Definition of initiate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɪʃɪeɪt/
[with object]
1Cause (a process or action) to begin: he proposes to initiate discussions on planning procedures
More example sentences
  • The process begins with initiating the microscopic process under study.
  • The report proposed that the authority initiate a procurement process to enable anyone to put forward any technologies for waste disposal.
  • In 1999 the former Northern Municipality Local Council began to initiate development.
begin, start off, commence, take action on, usher in;
institute, inaugurate, put in place, launch, open, instigate, bring about, get under way, set in motion, trigger off, actuate;
establish, set up, lay the foundations of, lay the first stone of, lay the cornerstone of, sow the seeds of, start the ball rolling;
originate, pioneer
informal get cracking on, get going on, kick off
2Admit (someone) into a secret or obscure society or group, typically with a ritual: she had been formally initiated into the movement
More example sentences
  • It was like being initiated into some secret society being taken to it.
  • Rennie, whose grandfather and father were both members, was initiated into the society when he was just 15.
  • She had been initiated into the secrets at the age of sixteen and told of their goals and their reason for existence.
2.1 (as plural noun the initiated) A small group of people who share obscure knowledge: it’s a secret sign to the initiated
More example sentences
  • They introduce rules of engagement and silly words to enhance a sense of self-importance among the initiated.
  • They are a mark of respect and accomplishment, which only the initiated truly appreciate.
  • The rules are simple to the initiated, mind-boggling to the novice.
2.2 (initiate someone in/into) Introduce someone to (a particular activity or skill, especially a difficult or obscure one): they were initiated into the mysteries of mathematics
More example sentences
  • As they become better acquainted, Snow Flower initiates Lily into a system of code-writing used solely between women.
  • I had been working as an overseer of cattle for a few weeks and had spent the last few days initiating her into her new role.
  • It was he who initiated Bensemann into the dark art of English dancing.
teach about, instruct in, coach in, tutor in, school in, train in, drill in, prime in, ground in, familiarize with, acquaint with, make conversant with, make aware of;
indoctrinate, inculcate
informal break someone in, show someone the ropes


Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɪʃɪət/
A person who has been initiated into an organization or activity: an initiate of the cult
More example sentences
  • I had a conversation with a student on my campus who was a recent initiate of an organization.
  • Its second task, in short, is to make activists of baptismal initiates.
  • For centuries these paintings were reserved for sacred ceremonies and the eyes of the initiates and participants only.
novice, starter, beginner, newcomer;
learner, student, pupil, trainee, apprentice, probationer;
new boy, new girl, new recruit, raw recruit, recruit, tyro, neophyte;
Christianity  postulant, novitiate
informal rookie, new kid (on the block), newie, newbie
North American informal greenhorn



Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɪʃɪət(ə)ri/
Example sentences
  • Before explaining some of the events that I witnessed and participated in while in this performance space I would like to return and examine the temporal states of this initiatory experience.
  • You need to take certain oaths, read prescribed texts, pass tests, and undergo initiatory rites.
  • In that great initiatory arc of my life, I stood, in a wedding reception line facing the great archetypal losses: death of a loved one, end of an affair, and passage from youth to - what?


Mid 16th century (in sense 2 of the verb): from Latin initiat- 'begun', from the verb initiare, from initium 'beginning'.

Words that rhyme with initiate

officiate, propitiate, vitiate novitiate, patriciate

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ini¦ti|ate

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