back to square one


1. return to the start (usu. after failure), come/turn full circle






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go/went back to square one

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This expression refers to the need to revise or begin something again, typically as a result of a previous failure. Its use is very common in a professional context, where it is usually said after a setback. The need to go 'back to square one' may arise as a result of a failure, but it often provides the opportunity to learn important lessons and then come back stronger, and more successful than before. For that reason, the term does not always have a negative connotation. A phrase with a similar meaning is 'back to the drawing board.'

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  1. The runner was back at square one after getting injured and being unable to train.
  2. When it all went wrong, I had to go back to square one and learn from my mistakes.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. The company found themselves back at square one when their ad campaign failed to increase subscriptions. 

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think ahead

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