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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Start, n.
 1. The act of starting; a sudden spring, leap, or motion, caused by surprise, fear, pain, or the like; any sudden motion, or beginning of motion.
    The fright awakened Arcite with a start.   --Dryden.
 2. A convulsive motion, twitch, or spasm; a spasmodic effort.
    For she did speak in starts distractedly.   --Shak.
    Nature does nothing by starts and leaps, or in a hurry.   --L'Estrange.
 3. A sudden, unexpected movement; a sudden and capricious impulse; a sally; as, starts of fancy.
    To check the starts and sallies of the soul.   --Addison.
 4. The beginning, as of a journey or a course of action; first motion from a place; act of setting out; the outset; -- opposed to finish.
    The start of first performance is all.   --Bacon.
 I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
 Straining upon the start.   --Shak.
 At a start, at once; in an instant. [Obs.]
    At a start he was betwixt them two.   --Chaucer.
 To get the start, or To have the start, to begin before another; to gain or have the advantage in a similar undertaking; -- usually with of.  Get the start of the majestic world.” --Shak. “She might have forsaken him if he had not got the start of her.” --Dryden.