initiate

verb
ini·​ti·​ate | \ i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce initiate (audio) \
initiated; initiating

Definition of initiate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

initiate

adjective
ini·​tiate | \ i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət How to pronounce initiate (audio) \

Definition of initiate (Entry 2 of 3)

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

initiate

noun
ini·​tiate | \ i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət How to pronounce initiate (audio) \

Definition of initiate (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from initiate

Verb

initiator \ i-​ˈni-​shē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce initiator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for initiate

Verb

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

Examples of initiate in a Sentence

Verb

Doctors have initiated a series of tests to determine the cause of the problem. The company initiated judicial proceedings against them. The new recruits will be initiated tomorrow night. He was initiated into a secret society.

Noun

These secrets are known only to a small group of initiates.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Jünger’s colleagues at the Majestic also included Werner Best, the Gestapo officer who had initiated a registry of German Jews and was to organize Einsatzgruppen death squads in eastern Europe. Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘A German Officer in Occupied Paris’ Review: A Very Refined Occupation," 15 Feb. 2019 The person who initiates legal proceedings often called the petitioner in family law. Prenuptial agreement. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "Your Divorce Glossary: A-to-Z Terms You Need to Know," 26 Nov. 2018 Albert’s campaign that year seemed as perplexing as the one Tomás initiated this week. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Tomás Uresti’s Senate campaign an obvious act of brotherly loyalty," 26 June 2018 McCain returned to Washington some days later and voted to initiate debate on the Republican repeal and replace gambit. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Amid cancer treatment, McCain exercised significant political clout from afar," 25 Aug. 2018 The National Institutes of Health recently sought to initiate a large randomized control trial, the gold standard for understanding causal relationships, to look into the benefits of moderate drinking. Christina Mair, Philly.com, "Alcohol kills many more Americans than opioids do. Why do we think drinking is healthy?," 9 July 2018 But with residents so outraged by poor drinking water, LAFCO is expected Wednesday to initiate its third attempt to dissolve Sativa. Ruben Vives, latimes.com, "Abolishing a water district isn't easy — even when it's accused of nepotism, mismanagement and delivering brown water," 7 July 2018 In 2017, researchers discovered a flaw that would allow someone to capture part of the handshake used to initiate a secure WPA2 connection over Wi-Fi. Dwight Silverman, San Antonio Express-News, "Wi-Fi upgrade will boost security," 29 June 2018 Martin has even mentioned having the 6-foot-11 Porter, with his adept passing skills, bring the ball upcourt to initiate offense. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "Mizzou's Porter will help make SEC basketball even more competitive than last season," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

More mature initiates have the benefit of experience to guide them through an informed choice. Brennan Kilbane, WSJ, "You’re Not Too Old for a Tattoo," 25 July 2018 Like many initiates, Drotar, a landscaper and father of two who drives a pickup truck, spends a lot of time explaining the organization’s strange name. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "A rural Maryland chapter of the Odd Fellows society fights to save its 1850s building — and memories within," 25 Apr. 2018 Democrats say 3,200 incoming freshmen will be eligible for the initiate in the next fiscal year. Sandra Gomez-aceves, courant.com, "5 Areas Of Common Ground In Democratic, Republican Budget Proposals," 21 Apr. 2018 Journalist Frank Parlato, who first broke the story about the cult, told the New York Post that Mack came up with the idea of branding initiates' skin, near their groin area. Fox News, "'Smallville' actress Allison Mack arrested for alleged sex cult involvement, reports say," 20 Apr. 2018 Today, Kappa Alpha Theta has more than 145 chapters in the US and Canada, with nearly 220,000 initiates—including famous sisters such as Tory Burch, Sheryl Crow, Laura Bush, Melinda Gates, Dylan Lauren, and Cindy McCain. Nadine Jolie Courtney, Town & Country, "Which Sorority Was Actually the First?," 18 May 2017 Bayou Greenway day changes location each year in an effort to involve all of the communities, and to promote the fact that once the initiate is completed, many different parts of the city will be connected. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "Bayou Greenway Day to highlight Houston Parks Board project," 13 Mar. 2018 And there are questions about the effectiveness of such programs, and in some instances, concern that some initiates — and penalties — have gone too far. Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY, "Google manifesto spotlights enduring sexism issues," 10 Aug. 2017 Payne in the hills of northeast Alabama, waiting for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take him into custody and likely initiate deportation proceedings. Connor Sheets, AL.com, "Alabama Dreamer faces deportation after failing to signal, driving with empty beer bottles," 9 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of initiate

Verb

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for initiate

Verb

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

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Statistics for initiate

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for initiate

The first known use of initiate was in 1533

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More Definitions for initiate

initiate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of initiate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : 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

noun

English Language Learners Definition of initiate (Entry 2 of 2)

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

initiate

verb
ini·​ti·​ate | \ i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce initiate (audio) \
initiated; initiating

Kids Definition of initiate

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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More from Merriam-Webster on initiate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with initiate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for initiate

Spanish Central: Translation of initiate

Nglish: Translation of initiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of initiate for Arabic Speakers

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