v. & n.
v. 1 tr. & intr. begin; commence (started work; started crying; started to shout; the play starts at eight). 2 tr. set (proceedings, an event, etc.) in motion (start the meeting; started a fire). 3 intr. (often foll. by on) make a beginning (started on a new project). 4 intr. (often foll. by after, for) set oneself in motion or action ('wait!' he shouted, and started after her). 5 intr. set out; begin a journey etc. (we start at 6 a.m.). 6 (often foll. by up) a intr. (of a machine) begin operating (the car wouldn't start). b tr. cause (a machine etc.) to begin operating (tried to start the engine). 7 tr. a cause or enable (a person) to make a beginning (with something) (started me in business with $10,000). b (foll. by pres. part.) cause (a person) to begin (doing something) ( the smoke started me coughing). c Brit. colloq. complain or be critical (don't you start). 8 tr. (often foll. by up) found or establish; originate. 9 intr. (foll. by at, with) have as the first of a series of items, e.g. in a meal (we started with soup). 10 tr. give a signal to (competitors) to start in a race. 11 intr. (often foll. by up, from, etc.) make a sudden movement from surprise, pain, etc. (started at the sound of my voice). 12 intr. (foll. by out, up, from, etc.) spring out, up, etc. (started up from the chair). 13 tr. conceive (a baby). 14 tr. rouse (game etc.) from its lair. 15 a intr. (of timbers etc.) spring from their proper position; give way. b tr. cause or experience (timbers etc.) to do this. 16 intr. (foll. by out, to, etc.) (of a thing) move or appear suddenly (tears started to his eyes). 17 intr. (foll. by from) (of eyes, usu. with exaggeration) burst forward (from their sockets etc.). 18 tr. pour out (liquor) from a cask.
n. 1 a beginning of an event, action, journey, etc. (missed the start; an early start tomorrow; made a fresh start). 2 the place from which a race etc. begins. 3 an advantage given at the beginning of a race etc. (a 15-second start). 4 an advantageous initial position in life, business, etc. (a good start in life). 5 a sudden movement of surprise, pain, etc. (you gave me a start). 6 an intermittent or spasmodic effort or movement (esp. in or by fits and starts). 7 colloq. a surprising occurrence (a queer start; a rum start). for a start colloq. as a beginning; in the first place. get the start of gain an advantage over. start a hare see HARE. start in colloq. 1 begin. 2 (foll. by on) US make a beginning on. start off 1 begin; commence (started off on a lengthy monologue). 2 begin to move (it's time we started off). start out 1 begin a journey. 2 colloq. (foll. by to + infin.) proceed as intending (to do something). start over US begin again. start school attend school for the first time. start something colloq. cause trouble. start up arise; occur. to start with 1 in the first place; before anything else is considered (should never have been there to start with). 2 at the beginning (had six members to start with).
[ OE (orig. in sense 11) f. Gmc ]