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

Obama has been back in the public eye this year thanks to some big projects and initiatives. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Michelle Obama Is America's 'Most Admired Woman' of 2018," 28 Dec. 2018 Timmer, like other Ars staffers, appreciated how the film took high-level scientific initiatives and discoveries that deserve more attention, then wrapped them in relatable teen stories: growing up, fitting in, and surviving a high-stakes contest. Sam Machkovech And Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Films for the discerning nerd: Ars picks the best of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 As The Washington Post notes, Hoffman — an early PayPal executive and co-founder of LinkedIn — has emerged as a big donor to new initiatives and groups with a mission of electing Democrats. Chris Welch, The Verge, "LinkedIn co-founder says he unknowingly backed disinformation effort in Alabama Senate race," 26 Dec. 2018 Though initially suspicious of Saudi Arabia’s motivations, Kushner soon put his concerns aside, drawn in by proposals and initiatives that aligned with his Israel-Palestine priorities and the administration’s anti-violent extremism ones. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Saudi Arabia reportedly saw Jared Kushner as an impressionable target," 8 Dec. 2018 What has transpired between then and now is a tangle of city policy, transit initiatives, and private real estate deals that’s led to a still-developing mega-development barely resembling the original. Curbed, "Can money create a neighborhood?," 19 Sep. 2018 Chores can teach kids responsibility and initiative — but experts warn that parents should take care not overburden children with unrealistic expectations. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Where Do You Stand on the Toughest Parenting Questions?," 24 July 2018 Princess Beatrice, amidst much public speculation of her new boyfriend, has broken her silence to share the exciting details of her latest charity initiative, the Northwood African Education Foundation. Charlotte Chilton, Town & Country, "Princess Beatrice Supports Ethiopian School in Children's Education Initiative," 29 Nov. 2018 At Museo Nacional de Arte, Laboratorio para la Ciudad—Mexico City’s urban innovation lab—presented one of its recent initiatives: a furniture design and fabrication project in Tepito, a barrio known for its open-air markets and informal economy. Diana Budds, Curbed, "4 lessons Mexican designers can teach the world," 19 Oct. 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

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

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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