initiate

verb
ini·ti·ate | \i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt \
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

adjective
ini·tiate | \i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət \

Definition of initiate (Entry 2 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

initiate

noun
ini·tiate | \i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət \

Definition of initiate (Entry 3 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

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Other Words from initiate

Verb

initiator \i-ˈni-shē-ˌā-tər \ 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

Russell Westbrook was fined $10,000 and assessed a postgame technical foul for initiating a confrontation with Jazz center Rudy Gobert on Monday . . . BostonGlobe.com, "Another sexual abuse scandal rocks Michigan State," 25 Apr. 2018 The clinician's report also said that the guidance counselor reported that the school resource officer now said Cruz did not meet the criteria for initiating a Baker Act commitment. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Stoneman Douglas' resource officer recommended committing Nikolas Cruz for mental health issues," 19 Mar. 2018 Shorenstein, the developer that through other business dealings on Market Street, initiated La Cocina’s Tenderloin move, is contributing $1 million to the project. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "La Cocina’s Tenderloin food hall takes a step forward," 11 July 2018 The event not only serves as a march to oust Hill but also to criticize the four male legislative leaders who initiated an inquiry into the incident. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Activists: 'Politically powerful men are protecting' Curtis Hill amid groping allegations," 5 July 2018 While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and ongoing support to enhance their classrooms and help students cultivate a passion for learning by creating projects that initiate positive change. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Havre de Grace Elementary teacher Dennison receives prestigious fellowship," 22 June 2018 Doesn’t often make advanced reads out of pick-and-rolls and may never be someone who initiates offense. Will Mccollister, SI.com, "Spurs Select Lonnie Walker With No. 18 Pick in the 2018 NBA Draft," 21 June 2018 Well after the altercation is over and Brown is in custody, the officer who initiated the stop continues his back-and-forth with Brown over whose actions exacerbated the situation. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "Milwaukee police stepped on Sterling Brown's ankle, mocked him, bodycam footage shows," 6 June 2018 In June 1948, the 200-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory was dedicated and named in honor of the late George Hale, who initiated the project. sandiegouniontribune.com, "June 4, 1948: Telescope dedicated at Palomar," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Like many initiates, Drotar, a landscaper and father of two who drives a pickup truck, spends a lot of time explaining the organization’s strange name. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "A rural Maryland chapter of the Odd Fellows society fights to save its 1850s building — and memories within," 25 Apr. 2018 Democrats say 3,200 incoming freshmen will be eligible for the initiate in the next fiscal year. Sandra Gomez-aceves, courant.com, "5 Areas Of Common Ground In Democratic, Republican Budget Proposals," 21 Apr. 2018 Journalist Frank Parlato, who first broke the story about the cult, told the New York Post that Mack came up with the idea of branding initiates' skin, near their groin area. Fox News, "'Smallville' actress Allison Mack arrested for alleged sex cult involvement, reports say," 20 Apr. 2018 Today, Kappa Alpha Theta has more than 145 chapters in the US and Canada, with nearly 220,000 initiates—including famous sisters such as Tory Burch, Sheryl Crow, Laura Bush, Melinda Gates, Dylan Lauren, and Cindy McCain. Nadine Jolie Courtney, Town & Country, "Which Sorority Was Actually the First?," 18 May 2017 Bayou Greenway day changes location each year in an effort to involve all of the communities, and to promote the fact that once the initiate is completed, many different parts of the city will be connected. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "Bayou Greenway Day to highlight Houston Parks Board project," 13 Mar. 2018 And there are questions about the effectiveness of such programs, and in some instances, concern that some initiates — and penalties — have gone too far. Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY, "Google manifesto spotlights enduring sexism issues," 10 Aug. 2017 Payne in the hills of northeast Alabama, waiting for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take him into custody and likely initiate deportation proceedings. Connor Sheets, AL.com, "Alabama Dreamer faces deportation after failing to signal, driving with empty beer bottles," 9 July 2017 In one of Divergent's pivotal moments, Tris, trying to prove herself as a Dauntless initiate, jumps off a building to show her fearlessness — a task Shailene Woodley's stunt double, Alicia Vela-Bailey, handled for the film. Alyssa Bailey, Cosmopolitan, "Watch Shailene Woodley's Stunt Double Jump 66 Feet for "Divergent"," 21 July 2014

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

Adjective

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for initiate

Verb

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

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Phrases Related to initiate

file/initiate a lawsuit

Statistics for initiate

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for initiate

The first known use of initiate was in 1533

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More Definitions for initiate

initiate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of initiate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

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 \
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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