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 initiate (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 In January, Detroit also asked Parker to initiate a process that could prevent the lawyers from being able to work in Michigan courts. Rosalind S. Helderman, Anchorage Daily News, "Impeachment is over, but other efforts to reckon with Trump’s post-election chaos have just begun," 22 Feb. 2021 The city of Detroit is extending its usual timeline for homeowners to initiate the process to appeal their property values by one week. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit extends timeline to appeal property tax assessments. Here's what to know.," 27 Jan. 2021 His administration has refused to initiate the formal process of transition, leaving open the possibility of procedural havoc in the weeks ahead. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The dangers of Trump’s last stand," 11 Nov. 2020 When asked by a Fox News reporter whether the Trump administration will initiate a smooth transition process, Pompeo refused to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Here’s Why Mike Pompeo’s Refusal To Acknowledge Biden’s Win Is Scaring People," 10 Nov. 2020 The plants are starting to initiate the flowering process that results in their colorful bracts. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, "Early fall blooming is normal for nectarine trees," 17 Oct. 2020 Officers have been required to activate their cameras when they are dispatched to a call or initiate any police activity since Justine Diamond was shot and killed by Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor in 2017. Editors, USA TODAY, "Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, National Prayer Breakfast, SAG Awards nominations: 5 things to know Thursday," 4 Feb. 2021 Ambitions may become more important in February, but this is a time to gather experience rather than initiate something new. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Nov. 15, 2020: Capricorn, you’ve got Midas touch; Libra, start the day with a smile," 15 Nov. 2020 Specifically, the bit of code delivered is a snippet of the virus’s blueprint for the infamous spike protein, which is what the virus uses to latch onto human cells and initiate an infection. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Here’s everything you need to know about Pfizer’s positive vaccine news," 9 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Early in the film, the enigmatic mind thief Cobb (played by DiCaprio) explains the sci-fi notion of building dream worlds to his latest initiate, an architect named Ariadne (Ellen Page). David Sims, The Atlantic, "How Inception Helped Turn Christopher Nolan Into Cinema’s Savior," 4 Aug. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Also announced was a feature called Dynamic View, which automatically adjusts the layout of a Teams Meeting as attendees join, initiate video, or begin to speak or present. Patrick Moorhead, Forbes, "Microsoft’s Most Impactful Announcements At Ignite 2021," 4 Mar. 2021 Science during a crisis is difficult, and the scientific community responded in 2020 with an all-hands effort to design and initiate scores of trials on a moment’s notice. Maciej F. Boni, The Conversation, "Two gaps to fill for the 2021-2022 winter wave of COVID-19 cases," 3 Mar. 2021 If people feel physically distant, initiate conversations that allow everyone to come together. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for December 24, 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 Of the Heat’s wings, Dragic comes closest to matching the drive-and-kick game of Butler, as well as the ability to get to the rim and initiate contact. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Winderman: 2020-21 might have to be an alternate reality for Heat | Commentary," 5 Dec. 2020 Under no conditions can the president direct the Supreme Court to take a case or have a case initiate litigation at the Supreme Court level. Alison Medley, Chron, "Can the president block ballots from being counted? Expert weighs in," 5 Nov. 2020 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

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Initiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiate. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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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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