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Difference between Give someone a head start and Give someone a start

give someone a head startput smb. in an advantageous position allowing to start smth. earlier:

  • If we give them a head start they’re going to do as well as other children.

give someone a start

1. startle a person:

  • I have to say that the sirens went off at noon today and gave me a start.

2. help a person start his stalled car:

  • John gave me a start when my car was stalled this morning.

3. assist smb. in entering on a career:

  • So she lent me some money and gave me a start in business.

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase get someone started—cause a person to begin smth.:

  • Taking your child for visits to museums will get him started to having an interest in science.