back to square one

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English[edit]

Snakes send one back to square one
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Etymology[edit]

1952, from children’s game snakes and ladders, possibly influenced by hopscotch.[1][2]

Adjective[edit]

back to square one (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Located back at the start, as after a dead-end or failure.
    After spending six hours on the intake we realized that there was nothing wrong with it, so we are back to square one.

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

back to square one (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Back to the start, as after a dead-end or failure.
    After spending six hours on the intake we realized that there was nothing wrong with it, so we went back to square one.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Extract revised for OED Online", Oxford English Dictionary.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Back to square one”, The Phrase Finder, Gary Martin.