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initiative - definition and synonyms


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noun initiative pronunciation in American English /ɪˈnɪʃətɪv/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    [uncountable] the ability to decide in an independent way what to do and when to do it

    Mr. Hills showed initiative and bravery when dealing with a dangerous situation.

    use your initiative:

    Employees are encouraged to use their initiative if faced with a problem.

    on your own initiative (=without other people telling you to do something):

    He developed the plan on his own initiative.

  2. 2
    [countable] legal American a process by which people can suggest a new law by signing a petition
  3. 3

    the initiative

    the opportunity to take action before other people do
    take the initiative:

    She would have to take the initiative in order to improve their relationship.

    lose/gain/seize the initiative:

    We lost the initiative and allowed our opponents to dominate the discussion.



used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

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