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false start (plural false starts)

  1. (sports) The act of an athlete starting a race before being signaled to do so.
  2. An attempt at something that does not work, requiring one to start over.
    • 2017 December 1, Tom Breihan, “Mad Max: Fury Road might already be the best action movie ever made”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      He spent nearly 20 years developing the movie, keeping at it through false starts and heartbreaking dead ends. And when he got the chance to make it, he went all in, devising entire societies full of baroquely souped-up death machines and screaming war-cults.


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