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initiative - definition and synonyms


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noun initiative pronunciation in British English /ɪˈnɪʃətɪv/
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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. 3
    [countable] legal American a process by which people can suggest a new law by signing a petition
  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.


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

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