:

      Prices for cushion covers start from £18.

      The house numbers start at 20.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to cause something, or to be the first person to do something

    Have you any idea who might have started the fire?

    The police insist that they didn’t start the confrontation.

    Who wants to start the discussion?

    ‘Don’t talk to me like that!’ ‘You started it!’

    1. a.
      to cause someone to do something
      start someone doing something:

      What she said started me thinking.

    2. b.
      to bring a business, organization, or project into existence

      He decided to quit his job and start his own business.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to switch on a machine or engine, especially a motor vehicle

    Scott started the engine and drove off.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] to begin to work

      No matter how many times he tried, the car wouldn’t start.

  7. 7
    [intransitive] informal to begin to complain or be angry about something

    It only takes the slightest thing to make her start.

    Don’t start!

     Synonyms and related words
  8. 8
    [intransitive] to move suddenly because you are afraid or surprised by something

    The noise made him start.

See also