Don’t Start

Meaning of Idiom ‘Don’t (You) Start’


Don’t start with me
Don’t start on me
Don’t start up on me

Don’t start is an expression used to tell someone not to complain, lecture, or scold you. Usually, the idiom is reserved for those who often annoy you with criticisms or complaints.


The idiom can be used as a standalone explanation. For example:

John has a hard time keeping a job. Mary often lectures him about his inability to maintain steady employment, telling him he needs to grow up. John tells Mary that he just lost his new job. Mary begins to speak but John interrupts and says “Don’t start!”

John might also say:

“Don’t start on me, Mary! I know what you’re going to say.”

“Don’t get started on me, Mary.” or

“Don’t start with me!”

He might also add a reminder of something he has said in the past:

“Don’t start! I told you I can’t stand working for other people.”


Of unclear origin.

More Idioms Starting with D

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More Start Idioms

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