initiate

verb
ini·​ti·​ate | \ i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce initiate (audio) \
initiated; initiating

Definition of initiate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause or facilitate the beginning of : set going initiate a program of reform enzymes that initiate fermentation
2 : to induct into membership by or as if by special rites
3 : to instruct in the rudiments or principles of something : introduce

initiate

noun
ini·​tiate | \ i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət How to pronounce initiate (audio) \

Definition of initiate (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a person who is undergoing or has undergone an initiation
2 : a person who is instructed or adept in some special field

initiate

adjective
ini·​tiate | \ i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət How to pronounce initiate (audio) \

Definition of initiate (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : initiated or properly admitted (as to membership or an office)
b : instructed in some secret knowledge
2 obsolete : relating to an initiate

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Other Words from initiate

Verb

initiator \ i-​ˈni-​shē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce initiator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for initiate

Verb

begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate, usher in mean to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable. begin, opposed to end, is the most general. begin a trip began dancing start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages. the work started slowly commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start. commence firing commenced a conversation initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue. initiated diplomatic contacts inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance. the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate. ushered in a period of economic decline

Examples of initiate in a Sentence

Verb Doctors have initiated a series of tests to determine the cause of the problem. The company initiated judicial proceedings against them. The new recruits will be initiated tomorrow night. He was initiated into a secret society. Noun These secrets are known only to a small group of initiates.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At this is the time of the year, growth has slowed and the plants should soon initiate the flowering process. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, "Here are the best times to plant watermelon seeds," 19 Sep. 2020 Under the agreement, Jaxsta Pro members will have the ability to utilize Songtradr’s platform to initiate collection and ongoing management of their neighboring rights income. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "The Deals: Milk & Honey Sweet on 'Savage' Producer, Warner Records Signs 'The Voice UK' Breakout," 17 Sep. 2020 If a test comes back positive, Stanford will notify public health officials to initiate contact tracing. Catherine Ho, SFChronicle.com, "How Bay Area schools plan to conduct coronavirus testing for students and staff," 10 Sep. 2020 According to the guide, employees should inform their employers and follow state testing and contact tracing protocols, and employee should contact local public health to initiate contact tracing. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "Bar Piña at Goodwin Hotel closed temporarily; employee tests positive for COVID-19," 25 Aug. 2020 Both were more assertive in Game 3 as the Pacers used more toss and weave action to initiate their half-court offense instead of pick-and-rolls. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Pacers face insurmountable hole after Heat unleash 3-point barrage in Game 3," 22 Aug. 2020 On a federal level, criminal behavior need not be proven for law enforcement to initiate civil-asset-forfeiture proceedings; mere suspicion is considered reason enough. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "Civil-Asset Forfeiture Should Be an Easy Place to Start on Criminal-Justice Reform," 21 Aug. 2020 What really makes the 4Runner feel ancient is its five-speed automatic transmission, which always seems to be in too high of a gear and requires a heavy application of throttle to initiate a kickdown. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Welcomes the Open Trail," 22 June 2020 Cooper further sells the slant by emphatically sticking his outside foot in the ground to initiate his cut for the slant, then finishes his sales pitch by signaling the slant with his eyes, body posture and footwork. John Owning, Dallas News, "Cowboys film notebook: Breaking down Amari Cooper’s sluggo mastery and a concept Mike McCarthy may use a lot," 5 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Early in the film, the enigmatic mind thief Cobb (played by DiCaprio) explains the sci-fi notion of building dream worlds to his latest initiate, an architect named Ariadne (Ellen Page). David Sims, The Atlantic, "How Inception Helped Turn Christopher Nolan Into Cinema’s Savior," 4 Aug. 2020 The project mostly caters to initiates, who can test its observations against their prior knowledge of Ferrante, but the authors themselves seem attracted to the role of the amateur. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "A New Book on Elena Ferrante Rethinks What Criticism Can Be," 6 Feb. 2020 On Election Day, Colorado voters will be asked to consider a ballot initiate directing Colorado Parks and Wildlife to import wolves from the north and turn them loose by 2023. Ben Long, Outdoor Life, "Colorado Braces for Wolves as Politics Clash with Wildlife Management," 13 Jan. 2020 The team could also self-initiate calls, show up in outreach worker’s role to connect a homeless person to services or act as a mental health worker, as dispatched through Multnomah County’s crisis line. oregonlive, "Homeless first responder team to be housed in Portland fire bureau under new proposal," 15 Nov. 2019 When the spray was spent, the initiates formed two lines and crawled towards the dais. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019 Like other ideological movements, Randism brims with a jargon of authenticity, tailored to reinforce the sense of belonging for young initiates. Alexander Sammon, The New Republic, "The Last of the Ayn Rand Acolytes," 14 Aug. 2019 The plan outline several initiates to help manage officers’ time and improve accountability. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Here are 5 main takeaways new crime plan from Baltimore Police commissioner Harrison’s," 18 July 2019 More mature initiates have the benefit of experience to guide them through an informed choice. Brennan Kilbane, WSJ, "You’re Not Too Old for a Tattoo," 25 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The office will oversee the DWP’s internal audit and special investigations divisions, as well as initiate investigations, the mayor’s office said. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "DWP, reeling from scandals and FBI raids, gets a new watchdog office," 13 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'initiate.' 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 initiate

Verb

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for initiate

Verb

Late Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare, from Latin, to induct, from initium

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Time Traveler for initiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of initiate was in 1533

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Statistics for initiate

Last Updated

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Initiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initiate. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for initiate

initiate

verb
How to pronounce initiate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of initiate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : to cause the beginning of (something) : to start or begin (something)
: to formally accept (someone) as a member of a group or organization usually in a special ceremony
: to teach (someone) the basic facts or ideas about something

initiate

noun
How to pronounce initiate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of initiate (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is being formally accepted or who has been formally accepted as a member of a group or organization

initiate

verb
ini·​ti·​ate | \ i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce initiate (audio) \
initiated; initiating

Kids Definition of initiate

1 : to set going : begin Scientists initiated an experiment.
2 : to admit into a club by special ceremonies
3 : to teach (someone) the basic facts about something She was initiated into the management of money.

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