1

initiate

play
verb ini·ti·ate \ i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt \

Definition of initiate

initiated; initiating
transitive verb
1 :to cause or facilitate the beginning of :set going
  • initiate a program of reform
  • enzymes that initiate fermentation
2 :to induct into membership by or as if by special rites
3 :to instruct in the rudiments or principles of something :introduce

initiator

play \i-ˈni-shē-ˌā-tər\ noun

Examples of initiate in a Sentence

  1. Doctors have initiated a series of tests to determine the cause of the problem.

  2. The company initiated judicial proceedings against them.

  3. The new recruits will be initiated tomorrow night.

  4. He was initiated into a secret society.

Recent Examples of initiate from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of initiate

Late Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare, from Latin, to induct, from initium

Synonym Discussion of initiate

begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate, usher in mean to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable. begin, opposed to end, is the most general.
    • begin a trip
    • began dancing
start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages.
    • the work started slowly
commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start.
    • commence firing
    • commenced a conversation
initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue.
    • initiated diplomatic contacts
inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance.
    • the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine
usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate.
    • ushered in a period of economic decline

2

initiate

play
adjective ini·tiate \ i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət \

Definition of initiate

1 a :initiated or properly admitted (as to membership or an office)
b :instructed in some secret knowledge
2 obsolete :relating to an initiate

First Known Use of initiate

1537


3

initiate

play
noun ini·tiate \ i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət \

Definition of initiate

1 :a person who is undergoing or has undergone an initiation
2 :a person who is instructed or adept in some special field

Examples of initiate in a Sentence

  1. These secrets are known only to a small group of initiates.

Recent Examples of initiate from the Web

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

First Known Use of initiate

1811



INITIATE Defined for English Language Learners

initiate

play
verb

Definition of initiate for English Language Learners

  • : to cause the beginning of (something) : to start or begin (something)

  • : to formally accept (someone) as a member of a group or organization usually in a special ceremony

  • : to teach (someone) the basic facts or ideas about something


initiate

play
noun

Definition of initiate for English Language Learners

  • : a person who is being formally accepted or who has been formally accepted as a member of a group or organization


INITIATE Defined for Kids

initiate

play
verb ini·ti·ate \ i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt \

Definition of initiate for Students

initiated; initiating
1 :to set going :begin
  • Scientists initiated an experiment.
2 :to admit into a club by special ceremonies
3 :to teach (someone) the basic facts about something
  • She was initiated into the management of money.


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