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initialize

[ih-nish-uh-lahyz]
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verb (used with object), in·i·tial·ized, in·i·tial·iz·ing. Computers.
  1. to set (variables, counters, switches, etc.) to their starting values at the beginning of a program or subprogram.
  2. to clear (internal memory, a disk, etc.) of previous data in preparation for use.
Also especially British, in·i·tial·ise.

Origin of initialize

First recorded in 1955–60; initial + -ize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for initialize

initialize

initialise

verb
  1. (tr) to assign an initial value to (a variable or storage location) in a computer program
Derived Formsinitialization or initialisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for initialize

v.

1833, "to designate by initials," from initial + -ize. Meaning "to make ready for operation" is from 1957. Related: Initialized; initializing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper