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 ?
When asked to clarify if he meant all peace agreements with the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front of Nur Misuari, he said: Yes Everything is 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.
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.
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.
She said: "We are back to square one - we still do not know what is going on.
Yet again we are back to square one and it seems this problem of flooding will haunt us for the rest of our lives - and forever.
He said: EUR[pounds sterling]WeEUROre pretty buoyant after the way we managed to get the victory at the end there in Cardiff, but weEUROre also aware that itEUROs right back to square one again here at LordEUROs.
Some welcomed the idea and thanked King Abdullah for it, but others, including incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressed reservations, arguing that the Saudi suggestion would take the discussion back to square one.
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.
There is a nice space by John Lewis where in time there will be a fairground, then chewing gum on the floor along with some McDonald's wrappers and, hey presto, back to square one.
My dad said I could have one if I was good and I've been really good lately but then I was naughty and my dad said I was back to square one.
Two wins and two draws and you look like you are heading in the right direction, but we had good wins earlier in the season and then we went back to square one.
The Swan-McManus treble was completed when Back To Square One, who started 6-4 favourite, made a winning debut in the bumper.
Just to get me back to square one, where I was at in the old days.