initiative

adjective
ini·​tia·​tive | \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv also -shē-ə-tiv \

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 \

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

One that is expected to be announced is a new initiative aimed at ending transmissions of HIV by 2030. Julie Pace, The Seattle Times, "Trump to call for unity, face skepticism in State of Union," 4 Feb. 2019 That’s why the town of Gary, Indiana, just 25 miles away from Downtown Chicago, has an initiative called the Dollar House Program. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "No Joke, You Can Buy A House In Indiana For $1," 14 Jan. 2019 These women, in part, inspired me to create Eighteen x 18, an initiative to increase youth voter education and turnout. Yara Shahidi, Teen Vogue, ""Yes She Can" Is the Yara Shahidi-Approved Collection of Stories From Young Women Staffers of the Obama White House," 14 Jan. 2019 In May, the Model Alliance announced the launch of a new initiative called the Respect Program. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "From Runway Protests to A #MeToo Blackout, Here Are 12 Ways Fashion Tried to Change The World in 2018," 19 Dec. 2018 With this new initiative, Facebook is taking a page from the playbook of Amazon, which has been doing something similar for a few years. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook wants you to buy — and watch — HBO on Facebook," 14 Dec. 2018 But a new city initiative has taken on the task of remedying this asymmetry. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "A New Initiative Is Bringing More Statues of Women to New York City," 10 Dec. 2018 The new rebate initiative, called the Landscape Transformation Program, which requires that frontyards are included as part of a re-landscaping effort, will give participants $1 per square foot of turf removed. Carol Cormaci, latimes.com, "LCF Chamber of Commerce partners with FMWD to issue water-saving challenge, announce rebates," 11 July 2018 The district began piloting such an initiative with two high schools in the spring and will continue to do so when classes resume next month. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Chamber calls for nearly $500M in IPS cuts in exchange for support of $100M tax hike," 11 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

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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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