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at the outset

Also, from the outset. At the start, from the start. For example, He wanted to explain his position from the outset, but there wasn't time, or At the outset the problem seemed simple, but then it became quite complicated. The noun outset is rarely heard today except in these phrases. [Mid-1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.