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initiative

adjective ini·tia·tive \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv also -shē-ə-tiv \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of initiative

: of or relating to initiation : introductory, preliminary

Examples of initiative in a Sentence

  1. Luther's daring initiative thoughts did indeed come from above, but he owed them to no man or age. —Junius B. RemensnyderWhat the World Owes Luther1917
  2. 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 OppenheimInternational Law1906

Origin and Etymology of initiative


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initiative

noun ini·tia·tive \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative

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
3 a : 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 1
on one's own initiative
: at one's own discretion : independently of outside influence or control

Examples of initiative in a Sentence

  1. … 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 BarthAtlanticMarch 1995
  2. 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 Nation1988
  3. 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 SteeleHarper'sJune 1988
  4. If you want to meet her, you're going to have to take the initiative and introduce yourself.

  5. The company has the opportunity to seize the initiative by getting its new products to the market before its competitors.

  6. The governor has proposed a new initiative to improve conditions in urban schools.

Recent Examples of initiative from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of initiative



INITIATIVE Defined for English Language Learners

initiative

noun

Definition of initiative for English Language Learners

  • the 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 Defined for Kids

initiative

noun ini·tia·tive \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv \

Definition of initiative for Students

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.

Law Dictionary

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 deposition
  • Andrews v. Bradshaw, 895 P.2d 973 (1995)
2 a : 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 initiative
  • Ghrist v. People, 897 P.2d 809 (1995)


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