Definition of starter in English:


Line breaks: start¦er
Pronunciation: /ˈstɑːtə


  • 1A person or thing that starts in a specified way: I’m just a slow starter
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    • Also a serious Palme d' Or contender, Chunhyang is a slow starter.
    • Despite the crowd's obvious enthusiasm, the gig was a slow starter.
    • He may have been a slow starter, but lately O'Shea has been surging forward.
  • 1.1A person who gives the signal for the start of a race.
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    • ‘The starter held the race while the announcer told people I was retiring,’ said Hickman.
    • As the starters signalled the first race a light rain signalled the wintry conditions at Munich's Olympic regatta course.
    • Tarapore and Kapila even had the discomfiture of being fined five penalty points for jumping the starter's gun in the second race.
  • 1.2 [with adjective] A horse, competitor, or player taking part in a race or game at the start: the trainer has confirmed Cool Ground as a definite starter
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    • Worse still, every paper lists him as a definite starter in Sunday's game.
    • Hold That Tiger is the only one of O'Brien's potential starters to have raced in the United States this year.
    • Paraneck Stable's former classic starter Griffinite has been retired due to a slight ligament strain in his left front leg.
  • 1.3 Baseball The pitcher who starts the game.
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    • The team should sign a cheap center fielder, a cheaper third basemen, and a starter.
    • This represents a combined total of just 23 wins for both starters for the first game of a World Series.
    • The Giants pulled ahead early in the first three games against shaky Dodger starters, only to let the Dodgers claw their way back into the game.
  • 1.4A topic, question, or other item with which to start a group discussion or course of study: material to act as a starter for discussion
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    • Also, it may serve as a discussion starter for small cooperative groups or with the whole group in the university classroom.
    • Occasionally it's been the starter for a conversation.
    • The photos make it a great gift idea, while the information acts as a starter for readers with a new interest in wine.
  • 1.5 [as modifier] Denoting something regarded as suitable for a person who is new to a particular activity, product, etc.: consumers upgrading from a regular mobile phone to a starter smartphone
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    • It's a great starter phone for someone who is not real tech savvy.
    • It seems like a lot of people think that a guinea pig or a rabbit is a good starter pet for a child.
    • It's a good painting at a good price—a starter Warhol—but someone else is willing to go to almost $1.5 million.
  • 2An automatic device for starting a machine, especially the engine of a vehicle: [as modifier]: the starter motor
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    • When you turn the ignition key, the starter motor spins the engine a few revolutions so that the combustion process can start.
    • From the darkened bar from which I dictate this missive, I can hear the starter engines revving up!
    • The difference is there is a helicopter starter engine that always keeps the turbo spinning at high revs, and hence the power.
  • 2.1A railway signal controlling the starting of trains from a station or other location.
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    • The starter signal may show Attention or Caution to provide permission for a train to leave a station, instead of the Proceed indication.
  • 3chiefly British The first course of a meal.
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    • Even at buffet dinners, it is advisable to stick to the usual schedule of salads, soups, starters, main course and dessert.
    • It offered the usual salads, starters, cooked meals, wines and rakias as well as a decent selection of seafood dishes at very good prices.
    • From finger foods and starters to main courses, pastry and puddings, he has produced a range of ingenious recipes to tempt even the most committed carnivore.
  • 4 informal A plan or idea that has a chance of succeeding and is therefore worthy of consideration: she began to think that she must move away, yet she knew that it was not even a starter
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    • As a football player, he was not even a starter.
  • 5 (also starter culture) A bacterial culture used to initiate souring in making yogurt, cheese, or butter.
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    • Then a starter culture of lactic streptococci and lactobacilli bacteria is added.
    • The traditional process of cheesemaking ensues when the bacteria in the starter culture begin growing by fermenting the lactose in the milk into lactic acid.
    • Fruit may contribute undesirable yeasts and bacteria to the yogurt, making it a poor starter culture.
  • 5.1A preparation of chemicals to initiate the breakdown of vegetable matter in making compost.
    More example sentences
    • This suggests that phosphorus is more important than nitrogen in the starter fertilizer.
    • It isn't necessary to add the starter culture, but Gates recommends it to ensure that your vegetables begin fermenting with a hardy strain of healthy bacteria.


for starters

informal First of all; to start with: ‘Anything else?’ ‘That’ll do for starters.’
More example sentences
  • Well, for starters, some red wine always helps to mellow the evening.
  • Well, for starters we must remember that he was only 32 when he was shot.
  • Put it this way, the junkie people in London couldn't afford it, for starters: the drinks are extremely expensive.

under starter's orders

(Of horses, runners, or other competitors) ready to start a race and just waiting for the signal.
More example sentences
  • The race is under starter's orders to find the UK's strongest man.
  • There are seven races on each day with the first race coming under starter's orders at 2.15 pm.
  • The running of Africa's greatest horse-race event at Greyville looks set to smash records, and that's before the horses come under starter's orders.

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