false-start

[fawls-stahrt]
verb (used without object) Sports.
  1. 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

false start

noun
  1. 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.
  2. a failure to begin an undertaking successfully.

Origin of false start

First recorded in 1805–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.