verb (used with object), in·i·tial·ized, in·i·tial·iz·ing. Computers.

to set (variables, counters, switches, etc.) to their starting values at the beginning of a program or subprogram.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for initialize

load, compute, program, run, digitize, computerize, input, boot, keyboard

Examples from the Web for initialize

Contemporary Examples of initialize

  • If voters want to change their selections before they send in their ballot, they must initialize the change.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hurt Locker Blows Up

    Nicole LaPorte

    March 1, 2010

British Dictionary definitions for initialize




(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

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