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1 definition found
 for At a start
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Start \Start\, n.
     1. 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.
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              The fright awakened Arcite with a start. --Dryden.
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     2. A convulsive motion, twitch, or spasm; a spasmodic effort.
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              For she did speak in starts distractedly. --Shak.
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              Nature does nothing by starts and leaps, or in a
              hurry.                                --L'Estrange.
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     3. A sudden, unexpected movement; a sudden and capricious
        impulse; a sally; as, starts of fancy.
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              To check the starts and sallies of the soul.
                                                    --Addison.
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     4. 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.
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              The start of first performance is all. --Bacon.
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              I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
              Straining upon the start.             --Shak.
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     At a start, at once; in an instant. [Obs.]
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              At a start he was betwixt them two.   --Chaucer.
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     To get the start, or To have the start, to begin before
        another; to gain or have the advantage in a similar
        undertaking; -- usually with of. "Get the start of the
        majestic world." --Shak. "She might have forsaken him if
        he had not got the start of her." --Dryden.
        [1913 Webster]

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