initiate

verb
ini·​ti·​ate | \i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt \
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 \

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 \

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 \ 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

The weekly previously reported that Kourtney, 39, was the one who initiated the breakup with Younes, 25. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Update: Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima Are Still Reportedly Broken Up," 4 Sep. 2018 Following the Kimmel interview, Twitter quickly took Kardashian to task, calling her uninformed and pointing out policies the Trump administration has initiated that deserve scrutiny, including the separation of children at the border. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Kim Kardashian Faces Backlash After Claiming She Has 'Nothing Bad to Say' About Donald Trump," 31 July 2018 In 2013, just a year after scientists had initiated the eradication of the invaders, native seedlings had increased 130 percent, and populations of arthropods, like insects and crabs, skyrocketed over 350 percent. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Rats! Coral Reefs Aren't Getting the Bird Poop They Need," 11 July 2018 The result: while the U.S. has initiated the trade conflict, its markets are so far holding up better than those in China or Europe. Shen Hong, WSJ, "When China and U.S. Fight Over Trade, European Stocks Get Hurt," 26 June 2018 The pay gap in sports has been an especially pressing issue in recent years, as several women’s teams have initiated campaigns advocating for gender pay equity. Jessica Spitz /, NBC News, "The top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world made $3.8 billion. No women made the list.," 8 June 2018 According to Lewis, Advanced Disposal has purchased land for with an eye toward expanding, but the detailed plans have not been drawn up and permitting has not been initiated. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "With lawsuits already filed over Zion landfill odor, residents wary of possible expansion," 7 June 2018 To supplement its domestic bureaus and four foreign bureaus, CNN will subscribe to the various newsfilm services and has initiated newsfilm exchange agreements with various U.S. and foreign broadcast stations and networks, Schonfeld said. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "1980: CNN Launches, Ted Turner Says It Won't Bow to Ad Pressure," 1 June 2018 On Friday, Trump initiated the first tariffs on some of the U.S.'s top trading partners. Seth Slabaugh, Indianapolis Star, "Sen. Joe Donnelly needs to keep his pro-Trump voters. But can he?," 12 July 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

12 Nov 2018

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)

: 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 \
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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