Thesaurus

initiate

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of initiate

1 to be responsible for the creation and early operation or use of
  • no one knows who initiated written language

Synonyms for initiate

Words Related to initiate

Near Antonyms for initiate

Antonyms for initiate

2 to impart knowledge of a new thing or situation to
  • initiated the new recruits in the unspoken laws of military conduct

Synonyms for initiate

Words Related to initiate

3 to put into an office or welcome into an organization with special ceremonies
  • initiated her as Surgeon General before an army of reporters and photographers

Synonyms for initiate

Words Related to initiate

Near Antonyms for initiate

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About initiate

How is the word initiate different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of initiate are begin, commence, inaugurate, start, and usher in. While all these words mean "to take the first step in a course, process, or operation," initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue.

initiated diplomatic contacts

How does the word begin relate to other synonyms for initiate?

Begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable, with begin, opposed to end, being the most general.

begin a trip

began dancing

How is commence related to other words for initiate?

Commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start.

commence firing

commenced a conversation

When would inaugurate be a good substitute for initiate?

The meanings of inaugurate and initiate largely overlap; however, inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance.

the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine

Where would start be a reasonable alternative to initiate?

While the synonyms start and initiate are close in meaning, start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages.

the work started slowly

How are the words usher in and inaugurate related as synonyms of initiate?

Usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate.

ushered in a period of economic decline

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About initiate

Time Traveler for initiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of initiate was in 1533

See more words from the same year

Thesaurus Entries Near initiate

initials

initiate

initiated

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Initiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/initiate. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on initiate

Nglish: Translation of initiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of initiate for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something 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!