a false start

false start

1. In a sporting event, a situation in which one player or team begins before the official signal has been given. The team was issued a penalty by the referee after the false start.
2. An unsuccessful attempt to begin something. After several false starts, Gina was finally able to make some progress in writing her term paper.
See also: false, start
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

(make) a false ˈstart

an attempt to begin something that is not successful: After a few false starts, I finally managed to work the fax machine.He made a few false starts early on in his acting career, but then found success with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In sport, a false start is a situation when a competitor in a race starts before the official signal has been given.
See also: false, start
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
After a false start, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is taking off-according to recent research, the global market for VoIP will reach $82 billion this year and $196.5 billion by 2007, and much of this growth is driven by the enterprise, with the IT sector the most enthusiastic adopter.