initiative

noun
ini·​tia·​tive | \ i-ˈni-shə-tiv How to pronounce initiative (audio) also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative

 (Entry 1 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

initiative

adjective
\ i-ˈni-shə-tiv How to pronounce initiative (audio) also -shē-ə-tiv \

Definition of initiative (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to initiation : introductory, preliminary

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of initiative in a Sentence

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. 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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This whole initiative has been community-funded—by churches and small groups. Bethany Heitman, Health.com, "4 Women on How They're Fighting the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Frontlines," 21 Oct. 2020 Carroll Hospital Foundation Events Manager Heather Akers said this initiative was set up as a way for breast cancer survivors to come together, support and celebrate each other. Megan Woodward, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Throughout October, Carroll Hospital supporting Paint Carroll Pink, Pink Fling initiatives," 20 Oct. 2020 And, on the other hand, this well-meaning initiative may stall businesses from at last opening their doors fully, pushing many into further economic chaos. Tatiana Sanchez & Shwanika Narayan, SFChronicle.com, "California’s health equity measure aims to protect communities vulnerable to the coronavirus. But will small businesses pay the price?," 13 Oct. 2020 The idea behind this initiative by the WEF International Business Council, is clear, however. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Note: ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’ or Democracy: Choose One; Yield or Human Rights: Choose One," 12 Oct. 2020 Alumni poured evenings and weekends into this initiative. Emily Giambalvo, Anchorage Daily News, "When a college cuts a sports program, lives are upended," 6 Oct. 2020 City Council President Brandon Scott has championed this initiative and led the override of Young’s veto of the bill. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Consider the questions: Referendums, as well as candidates, appear on Maryland ballots," 2 Oct. 2020 This initiative, though consequential, does not advance the disclosure of clinical trial information. Liam Bendicksen, Joshua M. Sharfstein, STAT, "Increase transparency at the FDA: We need sunlight to fight the pandemic," 29 Sep. 2020 Trump has been selling his administration’s rollback of this fair-housing initiative as a way to protect the American suburb. Matthew Desmond, New York Times, "How Trump’s Race-Baiting Lets Liberals Off the Hook," 23 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Paizo undertook relatively significant changes to the skill system, how initiative order is determined, and the iconic critical success and critical failure criteria. Sam Ferguson, Ars Technica, "How to follow-up Pathfinder? Improve the game, don’t radically change its character," 30 July 2019 The girl of now initiative highlights women’s success stories in various fields. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "I dream of caftans," 23 May 2018 Paizo undertook relatively significant changes to the skill system, how initiative order is determined, and the iconic critical success and critical failure criteria. Sam Ferguson, Ars Technica, "How to follow-up Pathfinder? Improve the game, don’t radically change its character," 30 July 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of initiative

Noun

1793, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for initiative

Noun

see initiate entry 1

Adjective

see initiate entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about initiative

Time Traveler for initiative

Time Traveler

The first known use of initiative was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Statistics for initiative

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Initiative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiative. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for initiative

initiative

noun
How to pronounce initiative (audio)

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on initiative

What made you want to look up initiative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!