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

Perot, who died Tuesday of leukemia at 89, was appointed by White in 1983 to lead an initiative to improve Texas public education. Washington Post, "‘No pass, no play’ part of Perot legacy," 10 July 2019 Firefly Aerospace is one of nine companies that NASA that was selected as part of the agency’s CLPS program — an initiative to send small robotic landers to the lunar surface. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Israel’s failed lunar lander will live on in the design of Firefly Aerospace’s new Moon spacecraft," 9 July 2019 An interesting example of such an initiative is the digital renewal process of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Authority, whose role is to ensure access to basic healthcare services for all residents. Selin Ozyurt, Quartz Africa, "Ghana is now the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa," 9 July 2019 This fall, the NFL will begin an initiative in London called the NFL Academy. Jenny Vrentas, SI.com, "It’s the Heart of the NFL Offseason, and Anthony Lynn Is Making the Most of It," 8 July 2019 In Colorado, state agencies are leading an initiative to help manage and promote the hemp industry from cultivation through production and manufacturing to marketing. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Hemp’s legal. Tell that to the financial service providers, social media companies, industry officials say," 7 July 2019 The roundtable served as the culmination to an ESSENCE x Policy Link initiative that brought the women together for the purpose of strategizing and building within a sisterhood. Essence, "Black Women Mayors Tackle Their Cities Pressing Issues While Leaving A Legacy For Black Girls," 7 July 2019 This happens as the new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was executing an initiative to get ahead of the violence. Fox News, "Multiple injuries in Chicago resulted when guard mistood July 4 fireworks for gunfire," 6 July 2019 At the 2019 festival, Taylor led an initiative to make sure theatergoers disturbed by particularly heavy content in the festival’s dramas could find emotional support through counselors from the Victim Service Center of Central Florida. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando Fringe Festival will have a new producer in 2020," 5 July 2019

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 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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