square one

Definitions of square one
  1. noun
    the situation in which you begin an endeavor and to which you return if your efforts fail
    “the police are now back at square one after having arrested and released 27 men”
    “she has tried to diet but always ends up back at square one
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    type of:
    situation, state of affairs
    the general state of things; the combination of circumstances at a given time
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