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

To combat these factors, some firms are introducing new initiatives to urge fathers to take time off. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Oprah Winfrey Empire, Angela Merkel, Paternity Leave: Broadsheet July 12th," 12 July 2018 The league and the Players Coalition have been working in tandem on efforts to support player initiatives in the community and for a variety of social issues. CBS News, "NFL players union files grievance over new national anthem policy," 10 July 2018 The restaurant owners hope the partnership eventually becomes a citywide initiative. Lizzy Alfs, USA TODAY, "Slim & Husky's: 'Pizza beeria' gives Nashville community a slice of fame," 10 July 2018 Some economists attribute that fall to a two-year government initiative to reduce risky borrowing and lending. WSJ, "Cash Flows: Beijing Opens the Taps With Rail Projects and More Lending," 13 July 2018 Dementia Friendly America Initiative is a national initiative to address Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Sara Ervin Walser, Laurel Leader, "Montpelier shindig raises repair money [South Laurel]," 12 July 2018 No major American professional sport has an older fanbase than baseball, and Major League Baseball has recognized that with new initiatives in hopes of making the game more watchable for a wider audience. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Minor league team makes millennials angry with its Millennial Night promotion," 12 July 2018 Unlike in the United States, candidates in most parts of the world cannot simply run on their own initiative. Magda Hinojosa, Washington Post, "Women won big in Mexico’s elections — taking nearly half the legislature’s seats. Here’s why.," 11 July 2018 In 2012, Lewis became the first female athlete sponsored by KPMG, igniting the company's many efforts to empower women through golf and its leadership initiatives. Danielle Page, USA TODAY, "The sponsor that supported this expecting LPGA star," 11 July 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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Phrases Related to initiative

the initiative

Statistics for initiative

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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Comments on initiative

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