Definition of initiative in English:

initiative

Syllabification: in·i·ti·a·tive
Pronunciation: /iˈniSH(ē)ətiv
 
/

noun

1The ability to assess and initiate things independently: use your initiative, imagination, and common sense
More example sentences
  • Answering the 41 questions on this American ‘career advancement test’ is intended to determine your drive, initiative and ability to take on responsibility.
  • The skills they need include creativity and initiative, the ability to make decisions and solve problems, and a knack for working with others.
  • The interviewer is looking for your ability to show initiative, take responsibility and communicate.
Synonyms
2 [in singular] The power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do: we have lost the initiative and allowed our opponents to dictate the subject
More example sentences
  • By not immediately pressing them in their retreat from the village, he lost both the initiative and an opportunity to finally curb the tribesmen and end the war.
  • Lynx were ahead after 50 minutes but surrendered the initiative and despite laying siege to the Swinton try line in the closing stages they were unable to claim victory.
  • Ireland had not played particularly well in that first half, had forced a dream start but quickly lost the initiative as they allowed their insecurities and nervousness to manifest itself into their play.
3An act or strategy intended to resolve a difficulty or improve a situation; a fresh approach to something: a new initiative against car crime
More example sentences
  • Residents in one tenement in Edinburgh's Polwarth area which is managed by the scheme said the initiative had helped resolve anxieties about major structural work.
  • The strategic initiative will include a two-stage approach to move to the full globalization of the market for top-level domains.
  • The policy initiative includes measures to improve the investment climate in the country and the launching of a new investment law.
Synonyms
plan, scheme, strategy, stratagem, measure, proposal, step, action, approach
3.1A proposal made by one nation to another in an attempt to improve relations: diplomatic initiatives to end the war a peace initiative aimed at reducing tensions
More example sentences
  • The US has a history of proposing peace initiatives without real sincerity as a political tactic.
  • He added that he was a hopeful a new peace initiative to improve relations with Pakistan and India would succeed.
  • Saudi Arabia has introduced a peace initiative on behalf of the Palestinians that has been embraced by most of the Arab states.
4 (the initiative) (Especially in some US states and Switzerland) the right of citizens outside the legislature to originate legislation.
More example sentences
  • Every state constitution has been amended far more often by the legislature than by initiative.
  • Within the fields of Community competence, its right of legislative initiative resembles that of a government, and even exceeds it in so far as the Commission's is a sole right.
  • Any statewide initiative implementation that includes the above elements will be a usable citizen initiative process.

Phrases

on one's own initiative

Without being prompted by others.
More example sentences
  • Managers need to be in the position where they can rely on their team to act on their own initiative, providing them with the authority to do so.
  • Elsewhere, many individual hospitals have acted on their own initiative or in association with groups such as the international network towards smoke free hospitals or the European network for smoke free hospitals.
  • Acting on their own initiative, farm households strive to stabilize their incomes largely through diversification of their income-producing portfolio.

take (or seize) the initiative

Be the first to take action in a particular situation: antihunting groups have seized the initiative in the dispute
More example sentences
  • Make no mistake, your staff already knows who the dead wood is, and they'll respect you for taking the initiative to fix the situation.
  • Experts say, however, that it is up to the employee to take the initiative to better their situation.
  • I've been meaning to get my act together for a while now and last week I finally took the initiative to overhaul my home office.

Origin

late 18th century: from French, from Latin initiare, from initium 'beginning'.

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Word of the day punctum
Pronunciation: ˈpəNGktəm
noun
a small, distinct point