back to square one

Click below to listen to the phrase.


Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) back to the starting point

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

If someone is back to square one, they have failed completely in what they were trying to do, and now have to start again. To go back to square one means to go back to the very first stage of something, to return to the initial starting point.

French translation

retour à la case départ, repartir à zéro

How NOT to translate : *retour au carré numéro 1


Examples in context

‘NAB back to square one on hunt for government relations boss

It’s an understatement to say that NAB’s attempts to recruit a new government relations boss haven’t gone to plan. Four months after firing the start gun on finding a successor to Philippa King, the bank has been left in the lurch after an exhaustive search process chose a candidate who decided against taking the role at the last minute.’

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 2021


Back to square one for Copyright Amendment and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills

Johannesburg - It is back to square one for the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill.

President Cyril Ramaphosa raised reservations about the constitutionality of the bills last year and referred them back to the National Assembly.
This was after he had considered them for 15 months, with the bills having been passed on December 5, 2018.’

IOL Daily, 31 May 2021


Everyday usage

Negotiations have broken down, and it’s back to square one.

I lost all my data when the computer crashed, so I’m afraid I’m going back to square one.

EnglishTonic and Claramedia, 2 July 2021

b) lost in memories

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) penniless

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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