(to be) back to square one

Idiom Definition

"(to be) back to square one"

to start again from the beginning;

to be back at the beginning

Idiom Definition - back to square one


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - back to square one

Susan has been using her computer to work on a big project for the last two hours when suddenly her computer turns off.   Susan had forgotten to save her work.  When Susan restarts her computer, she discovers that all her work is gone. 

Susan is back to square one.

Susan needs to begin her project again from the beginning.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - back to square one

Jillian's father, Scott, has just finished assembling a doll house for his daughter's birthday.  There are pieces left over and the doll house is crooked and keeps falling over.  The doors and windows are not operating correctly.  After studying the situation and the instructions, Scott decides that he needs to take the doll house completely apart and...

go back to square one.

(to be) back to square one - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,126   click for frequency by country

(to be) back to square one - Gerund Form:

Being back to square one can be a frustrating experience.

Going back to square one can often be the only way to solve a problem.

(to be) back to square one - Examples:

1)  Often after half a dozen re-arrangements, it may even go back to square one. With no change in the looks or result at all!

2)  ... they will say that it was a property dispute then it is back to square one and the whole cycle of forgiveness etc is repeated.

3)  ... may become a forgotten episode and a fresh start may take the case back to square one.

4)  ... was sent back to square one after a current Supreme Court larger bench adjourned the case for a new bench.

5)  ... dead end. She restarted her efforts early this year, but was back to square one as the passport officers demanded an NOC from her ex-husband again.

6)  ... it's back to rebuilding the basics of what we discuss below. Back to square one, perhaps, but I know there are ...

7)  Hannaford was left homeless again, without benefits and "back to square one". 

8)  We have made many diplomatic initiatives but unfortunately things always come back to square one and we have to start afresh.

9)  Six years after Ireland agreed to introduce water charges and we're back to square one. We still don't know how to fund upgrades and day-to-day operations.

10)  We have to go back to square one and realize that a "War On Terror" is a fool's mission.

11)  Let's go back to square one and consider the basic principles behind any successful business. 

12)  I am so tired of going back to square one to learn how to open my recently used Word document.

13)  Everything is in such disarray, that you need to get back to square one.

14)  And suddenly you're right back to square one, in the exact same situation you were to begin with.

15)  I'm at a point where I'm going back to square one to teach myself the basics again so I can get a better result.

16) We are back to square one. No one really knows what to expect tomorrow. 

17)  We are back to square one and specific browser builds will be the reference used in specifications and contracts.

18)  A good teacher will take you back to square one, help you center yourself, help you reset what you have learned thus far.

19) When the placebo effect wears off, you are back to square one

20)  It brings us right back down to zero -- -- back to square one.