Definition of “start” - English Dictionary

“start” in English

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uk /stɑːt/ us /stɑːrt/

start verb (BEGIN)

A1 [ I or T ] to begin doing something:

When do you start your course/your new job?
We'll be starting (the session) at six o'clock.
Can you start (= begin a new job) on Monday?
[ + -ing verb ] They started building the house in January.
[ + to infinitive ] I'd just started to write a letter when the phone rang.

B2 [ I or T ] also start up If a business or other organization starts, or if someone starts one, it is created and starts to operate:

She started her own software company.
A lot of new restaurants have started up in the region.

B1 [ I or T ] to begin to happen or to make something begin to happen:

A new series about wildlife has started on Monday nights.
Police believe the fire was started by arsonists.

A1 [ I or T ] to begin a set of activities with the thing or person mentioned:

The speaker started with a description of her journey to China.
Give me your answers one by one, starting with Lucy.
You could start by weeding the flowerbeds.
He started his working life as an engineer but later became a teacher.

[ I ] informal to begin to complain or be annoying in some way:

Don't start with me - we're not going and that's that!
informal "It would help if Richard did some work." "Oh, don't get me started on Richard!"
get started

to begin:

When can we get started?
start a family

to have your first child

start something

to begin an argument or a fight:

You could tell the guy wanted to start something, so we just walked away.
start work

to begin being employed:

He started work at 16 in a bakery.
to start with

B2 at the beginning, or as the first of several things:

We only knew two people in Montreal to start with, but we soon made friends.
To start with, we need better computers - then we need more training.

More examples

start verb (FIRST POINT)

[ I usually + adv/prep ] to begin at one point and then move to another, in distance or range:

The run starts at/from the entrance to the park.
We'll need to start (off/out) early because the journey takes six hours.
Tell me what happened - start at the beginning.
Ticket prices start at/from €80 and go up to €500.


uk /stɑːt/ us /stɑːrt/

start noun (BEGINNING)

B1 [ S ] the beginning of something:

We were doubtful about the product's usefulness from the start.
They announced the start of a new commercial venture.
The weather was good at the start (= in the first part) of the week.
The event got off to a shaky/poor start with the stage lights failing in the first few minutes.

C2 [ C ] the act of beginning to do something:

We need to make a start on (preparing) the brochure next week.
from start to finish

C1 including all of something, from the beginning to the end:

The whole party was a disaster from start to finish.
for a start C1 UK

first, or as the first in a set of things:

We'll take names and phone numbers for a start, then later on we can get more details.

used when giving a first example of something:

This book is better than her last one. For a start, it's shorter.

More examples

(Definition of “start” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“start” in American English

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us /stɑrt/

start verb (BEGIN)

[ I/T ] to begin to do something or go somewhere, or to begin or happen:

[ T ] When do you start your new job?
[ I ] We started with nothing when we got married.
[ I ] Classes start next month.
[ I ] Work starts at 9:00 a.m.
[ I ] Ticket prices start at $20 (= these are the cheapest prices).
[ T ] I just started this book (= began to read it).
[ I ] We’ll start out with Lucy (= She will be the first).

[ I/T ] infml If you tell someone not to start, you are warning that person not to begin complaining or annoying you:

[ I ] Don’t start – I said no!

start verb (CAUSE)

[ T ] to cause something to be or happen:

His mother started the craft market at the community center.
You’ve been starting trouble all morning.

start verb (MOVE SUDDENLY)

[ I ] to move your body suddenly because something has surprised you:

He started when the car backfired.

start verb (OPERATE)

[ I/T ] to cause something to operate, or to begin to work or operate:

[ T ] Annie went outside to start the car.
[ I ] I heard a lawnmower start.


us /stɑrt/

start noun (BEGINNING)

[ C/U ] the time where something begins, or the act of beginning:

[ U ] We were worried from the start.
[ U ] They announced the start of the race.
[ C ] The play got off to a bad start.

start noun (SUDDEN MOVEMENT)

[ U ] a sudden movement of your body because something has surprised you:

He woke with a start when the alarm sounded.

(Definition of “start” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“start” in Business English

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uk /stɑːt/ us

[ I or T ] HR, WORKPLACE to begin to work in a job:

Can you start on Monday?
I recently started a new job and I'm enjoying it very much so far.
Entry-level employees start at low salaries.
start work

WORKPLACE to begin to be employed for the first time:

He started work at 16 in a local baker's.

to begin your day at work:

I start work at 8.30 in the morning.

[ I or T ] to begin an activity or a set of activities:

He started the talk with a review of the past year's achievements.
start by doing sth She started by thanking us all for attending.

[ I or T ] also start up if a business or other organization starts, or if someone starts one, it is created and starts to operate:

start a business/company She started her own software company last year.
The economic model of small, farmer-owned ethanol plants got the industry started.
See also

[ I ] to begin at one level and then move to another:

prices start at/from sth Ticket prices start at €20 and go up to €100.

[ I or T ] also start off, also start out to begin in a particular way and then change later:

He started his working life as an engineer, but later became a teacher.
start as sth The company started as a snow removal business with one truck, and grew from there.
start with sth He started with nothing and was a millionaire by the time he was 35.

[ I or T ] if a machine or vehicle starts, or you start it, it begins to work or operate:

I started the computer and checked my mail.


uk /stɑːt/ us

[ C, usually singular ] the beginning of something:

get off to a bad/good/slow start The FTSE 100 got off to another good start and climbed steadily through the morning
The shares have fallen from 418p at the start of the year to 121p today.
Accessibility is something you must think about right from the start when you're choosing your venue.
Johnson led the project from start to finish.

[ S ] the act of beginning to do something:

make a start on sth/doing sth European funding has been obtained to enable us to make a start on the project.

[ C, usually plural ] a business or job that has just begun, or a person who has just started a new job:

Construction spending, driven by starts of new factories and highways, rose a larger-than-expected 0.9%.
They have been providing reliable data on small business starts and closures since 2003.
All new starts are expected to sign the workplace agreement.

[ C, usually singular ] an opportunity to begin something and start to be successful at it:

She got her start with the company as an accountant, auditing their books.

[ S ] →  head start

a fresh start

a situation in which you start something again in a completely new and different way after you have been unsuccessful:

The program will allow economically strapped taxpayers to make a fresh start.

(Definition of “start” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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