back to square one


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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 ?
EUR[pounds sterling]ItEUROs not often you win Test match in that manner EUR" most of the Test matches you win come from three or four days of very hard work getting yourself in the position to win so weEUROve got to get right back to square one here and I think the guys are excited to do that.
The Swan-McManus treble was completed when Back To Square One, who started 6-4 favourite, made a winning debut in the bumper.
Now, 20 years on and a full-time employee of the Morpeth Hunt, the 35-year-old says he feels as if he is back to square one.
America has tried to come out of the cesspool of racial conservatism and racism, and we're right back to square one," said Lami, who owns La Caffita bakery shop, also located in Los Angeles.
Any peep about Simpson's history from the prosecutor could force the judge to declare a mistrial and send the whole process back to square one. Moreover, any potential juror who has prior knowledge of Simpson's record will be excused from the case.
"They have gone back to square one to review the entire process.
I have heard lots of stories of lads pushing for a date to comeback and setting themselves back to square one."
All peace talks with Moro rebels in Mindanao are back to square one under the Rodrigo Duterte administration, according to newly elected Davao del Norte Rep.
Downton Abbey ITV, 9pm Just as Anna seems to be getting over the worst of her ordeal, unwelcome news takes her back to square one. Alfred realises he's made a mistake, and Rosamund works out how to help Lady Edith.
NNA - AN-NAHAR: March 14 from Bbda: "Hezbollah's" withdrawal Cabinet issue back to square one Lack of Constitutional Council quorum in today's (Tuesday) meeting Ashton and Guterres in Beirut to discuss refugee issue "Constitutional Council" in front impasse Northern Bek contains strife AL-MUSTAQBAL: Calm climate overcomes tension in Bek...
I don't want to go back to square one. They are only young guys in their early 20s, they still have so much to give and to prove.
Indeed, one thing that he did suggest was that perhaps we should in this United Kingdom (I use the term loosely) go for an American-style federal system in which no doubt, London would adopt the role of Washington, Wales would split into two or three federal states and we would be back to square one with no racial Welsh identity.
"It's a core issue because without Kashmir you will always have a possibility of going back to square one no matter how much confidence-building measures you have," he said.
The only option seems to be bringing in loan players and when they are recalled, as they invariably are, we are back to square one. We produced many home-grown players in the past, why can't we do it now?