• synonyms


[verb ih-nish-ee-eyt; adjective, noun ih-nish-ee-it, -eyt]
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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.
  3. to admit or accept with formal rites into an organization or group, secret knowledge, adult society, etc.
  4. to propose (a measure) by initiative procedure: to initiate a constitutional amendment.
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  1. initiated; begun.
  2. admitted into an organizaton or group, secret knowledge, etc.
  3. introduced to the knowledge of a subject.
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  1. a person who has been initiated.
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Origin of initiate

1595–1605; < Latin initiātus past participle of initiāre, equivalent to initi(um) (see initial) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsin·i·ti·a·tor, nounnon·in·i·ti·ate, nounpre·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, nounqua·si-in·i·ti·at·ed, adjectivere·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, adjectiveun·in·i·ti·at·ed, adjectivewell-in·i·ti·at·ed, adjective

Synonyms for initiate

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Synonym study

1. See begin.

Antonyms for initiate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for initiator

discoverer, opener, designer, producer, founder, author, architect, maker, trespasser, assailant, invader, intruder, precursor, patron, benefactor, creator, builder, planner, organizer, inventor

Examples from the Web for initiator

Historical Examples of initiator

  • The man may be the initiator in action, but the woman is initiator in emotion.

    Fantasia of the Unconscious

    D. H. Lawrence

  • He became thus, in later years, the initiator of the Peking-Hankow railway.


    Emile Cammaerts

  • And in this respect he was again an initiator in Florentine art.

    Filippo Lippi

    Paul G. Konody

  • I do not know who was the initiator of the movement or in what country it was first apparent.

    The Alps

    Martin Conway

  • Plato, therefore, is the founder and initiator of all idealism.

British Dictionary definitions for initiator


  1. a person or thing that initiates
  2. chem a substance that starts a chain reaction
  3. chem an explosive used in detonators
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Derived Formsinitiatress or initiatrix, fem n


verb (ɪˈnɪʃɪˌeɪt) (tr)
  1. to begin or originate
  2. to accept (new members) into an organization such as a club, through often secret ceremonies
  3. to teach fundamentals toshe initiated him into the ballet
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adjective (ɪˈnɪʃɪɪt, -ˌeɪt)
  1. initiated; begun
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noun (ɪˈnɪʃɪɪt, -ˌeɪt)
  1. a person who has been initiated, esp recently
  2. a beginner; novice
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Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for initiator



"one who has been initiated," 1811, from past participle adjective initiate (c.1600); see initiate (v.).

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c.1600, "introduce to some practice or system," also "begin, set going," from Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare "to begin, originate," from initium "beginning" (see initial). In some senses a back-formation from initiation. Related: Initiated; initiates; initiating; initiator.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper