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

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

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 How to pronounce initiate (audio) \

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 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

Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, accused Pakistani forces of initiating the exchange. Roshan Mughal, The Seattle Times, "India suspends key bus service to Pakistani part of Kashmir," 20 Feb. 2019 Focusing on initiating the movement from your core every time. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Strengthen Your Core With This 5-Move Workout From Carrie Underwood’s Trainer," 29 Jan. 2019 Legal proceedings against her were initiated in April 2016. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Turkish Case Against Former Wall Street Journal Reporter Is Thrown Out," 13 Nov. 2018 Presumably, this takedown was initiated by automated takedown software rather than a senior Sony executive deliberately trying to claim ownership of 300-year-old music. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Sorry, Sony Music, you don’t own the rights to Bach’s music on Facebook," 14 Sep. 2018 The movement should be initiated primarily by your hips, not your arms. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Gymnast Nastia Liukin Works Her Core, Hips, and Glutes With This Exercise," 7 Aug. 2018 The following local residents were recently initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, a national collegiate honor society for college students, faculty, staff and alumni in all academic disciplines. Judith Zizzo, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Students from North Lauderdale, nearby inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society," 6 July 2018 All communication with the press should be initiated by the school’s press department. David Lyman, Cincinnati.com, "CCM students set sail for Scotland to perform water-themed show with 'no plot whatsoever'," 5 July 2018 Each of the Duplex calls were being initiated by a Google Assistant request off of a laptop, just feet away in the restaurant. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Google Gives Its Human-Like Phone Chatbot a Demo Redo," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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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Statistics for initiate

Last Updated

14 May 2019

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)

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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on initiate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with initiate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for initiate

Spanish Central: Translation of initiate

Nglish: Translation of initiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of initiate for Arabic Speakers

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