See more synonyms for starter on
  1. a person or thing that starts.
  2. a person who gives the signal to begin, as for a race, the running of a train, bus, elevator, etc.
  3. a device that starts an internal-combustion engine without a need for cranking by hand.
  4. a person or thing that starts in a race or contest: Only five starters finished the race.
  5. a culture of bacteria used to start a particular fermentation, as in the manufacture of cheese, buttermilk, sour cream, etc.
  6. Cookery. sourdough(def 1).
  7. Slang. a shill, as at a gaming table in a casino.
  8. Cribbage. the card turned face up on the stack before the play.
  1. constituting a basis or beginning: a starter set of dishes; a starter home.
  1. for starters, Informal. as the first step or part; initially; first: We will have soup for starters. For starters, he doesn't even know how to drive.

Origin of starter

First recorded in 1530–40; start + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for starters

opener, originator, pioneer, innovator, inventor, initiator

Examples from the Web for starters

Contemporary Examples of starters

Historical Examples of starters

British Dictionary definitions for starters


  1. a device for starting an internal-combustion engine, usually consisting of a powerful electric motor that engages with the flywheelFormerly called self-starter
  2. US a person who organizes the timely departure of buses, trains, etc
  3. a person who supervises and signals the start of a race
  4. a competitor who starts in a race or contest
  5. informal, mainly Australian and NZ an acceptable or practicable proposition, plan, idea, etc
  6. Australian and NZ informal a person who is willing to engage in a particular activity
  7. a culture of bacteria used to start fermentation, as in making cheese or yogurt
  8. mainly British the first course of a meal
  9. (modifier) designed to be used by a novicea starter kit
  10. for starters slang in the first place
  11. under starter's orders
    1. (of horses in a race) awaiting the start signal
    2. (of a person) eager or ready to begin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for starters



c.1400, stertour "instigator; one who starts," agent noun from start (v.). For starters "to begin with" is 1873, American English colloquial. Starter home is from 1976; starter set is from 1946, originally of china.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with starters


see under for openers.

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