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

Six in 10 Mainers voted for a ballot initiative last November to expand eligibility for the program. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018 United began working on a data visualization initiative in 2015 with interns from the University of New Haven’s criminal justice program. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "From birthday wishes for passengers to tracking baggage handler injuries, airlines tap big data to try to improve operations," 12 July 2018 In 2014, the Obama administration set up a clemency initiative that led to 1,715 sentence commutations, by far the most of any president. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 But this has been a banner year for anti-gerrymandering ballot initiatives which bypass governors and legislatures and their party allegiances. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 Spotify is also launching a new initiative to support up-and-coming female creators. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Pharrell Williams Curating Second Volume of 'Black History Is Happening Now' With Spotify," 10 July 2018 Ohio did not consider the prospect until 2015, when a full-legalization ballot initiative lost 2-1 in large measure due to the heavy public opposition from Ohio’s hospitals. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati hospitals reluctantly realize that medical marijuana is coming to town," 11 July 2018 In 2001, the couple’s trip to Cuba would spark a historic initiative between that country and the United States over a trove of Ernest Hemingway’s documents. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Accomplished filmmaker and therapist from Concord dies on Nantucket," 11 July 2018 The ballot initiative would automatically restore voting rights to felons who’ve completed all the terms of their sentences. Scott Maxwell, OrlandoSentinel.com, "In Florida, getting back civil rights means groveling to politicians," 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

1795, 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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Time Traveler for initiative

The first known use of initiative was in 1793

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More Definitions for initiative

initiative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of initiative

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

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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