initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv How to pronounce initiative (audio) also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an introductory step took the initiative in attempting to settle the issue
2 : energy or aptitude displayed in initiation of action : enterprise showed great initiative
3a : the right to initiate legislative action
b : a procedure enabling a specified number of voters by petition to propose a law and secure its submission to the electorate or to the legislature for approval — compare referendum sense 1
on one's own initiative
: at one's own discretion : independently of outside influence or control

initiative

adjective
\ i-ˈni-shə-tiv How to pronounce initiative (audio) also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to initiation : introductory, preliminary

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Examples of initiative in a Sentence

Noun … on the day before their Club Med flight she took the initiative of telephoning Franco from work, ostensibly to tell him that she had really admired his new place … — John Barth, Atlantic, March 1995 Following initiatives begun before the First World War, thirty-four states instituted or expanded workers' compensation laws in the 1920s. — Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 1988 Since the social victim has been oppressed by society, he comes to feel that his individual life will be improved more by changes in society than by his own initiative. — Shelby Steele, Harper's, June 1988 If you want to meet her, you're going to have to take the initiative and introduce yourself. The company has the opportunity to seize the initiative by getting its new products to the market before its competitors. The governor has proposed a new initiative to improve conditions in urban schools. Adjective Luther's daring initiative thoughts did indeed come from above, but he owed them to no man or age. — Junius B. Remensnyder, What the World Owes Luther, 1917 Many writers maintain that there is a rule of International Law forbidding the commencement of war without a declaration of war. But such rule, in fact, does not exist, for a great many wars take place without an initiative declaration of war. — Lassa Oppenheim, International Law, 1906
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The initiative will be multi-pronged, chipping away at the barriers that have hindered the ability of many African Americans and Latinos to buy property, launch a business or find work. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "JP Morgan Chase to spend $30 billion to close the racial wealth gap," 8 Oct. 2020 Whitaker said the initiative will be important moving forward as the state and city ease more restrictions on businesses. Abdel Jimenez, chicagotribune.com, "It’s a four-peat: Chicago again voted best large city by Conde Nast Traveler readers," 6 Oct. 2020 The foundation’s initiative is to distribute 1.5 million books to nonprofits and community groups nationwide as restrictions on schools and libraries continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dallas News, "Dallas-area children to receive more than 20,000 books to encourage reading during COVID-19 pandemic," 6 Oct. 2020 The initiative is part of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's program aiming to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021 and accelerate the development of other therapeutics and diagnostics. Salma Reyes, The Arizona Republic, "Effort to double plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors launches in Phoenix area," 30 Sep. 2020 With five weeks left until the presidential election, the initiative to vote by mail is well underway. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Everyone Should Be Double-Checking The Names On Their Absentee Ballot — Here’s Why," 29 Sep. 2020 The initiative is the company's fourth since 2017 celebrating the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "UMG Unveils Special Programming, Mentorship Opportunities for Black Creatives & Students," 28 Sep. 2020 The initiative may have been where Leopold began to formulate his famous land ethic, which might be framed as an extension of the communitarian ideal to the natural world. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "How to Make Progressivism Mean Something Again," 25 Sep. 2020 Redmayne acknowledges the unorthodox nature of the arrangement and says the initiative is the first step in his efforts to turn Phillips’s jewelry department into a standalone retail operation. James Tarmy, Bloomberg.com, "Phillips Auction House Is Commissioning Its Own $200,000 Jewels," 24 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Paizo undertook relatively significant changes to the skill system, how initiative order is determined, and the iconic critical success and critical failure criteria. Sam Ferguson, Ars Technica, "How to follow-up Pathfinder? Improve the game, don’t radically change its character," 30 July 2019 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 Paizo undertook relatively significant changes to the skill system, how initiative order is determined, and the iconic critical success and critical failure criteria. Sam Ferguson, Ars Technica, "How to follow-up Pathfinder? Improve the game, don’t radically change its character," 30 July 2019 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'initiative.' 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 initiative

Noun

1793, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for initiative

Noun

see initiate entry 1

Adjective

see initiate entry 1

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Time Traveler for initiative

Time Traveler

The first known use of initiative was in 1605

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Statistics for initiative

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Initiative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiative. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for initiative

initiative

noun
How to pronounce initiative (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of initiative

: the power or opportunity to do something before others do
: the energy and desire that is needed to do something
: a plan or program that is intended to solve a problem

initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv How to pronounce initiative (audio) \

Kids Definition of initiative

1 : a first step or movement I took the initiative and called first.
2 : energy shown in getting action started He's a person of great initiative.

initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv, -shē-ə-tiv How to pronounce initiative (audio) \

Legal Definition of initiative

1 : the especially introductory series of steps taken to cause a desired result the deposing party would ordinarily be required to take the initiative in arranging a depositionAndrews v. Bradshaw, 895 P.2d 973 (1995)
2a : the right to initiate legislative action
b : a procedure enabling a specified number of voters by petition to propose a law and secure its submission to the electorate or to the legislature for approval — see also referendum
on one's own initiative
: at one's own discretion : independently of outside influence, suggestion, or control the court may reduce a sentence on its own initiativeGhrist v. People, 897 P.2d 809 (1995)

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Comments on initiative

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