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false start

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noun
Sports. a premature start by one or more of the contestants, as in a swimming or track event, necessitating calling the field back to start again.
a failure to begin an undertaking successfully.
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Origin of false start

First recorded in 1805–15

Other definitions for false start (2 of 2)

false-start
[ fawls-stahrt ]
/ ˈfɔlsˈstɑrt /

verb (used without object) Sports.
to leave the starting line or position too early and thereby necessitate repeating the signal to begin a race.

Origin of false-start

First recorded in 1805–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use false start in a sentence

Other Idioms and Phrases with false start

false start

A wrong beginning, as in After several false starts she finally managed to write the first chapter. The term originated in racing, where it refers to beginning a race before the starting signal has been given. The expression was soon transferred to other kinds of failed beginning. [Early 1800s]

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