American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An illegal racing start in which one of the competitors begins moving before the starting signal.
- n. A misguided or unsuccessful attempt to begin something.
- n. sports The starting of a race before being signaled to do so.
“It needed a false start or two while I desperately tried to remember half-learned techniques, but finally I was rewarded by the screen prompting: 'Enter telephone number'.”
“For a boy to enter college in a half-fitted condition is simply to make a false start in life, for he is only too likely to become discouraged, and either to drag along at the foot of the class or to lose his place in it altogether.”
“Bruschetta and olives, Hebe eventually found, after a false start with soup and asparagus; the latter she hadn’t even got as far as her mouth, the smell having been enough to put her off.”
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