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back to square one

Meaning: If you have to go back to square one, you have to stop and start again, usually because something isn't working as well as expected.

For example:

  • We were going to start the new company next month, but it's back to square one now that Omar has changed his mind about investing in it.

  • After they lost the election, the Liberal Party had to go back to square one and come up with some new policies and some new ideas.

Origin: This probably comes from board games in which players start the game from the first square on the board, or "square one".

Quick Quiz:

The team decided to go back to square one after they
  1. qualified for the tournament
  2. failed to qualify
  3. won the tournament

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