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 Texas Take: Get political headlines from across the state sent directly to your inbox Those totals were helped by a fundraising surge that began after the Democrats initiated their impeachment inquiry in September. Jeremy Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "Which Texas cities have given the most to Trump’s re-election?," 6 Dec. 2019 Achievement First officials have said that the school initiated an independent internal investigation when the allegations came to light and that it was determined that some employees did not properly address concerns that had been raised. Steven Goode, courant.com, "Neighbors who witnessed sex in car led to former Hartford teacher’s arrest," 6 Dec. 2019 Christopher Lamiero, a defense attorney and former prosecutor in Alameda County, said murder charges in particular are difficult to prove when there may be doubt about who initiated the violence. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Homicide cases like the Halloween shootout at an Orinda Airbnb are difficult to prove, experts say," 19 Nov. 2019 Fire Chief Arnold says fire crews initiated an aggressive interior fire attack while searching all areas of the home for the victims. Natalya Daoud, Cincinnati.com, "Mother, five children displaced after Evanston house fire," 17 Nov. 2019 The Administration had claimed that the Justice Department had initiated the policy for the purpose of strengthening enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, but later testimony revealed that the White House had used that explanation as a cover. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "The Trump Administration’s Plot to End DACA Faces a Supreme Court Test," 10 Nov. 2019 In the style of the band’s 17th director John Philip Sousa, who initiated the concert tour tradition in 1891, Col. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Marine Corps band to perform in Escondido on Oct. 25," 18 Oct. 2019 Farrow wrote that sources close to Lauer said Nevils sometimes initiated their meetings. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, "Former NBC colleague of Matt Lauer accuses him of rape in new Ronan Farrow book," 9 Oct. 2019 At least 84 protesters were killed, most of them in Baghdad, since Tuesday when demonstrators initiated rallies to demand jobs, improvements to services and an end to corruption in the oil-rich nation. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Calm in Iraqi capital after bloody night of protests," 6 Oct. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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

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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Time Traveler for initiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of initiate was in 1533

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Statistics for initiate

Last Updated

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Initiate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiating. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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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