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square one

a starting point; initial stage or step:
If this plan fails, we'll have to go back to square one.
Origin of square one
1955-60; alluding to board games in which a player is penalized by being forced to return to the starting point Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for square one
  • Whatever you decide, you'll be glad you're not starting at square one.
  • Then if you need an attorney, you will be ready to go, rather than starting at square one.
  • It's a different skill and you have to go back to square one and learn it.
  • The trial was halted, hopes were dashed, and the researchers went back to square one.
  • We will have to start from square one and check and re-check everything.
  • Three letters in the puzzle have a different typography than the others, with a circular dot instead of a square one.
  • Each time a writer sits down to create fiction, you start from square one.
  • The good news is that we're on our way back to square one.
  • We need to start at square one and think about all these issues.
  • Nukes could never get to square one in a truly market driven environment.
Slang definitions & phrases for square one

square John

noun phrase

An ordinary honest person; a good citizen; a noncriminal person who can be victimized by, and is contemptuously regarded by, criminals (1920s+ Underworld)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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