Definition of starter in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈstɑːtə/


1A person or thing that starts in a specified way: I’m just a slow starter
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • ‘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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • He told me that a good starter bike would run me about $400, and there the dream died.
  • If you want to tackle the tricky world of permanent life insurance, here's a starter guide.
  • Every day on my way to work I pass the site of a new "starter castle" - the six-car garage kind springing up in farm fields and open land across the country.
2An automatic device for starting a machine, especially the engine of a vehicle: [as modifier]: the starter motor
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
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.
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.

Words that rhyme with starter

barter, Bata, cantata, carter, cassata, charter, chipolata, ciabatta, darter, desiderata, errata, garter, imprimatur, Inkatha, Jakarta, Magna Carta, Maratha, martyr, Odonata, passata, persona non grata, rata, Renata, Río de la Plata, serenata, sonata, Sparta, strata, taramasalata, tartar, Tatar, Zapata

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: start¦er

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.