ini·​tial·​ize | \ i-ˈni-shə-ˌlīz How to pronounce initialize (audio) \
initialized; initializing

Definition of initialize

transitive verb

: to set (something, such as a computer program counter) to a starting position, value, or configuration

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Other Words from initialize

initialization \ i-​ˌni-​sh(ə-​)lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce initialization (audio) \ noun

Examples of initialize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Healey’s complaint, which initializes the lawsuit process, presents damning new details about the way the campaign was allegedly conducted and publicized. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Juul Advertised Its Products on Kids' Websites, New Lawsuit Alleges," 12 Feb. 2020 There was reportedly finalized text for an agreement, initialized by representatives of both sides. Ankit Panda, The New Republic, "The Tragedy of Trump Diplomacy," 9 Sep. 2019 First of all, the majority of model plots on this graphic were initialized at 8pm ET on Tuesday, August 27. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "“Precious hours were wasted”: Trump’s doctored map affected hurricane forecasters," 6 Sep. 2019 Ensemble forecasts capture the uncertainty in a forecast by initializing a computer model with slightly different starting conditions. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Hurricane Florence forecast has gone from bad to worse," 12 Sep. 2018 Each time a train finishes a run, the new system will have to be initialized before the train can turn around and start a new run in the other direction. Kimberly Fornek,, "Metra safety plan proposes fewer morning BNSF express trains from Hinsdale to Chicago," 6 Apr. 2018 The Riverside district said handwritten notes initialized by the district's transportation supervisor indicate the fixes were made the same day as the inspection. Jason Clayworth, USA TODAY, "Inspection records altered a week after Iowa school bus caught fire, killing 2," 8 Feb. 2018 Former San Francisco supervisor and state Sen. Mark Leno initializes his intent to run for mayor at the department of elections on Thursday, May 4, 2017, in city hall in San Francisco, Calif. Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, "Leno, Breed top the field in first poll of SF mayoral election," 3 Jan. 2018 Each 2-Kbyte sector contains a key to initialize the LFSRs. Victor C. Clarke, WIRED, "DVD Hacking for Dummies," 1 June 2001

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'initialize.' 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 initialize

1957, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for initialize

Time Traveler

The first known use of initialize was in 1957

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Statistics for initialize

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Initialize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on initialize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with initialize

Nglish: Translation of initialize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of initialize for Arabic Speakers

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