[ ih-nish-uh-lahyz ]
See synonyms for initialize on
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.

Origin of initialize

First recorded in 1955–60; initial + -ize
  • Also especially British, in·i·tial·ise . Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use initialize in a sentence

  • Our fancy supplies us, and there not being many, we will just initialise them all, and let he whom the cap fits put it on.

    Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities | Robert Smith Surtees

British Dictionary definitions for initialize



/ (ɪˈnɪʃəˌlaɪz) /

  1. (tr) to assign an initial value to (a variable or storage location) in a computer program

Derived forms of initialize

  • initialization 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