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

All-Metro midfielder Tyquan Stroud and Van Danielson are a dynamic one-two punch to initiate the offense and defender Dmitri Jordan, a four-year starter, keeps things in check in back. Glenn Graham, baltimoresun.com, "2019 Baltimore-area boys soccer preseason Top 15 poll," 28 Aug. 2019 Based on the real experiences of an FBI agent who initiated the bureau’s profiling of serial killers, the Netflix drama undoubtedly benefits from the American public’s timeless fascination with true crime. cleveland.com, "How the same actor ended up playing Charles Manson in ‘Mindhunter’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’," 23 Aug. 2019 One proposal would increase the size of rewards by initiating a statewide program that would apply credits for EVs at the point of purchase. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Some electric vehicle drivers will receive $850 in credit on their SDG&E bills," 23 July 2019 Keep in mind: Andre Iguodala, who was traded to Memphis so the Warriors could accommodate Russell’s four-year, $117 maximum contract, was a valuable ballhandler capable of initiating the offense. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Five things to watch from Warriors at Las Vegas summer league," 4 July 2019 With Davis in the second unit, Malik Beasley, Monte Morris and Will Barton would be free to initiate offense and Davis could mop up the glass. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets free agency: 8 realistic targets in wake of Denver’s Paul Millsap decision," 29 June 2019 That’s why at the start of the next school year, New York City is revolutionizing its school system by initiating the nation’s most comprehensive approach to social-emotional learning in every classroom. Chirlane Mccray, Fortune, "Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray: Why We're Introducing Social-Emotional Learning in New York City Schools," 20 June 2019 Culver does a little bit of everything - creating with the ball in his hands, initiating the offense, shooting off the dribble, capably defending multiple positions - with no maintenance required. Ben Golliver, courant.com, "2019 NBA mock draft: How will Pelicans build around Zion Williamson?," 18 June 2019 On July 7, a shaman group led guests into a ceremony area by initiating a traditional dance called fuego. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "The Bride Wore Luar and Celebrated Indigenous Traditions at This Wedding in Mexico," 2 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

3 Sep 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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