be off to a false start

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be off to a false start

To make a failed, impaired, or underdeveloped beginning at something. Taken from racing, when a participant begins before the starting signal has been given. The small nation has been off to a few false starts since gaining independence, but it is now starting to find some economic and political stability. We knew the company was off to a false start, but, unfortunately, there was no way to put things on hold once the wheels were in motion.
See also: false, off, start