back to square one

(redirected from back at square one)

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 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 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 square one

back to the starting point, with no progress made.
Square one may be a reference to a board game such as Snakes and Ladders, or may come from the notional division of a football pitch into eight numbered sections for the purpose of early radio commentaries.
See also: back, one, square

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 square one

Indication to start again from the beginning, because one has failed or has reached a dead end. The term probably came from a board game such as snakes and ladders or from a street game such as hopscotch, where an unlucky throw of dice or a marker forces the player to begin the course all over again. It was adopted by British sportscasters in the 1930s, when the printed radio program would include a numbered grid of a soccer (football) field to help listeners follow the game broadcasts. The same sense is conveyed by back to the drawing board, a term originating during World War II, almost certainly from the caption of a cartoon by Peter Arno in the New Yorker magazine, which showed a man holding a set of blueprints and watching an airplane on the ground blow up. A similar phrase with a slightly different sense is back to basics—that is, let’s go back to the beginning, or return to the fundamentals of a subject, problem, or other issue. The term dates from the mid-twentieth century and probably originated in either school or laboratory, where a subject was not clearly understood or an experiment of some kind failed.
See also: back, one, square
References in periodicals archive ?
The fight legend said: "Burns is one of Scotland's great champs and it saddens me he is back at square one.
If I hadn't gone to a specialist I'd be back at square one.
Manager Phil Mullen said: "He is back at square one.
So, we have come full circle, with Little back at square one, saying again recently: "We have to grind out results.
I've spent nearly 20 years making a career for myself and here I am back at square one.
He said: "It is coming along slowly but it is not right yet and if I come back too soon I could end up back at square one - I just can't rush it but I would like to think I will be back early next week.
If I come back too soon, I could end up back at square one.
We are back at square one, the doctors say she is not mentally ill so the authorities don't want to know.
If they blow millions chasing the dream but end up missing the boat, they're not even back at square one - they're right in it, with the future of the club up in the air.
1994: The long-running saga over Liverpool's street traders was back at square one.
This year people were looking for me to take the big step - I felt I was back at square one.