back to the drawing board


Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms.

back to square one

Back to the very first stage of something; returned to an initial starting point. We'll have to go back to square one if the government pulls our funding on this project. Yet another relationship down the tubes. I guess I'm back to square one yet again!
See also: back, one, square

back to the drawing board

Revising something (such as a plan) from the beginning, typically after it has failed. That ad campaign was not as successful as we had hoped. Back to the drawing board. We need to go back to the drawing board on this project. I think it had some fundamental flaws from the start.
See also: back, board, drawing

back to square one

Fig. back to the beginning. (As with a board game.) Negotiations have broken down, and it's back to square one. We lost our appeal of the lower court decision, so back to square one.
See also: back, one, square

back to the drawing board

Fig. time to start from the start; it is time to plan something over again. (Plans or schematics are drawn on a drawing board. Note the variations shown in the examples.) It didn't work. Back to the drawing board. I flunked English this semester. Well, back to the old drawing board.
See also: back, board, drawing

back to the drawing board

Also, back to square one. Back to the beginning because the current attempt was unsuccessful, as in When the town refused to fund our music program, we had to go back to the drawing board , or I've assembled this wrong side up, so it's back to square one. The first term originated during World War II, most likely from the caption of a cartoon by Peter Arno in The New Yorker magazine. It pictured a man who held a set of blueprints and was watching an airplane explode. The variant is thought to come from a board game or street game where an unlucky throw of dice or a marker sends the player back to the beginning of the course. It was popularized by British sports-casters in the 1930s, when the printed radio program included a grid with numbered squares to help listeners follow the description of a soccer game.
See also: back, board, drawing

back to square one

or

back at square one

COMMON If someone is back to square one or back at square one, they have failed completely in what they were trying to do, and now have to start again. The treatment failed and I was back to square one. But now, after their appeal, the investigation is back at square one. Note: You can also say that you start or start something from square one. The new board will apparently be starting from square one. Note: This expression may refer to board games where the players move counters along a series of squares, and sometimes have to start again at the beginning.
See also: back, one, square

back to the drawing board

COMMON If you have to go back to the drawing board, something which you have done has not been successful and you will have to try another idea. His government should go back to the drawing board to rethink their programme in time to return it to the Parliament by September. Failing to win means going back to the drawing board, identifying shortcomings and attempting to improve on them. Note: Drawing boards are large flat boards, on which designers or architects place their paper when drawing plans or designs.
See also: back, board, drawing

back to square one

phr. back to the beginning. (Often with go.) We’ve got to get this done without going back to square one.
See also: back, one, square

back to the drawing board

Back to the beginning or the planning stage after an approach has proved unsuccessful.
See also: back, board, drawing
References in periodicals archive ?
Based on the frank and detailed feedback, HL7 has gone back to the drawing board and plans to release a new version in February.
IT'S back to the drawing board for the 101 Freeway Study steering committee.
Bell took the standard bike tire and tube back to the drawing board and essentially reinvented the wheel -- with new technology and materials designed to stop flats before they occur.
DEATH OF 'SUPERMAN': It's back to the drawing board for Warner Bros.
As a result, they showed us the 'Right' solution the first time they proposed, while others had to go back to the drawing board.
The network then unceremoniously torpedoed it and sent the young auteur back to the drawing board to create a more action-oriented introduction to the show.
The inventors will walk away from this panel with one of three things: a knowledge that they have a product that will work for direct response, information on how to alter their product to work, or a trip back to the drawing board," notes Cooper.
Eventually deferred spending has to be paid for, and then it's back to the drawing board for the state's legislators, who are already looking at budget deficits worth $10 billion or more for years to come.
After ten months of wrestling with it, Bob Barker decided it was time to go back to the drawing board.
We owe it to our electors to go back to the drawing board and then bring forward some new ideas they might support.
The Government was yesterday told to go back to the drawing board over pensions by former Social Security Minister Frank Field.
It's back to the drawing board for Scotland's Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Sparky Gayle after he was totally outclassed by Strath Royal in the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase yesterday.
The FA says all the money raisef is ploughed back into grassroots football, but Caborn says the governing body should protect the name of the FA Cup and go back to the drawing board.
She lost a split decision to Australian Shelley Watts in the preliminary round of the lightweight draw and admits she must now go back to the drawing board.