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

Here are just a few of the group’s accomplishments: The MGCSA initiated the youth gardening program at the San Antonio Botanical Garden that has provided gardening space and instruction for over 7,000 youngsters. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "It’s time to prep your roses, San Antonio," 16 Aug. 2019 As the country reckoned with the Parkland, Fla. mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, some financial companies initiated measures to prevent gun violence. Ellen Florian, Fortune, "Are Credit Card Companies the Key to Stopping Mass Shooters? These Visa Shareholders Think So," 14 Aug. 2019 The suit alleges that Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson and several others showed up at Cider Riot, initiated a fight with customers and caused mayhem as well as physical injury to at least one person. oregonlive.com, "Fourth suspect arrested in connection with May Day clash, following three others within a week," 14 Aug. 2019 An exchange of letters the city initiated with the county last week indicates there might still be room for a deal between the two public entities. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: Oakland A’s shouldn’t get sweetheart Coliseum deal," 13 Aug. 2019 City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents this part of South L.A., said the city attorney typically initiates nuisance abatement investigations after numerous complaints. Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times, "Nipsey Hussle died in the Marathon Clothing lot. Will his legacy die there too?," 13 Aug. 2019 Officer Guerra observed the suspect vehicle refusing to stop and initiating a pursuit through the City of Bellaire. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 12 Aug. 2019 The White House did not say whether the U.S. or Russia initiated the call — the Kremlin claims the U.S. did. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Trump and Putin spoke about wildfires and trade, White House says," 2 Aug. 2019 The commission has also discussed initiating a speaker series centered around the city's history and icons, and Schaffer said large-scale projects like an art show, music festival and citywide ice cream social have also been discussed. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "200 years of Indianapolis: An early look at next year's bicentennial celebration," 25 July 2019

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

20 Aug 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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