Prefixing an asterisk disables alias expansion. START might be an alias to be expanded by the parser; *START will not be interpreted as an alias. This type of construction is sometimes used to prevent infinite recursion when using aliases to modify commands:
alias start=*start /pgm
This may prove useful in my sudo (elevate) alias that uses some Windows Task Scheduler trickery to elevate a program with out the pesky UAC dialog.