go back to square one

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go back to square one

To go back to the very first stage of something; to be returned to an initial starting point. We'll have to go back to square one if the government pulls our funding on this project. I lost all my data when the computer crashed, so I'm afraid I'm going back to square one.
See also: back, one, square

go back to square one

Fig. to return to the starting point. (Alludes to the squares of a board game.) It's back to square one. We have to start over. It looks like it's back to square one for you.
See also: back, one, square

be/go back to square ˈone

(also start again from square ˈone) (informal) start something again from the beginning because your first idea, plan, action, etc. has failed or has been stopped: The experiment didn’t work, so it’s back to square one, I’m afraid.This may refer to going back to the beginning or first square of a board game such as ‘snakes and ladders’.
See also: back, one, square