Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

initiate - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] initiate pronunciation in British English /ɪˈnɪʃieɪt/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleinitiating
past tenseinitiated
past participleinitiated

Related words

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    formal to make something start

    We shall initiate urgent discussions with our European partners.

    1. a.
      legal to start a legal case or process

      The Act allows children, for the first time, to initiate proceedings.

  2. 2
    to introduce someone to a skill, subject, or activity and teach them about it
    initiate someone into something:

    Nicky was initiated into a world of robbery and violence.

  3. 3
    to make someone a member of an organization or group, often with a special ceremony
    initiate someone into something:

    At the age of 30 they were initiated into the higher ranks of the movement.

derived word


noun [countable]
Word Forms
Synonyms and related words

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play