initiative

adjective
ini·​tia·​tive | \i-ˈni-shə-tiv also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to initiation : introductory, preliminary

initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \i-ˈni-shə-tiv also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an introductory step took the initiative in attempting to settle the issue

2 : energy or aptitude displayed in initiation of action : enterprise showed great initiative

3a : the right to initiate legislative action

b : a procedure enabling a specified number of voters by petition to propose a law and secure its submission to the electorate or to the legislature for approval — compare referendum sense 1

on one's own initiative

: at one's own discretion : independently of outside influence or control

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Synonyms for initiative

Synonyms: Noun

action, aggressiveness, ambition, drive, enterprise, go, hustle

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Examples of initiative in a Sentence

Adjective

Luther's daring initiative thoughts did indeed come from above, but he owed them to no man or age. — Junius B. Remensnyder, What the World Owes Luther, 1917 Many writers maintain that there is a rule of International Law forbidding the commencement of war without a declaration of war. But such rule, in fact, does not exist, for a great many wars take place without an initiative declaration of war. — Lassa Oppenheim, International Law, 1906

Noun

… on the day before their Club Med flight she took the initiative of telephoning Franco from work, ostensibly to tell him that she had really admired his new place … — John Barth, Atlantic, March 1995 Following initiatives begun before the First World War, thirty-four states instituted or expanded workers' compensation laws in the 1920s. — Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 1988 Since the social victim has been oppressed by society, he comes to feel that his individual life will be improved more by changes in society than by his own initiative. — Shelby Steele, Harper's, June 1988 If you want to meet her, you're going to have to take the initiative and introduce yourself. The company has the opportunity to seize the initiative by getting its new products to the market before its competitors. The governor has proposed a new initiative to improve conditions in urban schools.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Audience 1: Are there some good technology companies or initiatives that are going on today? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 2018 This was President Bush's initiative from beginning to end. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Read Brian Mulroney's Moving Eulogy at George H.W. Bush's Funeral," 5 Dec. 2018 In September, United and Palantir Technologies announced a long-term relationship to deploy Palantir Foundry to accelerate enterprise-wide data initiatives across a range of critical business units as the airline's central platform. Alyson Behr, Ars Technica, "More than an auto-pilot, AI charts its course in aviation," 5 Dec. 2018 And in October, Obama announced the Global Girls Alliance, a fundraising organization and initiative dedicated to connecting grassroots projects focused on girls’ education and well-being around the world. Vogue, "Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Out Less Than a Month, Is the Best-Selling Hardcover of 2018," 30 Nov. 2018 She's also involved in the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, Her Majesty's global conservation initiative. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Angelina Jolie Had a Royal Meeting Over the Weekend and We Missed It," 26 Nov. 2018 STATE Bags Date: November 23-26 Discount: 35 percent off sitewide and will be donating a percentage of its Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale proceeds directly to The Osborne Association, a recent partner of STATE’s #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiative. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "50+ Black Friday Deals That Will Be Hard to Skip This Year," 21 Nov. 2018 Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative guided American students toward postsecondary education, and her Let Girls Learn program bolstered education for girls around the world. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "Michelle Obama on Improving STEM Education for Girls," 13 Nov. 2018 The one bit of bad news for legal marijuana came from North Dakota, where voters rejected an initiative that would have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. German Lopez, Vox, "Marijuana legalization had a pretty good election night," 7 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'initiative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of initiative

Adjective

1795, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1793, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for initiative

Adjective

see initiate entry 1

Noun

see initiate entry 1

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Time Traveler for initiative

The first known use of initiative was in 1793

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More Definitions for initiative

initiative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of initiative

the initiative : the power or opportunity to do something before others do

: the energy and desire that is needed to do something

: a plan or program that is intended to solve a problem

initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \i-ˈni-shə-tiv \

Kids Definition of initiative

1 : a first step or movement I took the initiative and called first.

2 : energy shown in getting action started He's a person of great initiative.

initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \i-ˈni-shə-tiv, -shē-ə-tiv \

Legal Definition of initiative 

1 : the especially introductory series of steps taken to cause a desired result the deposing party would ordinarily be required to take the initiative in arranging a depositionAndrews v. Bradshaw, 895 P.2d 973 (1995)

2a : the right to initiate legislative action

b : a procedure enabling a specified number of voters by petition to propose a law and secure its submission to the electorate or to the legislature for approval — see also referendum

on oneʼs own initiative

: at one's own discretion : independently of outside influence, suggestion, or control the court may reduce a sentence on its own initiativeGhrist v. People, 897 P.2d 809 (1995)

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