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
References in periodicals archive ?
If that all suddenly disappeared, we'd be back to square one, having to start all over again.
It's time to go back to square one, they say, to "shed our fixed perceptions" and take a fresh look at the problem "from the inside.
The real story, said Margulies, is that this is a job involving the replacement of 147,000 windows that began in 1991, sat around DHCR for three years, and is back to square one without the owner getting a penny on its investment.
If I fail to identify the "right" alternative, I go back to square one - I am required to file an amendment and lose the permit shield, which protects holders of valid Title V permits from EPA enforcement.
But hopes were dashed when the nominee, Gabrielle Greene, withdrew her nomination in March, forcing the selection process back to square one.
IT was back to square one yesterday for Doctor Who stars Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman as they posed for pictures ahead of the new series, which starts later today.
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.
The source further added that Mayer had just emotionally bailed on her and she couldn't believe that she was back to square one.
Baghdad (NINA) - Iraqiya Alliance condemned the continued violence, explosions and assassinations that take place in Iraq's various provinces, last is the explosions that occurred in Baghdad intending to take the country back to square one when sectarian fight and hate between the one people.
Saunders (right) admits the first win for the club in 14 games was a massive relief - but has warned his squad that any drop in standards will see them plunge back to square one.
She said: "We are back to square one - we still do not know what is going on.
Many villagers felt as though they were back to square one after the second flooding.
Aleksandra Mitevska in Utrinski vesnik comments that the long October night in Przino brought the acknowledgement that the undertaken process for overcoming the political crisis is back to square one.
Until, of course, it stopped, when you'd be back to square one.
And arrest warrant against Ali Eid Ministerial Statement Committee back to square one due to rejection of March 8 to "Bbda Declaration" AL-AKHBAR: Sleiman hampers agreement on ministerial statement THE DAILY STAR: Israel hits Hezbollah on Syria border Israeli warplanes bombed a Hezbollah stronghold in the east Lebanon border area of Janta, targeting a "qualitative" weapons shipment en route to the party, a security source told The Daily Star Monday.