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

The first-period bell currently sounds throughout Cincinnati Public Schools at 7:30 a.m., but an initiative led by students recently convinced administrators to yank the hour hand forward to 8:30 a.m. within three years. Zach Schermele, Teen Vogue, "Starting School Later Can Drastically Improve Students' Lives," 9 May 2019 Google is trying to make voice computing as accessible as possible for anyone with Project Euphoria, an initiative to make all voices—no matter what—understandable. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Google Just Proved That Our Voice Is the Ultimate UI," 7 May 2019 Metsavaht is also working on an initiative to nurture the wild plants that once flourished on the city’s famed beaches. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Sambas His Way Through Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval," 22 Mar. 2019 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recently announced an initiative to encourage more diversity in nominations with regard to gender, geography, and areas of research. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "2018 physics Nobel Prize honors 3, including first woman in 55 years," 2 Oct. 2018 Groupon, founded in 2008, has been open to a sale for some time, but has increased an initiative to sell recently, persons close to the situation told Recode. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Groupon reportedly shopping around for a buyer," 9 July 2018 Crisp is excited to continue building RxCycle and to propose new creative initiatives that will limit the amount of clothing the site puts on sale or ultimately has to throw away. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "These Chairs Were Designed Using Recycled Clothing From Maison Margiela, Off-White, Raf Simons, and More," 22 Apr. 2019 Good, because a certain grocery retailer just unveiled a new initiative that the rest of you can feel free to copy anytime. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "Whole Foods Is Giving Away Free Clean Beauty Products — Here's How It Works," 21 Mar. 2019 Sometimes, planning new beauty initiatives sufficed. Rachel Vorona Cote, SELF, "Why I Embraced Skin Care After My Mother's Death," 18 Apr. 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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