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

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

Definition of initiate (Entry 2 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

initiate

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

Definition of initiate (Entry 3 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

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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 Dominic Cummings drove from his home in London to his parents’ Durham farm on March 27, only a few days after Johnson initiated a national lockdown. Fox News, "Boris Johnson resists calls to fire top aide who drove 250 miles to visit parents during lockdown," 24 May 2020 Fuentes initiated email contact with officials at IHS, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency said. Derek Willis, ProPublica, "The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work.," 22 May 2020 If a lifeguard does need to make a water rescue, physical contact with the victim should only be initiated if absolutely necessary, McCrady says. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing Lifeguards to Try to Protect Themselves While Working to Save Lives," 18 May 2020 The Trump administration reversed the first attempt, initiated in the waning days of the Obama administration, after Mr. Trump announced a massive arms sale package on a visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017. Michael Laforgia, New York Times, "President Barack Obama got the U.S. involved in the first place," 16 May 2020 Since the Health Command Operations Center initiated the first curfew on Easter weekend, the police department has issued more than 1,305 citations, Tsosie said. Jamie Landers, azcentral, "Navajo police issue 217 citations during fifth 57-hour curfew weekend," 15 May 2020 Students cannot initiate virtual meetings so they will be created and supervised by staff. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nicolet High School peer tutoring program has moved online, just like classes," 12 May 2020 Lappos is one of eight women who have alleged that Biden initiated unwanted or inappropriate physical contact with them. Emilie Munson, SFChronicle.com, "Exclusive: Joe Biden accuser Amy Lappos says, ‘I don’t want to be weaponized’," 9 May 2020 Nirenberg said the city has seen widespread compliance with social distancing measures at businesses that reopened Friday following Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order initiating the first phase of a statewide economic reopening. Diego Mendoza-moyers, ExpressNews.com, "Community COVID-19 cases continue to increase in San Antonio area; no new deaths reported," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The project mostly caters to initiates, who can test its observations against their prior knowledge of Ferrante, but the authors themselves seem attracted to the role of the amateur. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "A New Book on Elena Ferrante Rethinks What Criticism Can Be," 6 Feb. 2020 On Election Day, Colorado voters will be asked to consider a ballot initiate directing Colorado Parks and Wildlife to import wolves from the north and turn them loose by 2023. Ben Long, Outdoor Life, "Colorado Braces for Wolves as Politics Clash with Wildlife Management," 13 Jan. 2020 The team could also self-initiate calls, show up in outreach worker’s role to connect a homeless person to services or act as a mental health worker, as dispatched through Multnomah County’s crisis line. oregonlive, "Homeless first responder team to be housed in Portland fire bureau under new proposal," 15 Nov. 2019 When the spray was spent, the initiates formed two lines and crawled towards the dais. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019 Like other ideological movements, Randism brims with a jargon of authenticity, tailored to reinforce the sense of belonging for young initiates. Alexander Sammon, The New Republic, "The Last of the Ayn Rand Acolytes," 14 Aug. 2019 The plan outline several initiates to help manage officers’ time and improve accountability. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Here are 5 main takeaways new crime plan from Baltimore Police commissioner Harrison’s," 18 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The office will oversee the DWP’s internal audit and special investigations divisions, as well as initiate investigations, the mayor’s office said. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "DWP, reeling from scandals and FBI raids, gets a new watchdog office," 13 Sep. 2019

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

Noun

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for initiate

Verb

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

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Time Traveler for initiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of initiate was in 1533

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Statistics for initiate

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Initiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiate. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for initiate

initiate

verb
How to pronounce initiate (audio)

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
How to pronounce initiate (audio)

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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Comments on initiate

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