Definition of initiate in English:


Line breaks: ini¦ti|ate


Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɪʃɪeɪt
[with object]
  • 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
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Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɪʃɪət(ə)ri, ɪˌnɪʃɪˈeɪt(ə)ri/
More 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'.

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