Definition of initiate in English:

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Pronunciation: /iˈniSHēˌāt/
[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;
institute, inaugurate, launch, instigate, establish, set up, start the ball rolling on;
originate, pioneer
informal kick off, spark
2Admit (someone) into a secret or obscure society or group, typically with a ritual: she had been formally initiated into the sorority
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: he flies over an airway marker beacon, known as a “fix” 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 trigonometry
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, tutor in, school in, prime in, ground in;
familiarize with, acquaint with;
informal show someone the ropes in/within


Pronunciation: /iˈniSHēət/
A person who has been initiated into an organization or activity, typically recently: initiates of the Shiva cult [as modifier]: the initiate Marines
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;
student, pupil, learner, trainee, apprentice;
recruit, new recruit, raw recruit, tyro, neophyte;
postulant, novitiate
informal rookie, newbie, new kid (on the block), greenhorn



Pronunciation: /iˈniSH(ē)əˌtôrē/
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 (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

Syllabification: in·i·ti·ate

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