Sometimes we have to start over something completely from the beginning. It could be a math problem where you just can’t figure out where you messed up or a project at work with bad initial outcomes. We have to go back to the start and do it all over again. You’ve been there too, right? If yes, you can say that you were back to square one. Have you heard this expression? It is a commonly used English idiom. Continue reading to learn the meaning and origin of ‘back to square one.’
Meaning of Back to Square One
It is common for native English speakers to casually use idioms in everyday conversation. Without knowing the exact meaning of the idioms, it can be hard to understand the context. That’s why it is important to learn idioms and common English expressions if you want to really improve your conversation skills along with vocabulary.
What is square one?
Square one means the starting point or initial stage.
Back to Square One Meaning
If you are back to square one, you are starting everything over from the first stage.
Origin of Back to Square One
The expression “back to square one” comes from the days when people listen to soccer on the radio. Yes, people actually did that, and it was popular around the mid-20th century! In order to make it easier for listeners to picture what was going on, the field was divided into imaginary squares. And square one was the area around the goalmouth.
The commentator would say, “back to square one,” in frustration when the ball goes out of bounds or someone passes the ball back to the goalkeeper. Aren’t those moves boring? The players could have gone on the offensive and moved up the field which is much more exciting.
Back to Square One Examples
Here are some examples of square one used in a sentence:
- Jack lost everything he invested into bitcoins, so he’s back to square one.
- I got the answer wrong for this math question, but I don’t know where I messed up. Guess I’m back to square one!
- That project was a failure. Your team should go back to square one.
Other English Idioms
If you want to learn more English idioms or expressions, check out these articles as well.
- English Idiom: Bee in your bonnet
- English Idiom: Crack the whip
- English Idiom: Blow off some steam
- English Idiom: A dime a dozen
- English Idiom: Turn a blind eye
FAQs About Back to Square One Meaning
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about “back to square one.”
What does the phrase back to square one mean?
It means going back to the initial stage and starting something over again.
How do you say back to square one in other words?
Here are some synonyms or similar phrases of “back to square one:”
- begin again
- make a fresh start
- start from scratch
- start over
What is an example sentence using back to square one?
These are some example sentences using back to square one:
- If I get these questions wrong, I have to go back to square one.
- I was going to bake brownies for my girlfriend, but I accidentally burnt all of them. I guess I’m back to square one!
Back to Square One Meaning: Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts on the English idiom Back to Square One? Have you ever heard someone using this in a conversation? Try making a sentence on your own using the expression. This way, you will be able to remember it better! Also, if there is another English expression you want to learn, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.