[ verb ih-nish-ee-eyt; adjective, noun ih-nish-ee-it, -eyt ]
See synonyms for: initiateinitiatedinitiatesinitiating on

verb (used with object),in·i·ti·at·ed, in·i·ti·at·ing.
  1. to begin, set going, or originate: to initiate major social reforms.

  2. to introduce into the knowledge of some art or subject.

  1. to admit or accept with formal rites into an organization or group, secret knowledge, adult society, etc.

  2. Government. to propose (a measure) by initiative procedure: to initiate a constitutional amendment.

  1. admitted into an organization or group, secret knowledge, etc.

  2. introduced to the knowledge of a subject.

  1. initiated; begun: the recently initiate measures.

  1. a person who has been initiated.

Origin of initiate

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin initiātus, past participle of initiāre “to ritually initiate, admit,” equivalent to initi(um) “beginning” + -ātus past participle suffix; see initial,-ate1

synonym study For initiate

1. See begin.

Other words for initiate

Opposites for initiate

Other words from initiate

  • in·i·ti·a·tor, noun
  • non·in·i·ti·ate, noun
  • pre·in·i·ti·ate, verb (used with object), pre·in·i·ti·at·ed, pre·in·i·ti·at·ing.
  • pre·in·i·ti·ate, noun
  • re·in·i·ti·ate, verb (used with object), re·in·i·ti·at·ed, re·in·i·ti·at·ing.
  • un·in·i·ti·ate, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use initiate in a sentence

  • The President initiates a treaty and the Senate confirms it.

    Ethics in Service | William Howard Taft
  • The one whose duty it was to officiate at the reception of initiates stood in the center.

  • The warrior initiates, whereas the legislator completes the organization of society.

  • This was, likely, secretly taught by word of mouth as Qabbalah or Oral Tradition to the initiates, and was never put into writing.

    Scarabs | Isaac Myer
  • Within the medicine lodge, Murray was instructing the chosen initiates in some sort of mystic rites.

    South from Hudson Bay | E. C. [Ethel Claire] Brill

British Dictionary definitions for initiate


verb(ɪˈnɪʃɪˌeɪt) (tr)
  1. to begin or originate

  2. to accept (new members) into an organization such as a club, through often secret ceremonies

  1. to teach fundamentals to: she initiated him into the ballet

adjective(ɪˈnɪʃɪɪt, -ˌeɪt)
  1. initiated; begun

noun(ɪˈnɪʃɪɪt, -ˌeɪt)
  1. a person who has been initiated, esp recently

  2. a beginner; novice

Origin of initiate

C17: from Latin initiāre (vb), from initium; see initial

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