a person or thing that starts.
a person who gives the signal to begin, as for a race, the running of a train, bus, elevator, etc.
a device that starts an internal-combustion engine without a need for cranking by hand.
a person or thing that starts in a race or contest: Only five starters finished the race.
a culture of bacteria used to start a particular fermentation, as in the manufacture of cheese, buttermilk, sour cream, etc.
Cookery. sourdough ( def 1 ).
Slang. a shill, as at a gaming table in a casino.
Cribbage. the card turned face up on the stack before the play.
constituting a basis or beginning: a starter set of dishes; a starter home.
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.

1530–40; start + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
starter (ˈstɑːtə)
1.  Formerly called self-starter a device for starting an internal-combustion engine, usually consisting of a powerful electric motor that engages with the flywheel
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 chiefly (Austral), (NZ) an acceptable or practicable proposition, plan, idea, etc
6.  informal (Austral), (NZ) 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.  chiefly (Brit) the first course of a meal
9.  (modifier) designed to be used by a novice: a starter kit
10.  slang for starters in the first place
11.  under starter's orders
 a.  (of horses in a race) awaiting the start signal
 b.  (of a person) eager or ready to begin

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see under for openers.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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