back to square one

This page is about the idiom back to square one


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

a. qualified for the tournament

b. failed to qualify

c. won the tournament

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey