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nonstarter can be a synonym for an also-ran, which is something or someone who loses a race. A nonstarter can also be something that will not accomplish its goal or be effective. Sometimes it is literally something which does not start. In sports it is someone who is not a starter, or does not begin a game on the field. It’s plural form is nonstarters.

Unlike other ‘starter’ words, such as kick-starter or self-starter, nonstarter is spelled without a hyphen as one word in the United States. Outside of the US, it is still hyphenated.


Even as Assam paid rich tributes to the legendary singer, musician, poet and filmmaker Bhupen Hazarika on his third death anniversary on Wednesday, an ambitious Rs 13-crore project announced by the Assam government more than a year ago to build a befitting memorial for him has remained a non-starter. [Indian Express]

“If you have lots of arguments that cannot be resolved quickly, that’s a nonstarter,” says Adora. [Chicago Tribune]

The cost has always made the idea a nonstarter, but times — and real estate values — have changed. [The New York Times]

Fights with Richar Abril and Mickey Bey are nonstarters for many reasons. [ESPN]

Andy Cross, Anton McDowell and Gerry Campbell were non-starters against Hurlford and the latest additions to this catalogue of worries are Jack Marriot and goalkeeper Gary Whyte who both ended up hospitalised after picking up heavy knocks in the 6-1 drubbing. [Evening Times Glascow]