Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To begin an activity or a movement; set out.
  • intransitive v. To have a beginning; commence. See Synonyms at begin.
  • intransitive v. To move suddenly or involuntarily: started at the loud noise.
  • intransitive v. To come quickly into view, life, or activity; spring forth.
  • intransitive v. Sports To be in the initial lineup of a game or race.
  • intransitive v. To protrude or bulge.
  • intransitive v. To become loosened or disengaged.
  • transitive v. To commence; begin.
  • transitive v. To set into motion, operation, or activity.
  • transitive v. To introduce; originate.
  • transitive v. Sports To play in the initial lineup of (a game).
  • transitive v. Sports To put (a player) into the initial lineup of a game.
  • transitive v. Sports To enter (a participant) into a race or game.
  • transitive v. To found; establish: start a business.
  • transitive v. To tend in an early stage of development: start seedlings.
  • transitive v. To rouse (game) from its hiding place or lair; flush.
  • transitive v. To cause to become displaced or loosened.
  • n. A beginning; a commencement.
  • n. The beginning of a new construction project: an application for a building start.
  • n. A place or time of beginning.
  • n. Sports A starting line for a race.
  • n. Sports A signal to begin a race.
  • n. Sports An instance of beginning a game or race: a pitcher who won his first five starts.
  • n. A startled reaction or movement.
  • n. A part that has become dislocated or loosened.
  • n. A position of advantage over others, as in a race or an endeavor; a lead.
  • n. An opportunity granted to pursue a career or course of action.
  • idiom start something Informal To cause trouble.
  • idiom to start with At the beginning; initially.
  • idiom to start with In any case.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The beginning of an activity.
  • n. A sudden involuntary movement.
  • n. The beginning point of a race.
  • n. An appearance in a sports game from the beginning of the match.
  • v. To set in motion.
  • v. To begin.
  • v. To initiate a vehicle or machine.
  • v. To put or raise (a question, an objection); to put forward (a subject for discussion).
  • v. To begin an activity.
  • v. To jerk suddenly in surprise.
  • v. To awaken suddenly.
  • v. To break away, to come loose.
  • n. A tail, or anything projecting like a tail.
  • n. A handle, especially that of a plough.
  • n. The curved or inclined front and bottom of a water wheel bucket.
  • n. The arm, or level, of a gin, drawn around by a horse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To leap; to jump.
  • intransitive v. To move suddenly, as with a spring or leap, from surprise, pain, or other sudden feeling or emotion, or by a voluntary act.
  • intransitive v. To set out; to commence a course, as a race or journey; to begin.
  • intransitive v. To become somewhat displaced or loosened.
  • transitive v. To cause to move suddenly; to disturb suddenly; to startle; to alarm; to rouse; to cause to flee or fly.
  • transitive v. To bring into being or into view; to originate; to invent.
  • transitive v. To cause to move or act; to set going, running, or flowing.
  • transitive v. To move suddenly from its place or position; to displace or loosen; to dislocate.
  • transitive v. To pour out; to empty; to tap and begin drawing from.
  • n. The act of starting; a sudden spring, leap, or motion, caused by surprise, fear, pain, or the like; any sudden motion, or beginning of motion.
  • n. A convulsive motion, twitch, or spasm; a spasmodic effort.
  • n. A sudden, unexpected movement; a sudden and capricious impulse; a sally.
  • n. The beginning, as of a journey or a course of action; first motion from a place; act of setting out; the outset; -- opposed to finish.
  • n. A tail, or anything projecting like a tail.
  • n. The handle, or tail, of a plow; also, any long handle.
  • n. The curved or inclined front and bottom of a water-wheel bucket.
  • n. The arm, or lever, of a gin, drawn around by a horse.
  • n. A Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union which provided for stepwise reductions in the number of nuclear weapons possessed by each country.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move with a sudden involuntary jerk or twitch, as from a shock of surprise, fear, pain, or the like; give sudden involuntary expression to or indication of surprise, pain, fright, or any sudden emotion, by a quick convulsive movement of the body: as, he started at the sight.
  • To make a sudden or unexpected change of place or position; rise abruptly or quickly; spring; leap, dart, or rush with sudden quickness: as, to start aside, backward, forward, out, or up; to start from one's seat.
  • To set out; begin or enter upon action, course, career, or pursuit, as a journey or a race.
  • To run; escape; get away.
  • To lose hold; give way; swerve aside; be disloeated or moved from an intended position or direction; spring: as, the ship's timbers started.
  • To fall off or out; loosen and come away, as the baleen of a dead whale through decomposition, or hair from a soured pelt.
  • To begin; set out: as, he started out to be a lawyer.
  • To begin operation or business: as, the factory will start up to-morrow.
  • To rouse suddenly into action, motion, or flight, as a beast from its lair, a hare or rabbit from its form, or a bird from its nest; cause to come suddenly into view, action, play, flight, or the like: as, to start game; to start the detectives.
  • To originate; begin; set in motion; set going; give the first or a new impulse to: as, to start a fire; to start a newspaper, a school, or a new business; to start a controversy.
  • To cause to set out, or to provide the means or take the steps necessary to enable (one) to set out or embark, as on an errand, a journey, enterprise, career, etc.: as, to start one's son in business; to start a party on an expedition.
  • To loosen, or cause to loosen or lose hold; cause to move from its place: as, to start a plank; to start a tooth; to start an anchor.
  • To set flowing, as liquor from a cask; pour out: as, to start wine into another cask.
  • To alarm; disturb suddenly; startle.
  • n. A sudden involuntary spring, jerk, or twitch, such as may be caused by sudden surprise, fear, pain, or other emotion.
  • n. A spring or recoil, as of an elastic body; spring; jerk.
  • n. A sudden burst or gleam; a sally; a flash.
  • n. A sudden bound or stroke of action; a brief, impulsive, intermittent, or spasmodic effort or movement; spasm: as, to work by fits and starts.
  • n. A sudden voluntary movement; a dash; a rush; a run.
  • n. A starting or setting out in some course, action, enterprise, or the like; beginning; outset; departure.
  • n. Lead or advantage in starting or setting out, as in a race or contest; advantage in the beginning or first stage of something: as, to have the start in a competition for a prize.
  • n. Impulse, impetus, or first movement in some direction or course; send-off: as, to get a good start in life.
  • n. A part that has started; a loosened or broken part; a break or opening.
  • n. Distance.
  • n. A tail; the tail of an animal: thus, redstart is literally redtail.
  • n. Something resembling a tail; a handle: as, a plow-start (or plow-tail).
  • n. The sharp point of a young stag's horn.
  • n. In mining, the beam or lever to which the horse is attached in a horse-whim or gin.
  • n. In an overshot water-wheel, one of the partitions which determine the form of the bucket.
  • n. A stalk, as of an apple.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bulge outward
  • v. leave
  • v. move or jump suddenly, as if in surprise or alarm
  • n. a turn to be a starter (in a game at the beginning)
  • v. begin an event that is implied and limited by the nature or inherent function of the direct object
  • v. get off the ground
  • v. begin work or acting in a certain capacity, office or job
  • n. the beginning of anything
  • v. set in motion, cause to start
  • v. have a beginning, in a temporal, spatial, or evaluative sense
  • v. begin or set in motion
  • v. have a beginning characterized in some specified way
  • n. the advantage gained by beginning early (as in a race)
  • n. a signal to begin (as in a race)
  • n. the time at which something is supposed to begin
  • v. take the first step or steps in carrying out an action
  • v. play in the starting lineup
  • v. bring into being
  • n. a line indicating the location of the start of a race or a game
  • v. get going or set in motion
  • n. a sudden involuntary movement
  • n. the act of starting something

Etymologies

Middle English sterten, to move or leap suddenly, from Old English *styrtan; see ster-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English stert (Wiktionary)
From Middle English sterten ("to leap up suddenly, rush out"), from Old English styrtan ("to leap up, start"), from Proto-Germanic *sturtjanan (“to startle, move, set in motion”), causative of *stirtanan (“to leap, tumble”), from Proto-Indo-European *stere-, *strē- (“to be strong, steady, rigid, fixed”). Cognate with Old Frisian stirta ("to fall down, tumble"), Middle Dutch sterten (Dutch storten, "to rush, fall, collapse"), Old High German sturzen (German stürzen, "to hurl, plunge, turn upside down"), Old High German sterzan ("to be stiff, protrude"). More at stare. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "'...the sudden spontaneous beating of men who are thought to move too slowly, or starting, as we call it...'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 74

    February 11, 2008