initiative

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

Definition of initiative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to initiation : introductory, preliminary

initiative

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

Definition of initiative (Entry 2 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

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Synonyms for initiative

Synonyms: Noun

action, aggressiveness, ambition, drive, enterprise, go, hustle

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Examples of initiative in a Sentence

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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

HM Revenue & Customs’s Making Tax Digital initiative has been in the works since 2015, and comes into effect April 1. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "U.K. Companies Say New Electronic Tax Reporting Rules Add to Brexit Burden," 29 Mar. 2019 As part of the tour, Wen is learning about local initiatives that could be rolled out at clinics across the country. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "The New President Of Planned Parenthood Has Big Plans For The Future," 14 Mar. 2019 Specific initiatives include small business loans for restaurants, opening community kitchens and gardens, and bringing fresh food to corner stores. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How cities became more equitable in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 In May, Marcus became the head of the company’s blockchain initiatives. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Wealth managers and charities are looking forward to an IPO-rich 2019," 21 Dec. 2018 And here’s another takeaway: Maybe ballot initiatives on political reform are promising. Lee Drutman, Vox, "One big winner last night: political reform," 7 Nov. 2018 Here’s a breakdown of 10 critical measures and initiatives on ballots this November. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Environmental Measures on the 2018 Midterm Election Ballots You Should Know About," 18 Oct. 2018 The fourth-generation Arizona resident is also planning to set forth initiatives for tuition-free community college, investments in renewable energy, and tighter gun legislation. Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, "David Garcia Could Be the First Latinx Governor of Arizona in 44 Years," 29 Aug. 2018 Trump’s history of harsh rhetoric targeting minorities also taints standard-fare GOP initiatives such as cutting food stamps and imposing work requirements on Medicaid and other social services. Annie Linskey, BostonGlobe.com, "President Trump’s racially charged words dovetail with harsh policies," 9 July 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

Adjective

1605, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1793, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for initiative

Adjective

see initiate entry 1

Noun

see initiate entry 1

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Statistics for initiative

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Time Traveler for initiative

The first known use of initiative was in 1605

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More Definitions for initiative

initiative

noun

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 oneʼs 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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