Someone who's a nonstarter never seems to succeed or achieve their goals. A baseball player who strikes out every single time he's up at bat is a nonstarter.

A political candidate who loses every election is a nonstarter, and an entrepreneur whose businesses keep failing is also a nonstarter. You can also use this word to describe a plan or idea that's just never going to work: "I can see why you'd want to bring your pony to school, but I think it's a nonstarter." The original meaning of nonstarter was a horse unable to run in a race at the last minute.

Definitions of nonstarter
  1. noun
    an idea or plan that has no chance of being successful
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose
  2. noun
    a person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently
    synonyms: failure, loser, unsuccessful person
    see moresee less
    achiever, succeeder, success, winner
    a person with a record of successes
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    bankrupt, insolvent
    someone who has insufficient assets to cover their debts
    flash in the pan
    someone who enjoys transient success but then fails
    dud, flop, washout
    someone who is unsuccessful
    one at a disadvantage and expected to lose
    type of:
    unfortunate, unfortunate person
    a person who suffers misfortune
  3. noun
    a horse that fails to run in a race for which it has been entered
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bangtail, race horse, racehorse
    a horse bred for racing
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month