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initiative - definition and synonyms


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noun initiative pronunciation in British 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] an important action that is intended to solve a problem
    a number of initiatives designed to address the problem of child poverty
  3. 4

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


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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a stupid person

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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