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 ?
It leaves the Buddies back at square one in their quest to find a striker as Goodwin bemoaned a lack of transfer activity.
Monchi, 50, (right) was offered a PS2.5million-a-year contract at Arsenal but backed out at the last minute to return to Sevilla, leaving the Gunners back at square one. Marc Overmars was never a serious contender.
Then the whole rotten process and arguments and nastiness continues and we are back at square one. There quite simply is no solution to this mess unless we can negotiate some sort of customs union but even this is unlikely.
Yet by Saturday evening, Mourinho was back at square one and saying a top four spot was no longer in his sights.
Critique: A fairly quick and easy read, "Back at Square One" is a deftly written and entertaining novel that will have special appeal to anyone who appreciates a deftly crafted novel of memorable characters and inherently interesting storylines.
Manager Phil Mullen said: "He is back at square one. We've wrapped him up in cotton wool but he has suffered a recurrence of the old problem.
So, we have come full circle, with Little back at square one, saying again recently: "We have to grind out results." To the Tranmere chairman, I say selling our best players is false economy.
"I've spent nearly 20 years making a career for myself and here I am back at square one. What really annoys me is that this decision to ban hunting with hounds has been made by people who have never been involved in hunting.
If something that looked like a sure thing falls through and you feel "back at square one," take a break from your job search.
If I come back too soon, I could end up 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.
The fight legend said: "Burns is one of Scotland's great champs and it saddens me he is back at square one.
A hero of Blues' 2002 First Division play-off penalty victory over Norwich, the goalkeeper (below) said it pained him to see the club '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 I hadn't gone to a specialist I'd be back at square one."