Start vs First - What's the difference?

start | first |

As an acronym start

is (law).

As a noun first is

ridge (of roof).



Etymology 1

From (etyl) stert, from the verb . See below.


(en noun)
  • The beginning of an activity.
  • The movie was entertaining from start to finish.
  • * Shakespeare
  • I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, / Straining upon the start .
  • A sudden involuntary movement.
  • He woke with a start .
  • * L'Estrange
  • Nature does nothing by starts and leaps, or in a hurry.
  • * Robert Louis Stevenson, Olalla
  • The sight of his scared face, his starts and pallors and sudden harkenings, unstrung me
  • The beginning point of a race, a board game, etc.
  • An appearance in a sports game from the beginning of the match.
  • Jones has been a substitute before, but made his first start for the team last Sunday.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=February 12 , author=Ian Hughes , title=Arsenal 2 - 0 Wolverhampton\ , work=BBC citation , page= , passage=Wilshere, who made his first start for England in the midweek friendly win over Denmark, raced into the penalty area and chose to cross rather than shoot - one of the very few poor selections he made in the match. }}
  • A young plant germinated]] in a pot to be [[transplant, transplanted later.
  • Etymology 2

    From (etyl) . More at (l).


    (en verb)
  • (label) To begin, commence, initiate.
  • # To set in motion.
  • #* (Joseph Addison) (1672-1719)
  • I was engaged in conversation upon a subject which the people love to start in discourse.
  • #* , chapter=22
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=In the autumn there was a row at some cement works about the unskilled labour men. A union had just been started for them and all but a few joined. One of these blacklegs was laid for by a picket and knocked out of time.}}
  • # To begin.
  • #* {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-19, author=(Peter Wilby)
  • , volume=189, issue=6, page=30, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= Finland spreads word on schools , passage=Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting.}}
  • # (senseid)To initiate operation of a vehicle or machine.
  • # To put or raise (a question, an objection); to put forward (a subject for discussion).
  • # To bring onto being or into view; to originate; to invent.
  • #* Sir (1628–1699)
  • Sensual men agree in the pursuit of every pleasure they can start .
  • To begin an activity.
  • * , chapter=1
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients, chapter=1 , passage=Thinks I to myself, “Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer ‘cottage’ 
  • To startle or be startled; to move or be moved suddenly.
  • # To jerk suddenly in surprise.
  • #* (William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • But if he start , / It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
  • #* (John Dryden) (1631-1700)
  • I start as from some dreadful dream.
  • #* (Isaac Watts) (1674-1748)
  • Keep your soul to the work when ready to start aside.
  • # To move suddenly from its place or position; to displace or loosen; to dislocate.
  • #* Wiseman
  • One, by a fall in wrestling, started the end of the clavicle from the sternum.
  • # To awaken suddenly.
  • #* (rfdate) (Mary Shelley)
  • I started from my sleep with horror
  • # To disturb and cause to move suddenly; to startle; to alarm; to rouse; to cause to flee or fly.
  • #* (William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • Upon malicious bravery dost thou come / To start my quiet?
  • To break away, to come loose.
  • * 1749 , (John Cleland), (w) (Penguin 1985 reprint), page 66:
  • we could, with the greatest ease as well as clearness, see all objects (ourselves unseen) only by applying our eyes close to the crevice, where the moulding of a panel had warped or started a little on the other side.
  • (nautical) To pour out; to empty; to tap and begin drawing from.
  • Usage notes
    * In uses 1.1 and 1.2 this is a catenative verb that takes the infinitive (to'') or the gerund (''-ing ) form. There is no change in meaning. * For more information, see
    * stop
    Derived terms
    * * starter

    See also

    * at the start * false start * for a start * get started * jump-start * start off * start on * start out * start up

    Etymology 3


    (en noun)
  • A tail, or anything projecting like a tail.
  • A handle, especially that of a plough.
  • The curved or inclined front and bottom of a water wheel bucket.
  • The arm, or level, of a gin, drawn around by a horse.
  • (Webster 1913)



    (wikipedia first)

    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), (m), from (etyl) (m), .

    Alternative forms

    * firste (archaic) * fyrst (obsolete) * fyrste (obsolete)


  • Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=2 , passage=Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.}}
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-03, volume=408, issue=8847, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Yesterday’s fuel , passage=The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).}}
  • Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest.
  • * 1784 : William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c. , PREFACE
  • THE favourable reception the Orrery has met with from Per?ons of the fir?t di?tinction, and from Gentlemen and Ladies in general, has induced me to add to it ?everal new improvements in order to give it a degree of Perfection; and di?tingui?h it from others; which by Piracy, or Imitation, may be introduced to the Public.
    Alternative forms
    * ; (in names of monarchs and popes) I


  • Before anything else; firstly.
  • * , chapter=8
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients , passage=That concertina was a wonder in its way. The handles that was on it first was wore out long ago, and he'd made new ones of braided rope yarn. And the bellows was patched in more places than a cranberry picker's overalls.}}
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-29, volume=407, issue=8842, page=29, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Unspontaneous combustion , passage=Since the mid-1980s, when Indonesia first began to clear its bountiful forests on an industrial scale in favour of lucrative palm-oil plantations, “haze” has become an almost annual occurrence in South-East Asia.}}


  • (uncountable) The person or thing in the first position.
  • * 1699 , , Heads designed for an essay on conversations
  • Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace: the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness: one gives substance and form to the statue, the other polishes it.
  • (uncountable) The first gear of an engine.
  • (countable) Something that has never happened before; a new occurrence.
  • (countable, baseball) first base
  • (countable, British, colloquial) A first-class honours degree.
  • (countable, colloquial) A first-edition copy of some publication.
  • A fraction of an integer ending in one.
  • Derived terms

    * feet first * firstborn * first-class * first gear * first imperative (Latin grammar) * first of all * first place * first things first * first up

    See also

    * primary

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), from (etyl) (m), (m), . See also (l).


    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) Time; time granted; respite.
  • Statistics