Definition of initiate in US English:



[with object]
Pronunciation /iˈniSHēˌāt//ɪˈnɪʃiˌeɪt/
  • 1Cause (a process or action) to begin.

    ‘he proposes to initiate discussions on planning procedures’
    • ‘The secret stakeholder dialogue was initiated by BNFL two years ago in an attempt to improve its environmental image.’
    • ‘The report proposed that the authority initiate a procurement process to enable anyone to put forward any technologies for waste disposal.’
    • ‘The German Transplantation Society has initiated an audit to investigate the influence of these factors.’
    • ‘However, this was by no means the case, even before liberal reforms were initiated.’
    • ‘In the end, the question of why the campaign was initiated may overshadow the campaign itself.’
    • ‘Due to the demands from women in the childbirth movement, some changes were initiated.’
    • ‘The idea first got a foothold with a bird project initiated by the Audubon Society.’
    • ‘He developed acute psychosis and had to be admitted in order to initiate treatment.’
    • ‘Repairs were initiated because the roof leaked so much that staff had to work with umbrellas over their heads.’
    • ‘Women in sex work were categorized as high-risk groups and several interventions were initiated.’
    • ‘Both revolutions were initiated as wars of liberation, wars of national renewal.’
    • ‘Another preliminary investigation was initiated into a group of people of Arab origin living in Hamburg.’
    • ‘Airports are being upgraded, modernisation plans have been prepared and action initiated.’
    • ‘He said that the campaign against him was initiated by a number of people who had an interest in changing the Prosecutor General.’
    • ‘The idea, if such deals are initiated, is to use a part of the budget surplus to finance them.’
    • ‘The process begins with initiating the microscopic process under study.’
    • ‘This completes the process initiated by me in my last budget in this regard.’
    • ‘In 1999 the former Northern Municipality Local Council began to initiate development.’
    • ‘In late 1998 court proceedings were initiated due to irregularities in the purchase of these shares.’
    • ‘If an impact is too rapid, and acclimation on the level of gene expression cannot occur, cellular damage and cell death are initiated.’
    begin, start off, commence, take action on, usher in
    View synonyms
  • 2Admit (someone) into a secret or obscure society or group, typically with a ritual.

    ‘she had been formally initiated into the sorority’
    • ‘Few children are now initiated into the Lyangombe and Nyabingi sects.’
    • ‘Take that girl I was talking about earlier on, who was initiated into a satanic cult.’
    • ‘At the end of the Recruitment, the Masters and Mistresses and I will decide which of you are qualified to be initiated into the League.’
    • ‘He was initiated as a Wiccan at the Spring equinox seven years ago, on a mountainside near Manchester where he then lived.’
    • ‘Groups of girls of approximately the same age are initiated into these societies.’
    • ‘It was like being initiated into some secret society being taken to it.’
    • ‘The girls came with their parents and were initiated into the Gayatri Mantra by their fathers.’
    • ‘It's not something you need to be initiated into with mystical rites.’
    • ‘Recently, she claimed to have been initiated into a traditional Aboriginal community.’
    • ‘Rennie, whose grandfather and father were both members, was initiated into the society when he was just 15.’
    • ‘When one is initiated into Santeria, he or she dresses completely in white clothing for one year.’
    • ‘It was the great word of power, known only to priestesses initiated into the Mysteries of the gods.’
    • ‘In the novel the young girl who was initiated into the movement was an articulate student, a dissenter by nature.’
    • ‘During the exorcism we asked her what organisation she had been initiated into and she wouldn't tell us but we managed to squeeze it out of her.’
    • ‘She had been initiated into the secrets at the age of sixteen and told of their goals and their reason for existence.’
    • ‘With this comes the revelation that it is deity, not an individual, who initiates you.’
    • ‘For example, among the Mende of Sierra Leone, boys must be initiated into the Poro Society before they are recognized as adult.’
    • ‘Few or none of them will have actually been initiated into a shaman tradition by the use of such drugs.’
    introduce, admit, let, induct, install, instate, incorporate, ordain, invest, enlist, enrol, recruit, sign up, swear in
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1as plural noun the initiated A small group of people who share obscure knowledge.
      ‘he flies over an airway marker beacon, known as a “fix” to the initiated’
      • ‘Awesome and seductive, they undo the myth that contemporary art is unintelligible to all but the initiated.’
      • ‘Just 10 years ago its name was only known to a small group of the initiated.’
      • ‘In the 18th century music came to be seen as an art form with social implications and not just a technical skill for the initiated.’
      • ‘Thus, the initiated are separated by high fences and impenetrable jargon from the ordinary folk.’
      • ‘This book is not aimed at the initiated, and I hope it will be accessible to people with little or no knowledge of modern Irish history.’
      • ‘It's not surprising, then, that most books on the subject don't reach beyond the initiated.’
      • ‘They introduce rules of engagement and silly words to enhance a sense of self-importance among the initiated.’
      • ‘Designers presented understated elegance, a lifestyle only for the initiated.’
      • ‘The rules are simple to the initiated, mind-boggling to the novice.’
      • ‘It might be months after an event happened before it was known to any but a little circle of the initiated.’
      • ‘They are a mark of respect and accomplishment, which only the initiated truly appreciate.’
      • ‘All tattoo artists present will be more than happy to discuss ideas with the initiated and first-timer alike.’
    2. 2.2initiate someone in/into Introduce someone to (a particular activity or skill, especially a difficult or obscure one)
      ‘they were initiated into the mysteries of trigonometry’
      • ‘As they become better acquainted, Snow Flower initiates Lily into a system of code-writing used solely between women.’
      • ‘One rainy day, when playing cricket was out of the question, his teacher at the primary school in Surrey that he attended brought his class inside and, using the blackboard, initiated them into the secrets of cricket scoring.’
      • ‘In fact, the credit for initiating him into the world of shadow puppetry goes to a Chinese scholar.’
      • ‘How to play the forward and the backward defensive strokes is common knowledge to anyone who has been initiated into the game.’
      • ‘While her father is an avid golfer, she has just about got initiated into the game.’
      • ‘His mother initiated him into classical music, and he started learning in 1989.’
      • ‘His brother initiates him into the worlds of North American popular music and womanizing.’
      • ‘Patients must be initiated into simple exercises such as walking.’
      • ‘They will be initiated into sports activities - volleyball for men and throw ball for women.’
      • ‘I had been working as an overseer of cattle for a few weeks and had spent the last few days initiating her into her new role.’
      • ‘Every student has a different pace of learning and therefore, determining what kind of a learner he or she is was the first step in initiating him into high-impact learning methods.’
      • ‘It was he who initiated Bensemann into the dark art of English dancing.’
      • ‘The institute, incorporated in 1987, is devoted to developing leadership among Detroit's young people and initiating them into the struggle for civil rights.’
      • ‘During one of his visits to jail, he meets a con man named Jack Duane who initiates Jurgis into a life of crime.’
      • ‘Glencoe initiates us into Scottish naturescapes.’
      • ‘It was my father who initiated me into athletics.’
      • ‘Well, last year was my first Finke and that was when I was initiated into all that is motor sports.’
      • ‘Visitors would be initiated into the possibilities of yoga and given insights on how to lead a stress-free life.’
      • ‘When they leave school many go to the factory or workshop and become initiated into the mysteries of betting and other evils.’
      • ‘The purpose of high school science courses should not be to train scientists but to educate students by initiating them into our ongoing cultural conversation about how to make sense of the world.’
      teach about, instruct in, coach in, tutor in, school in, train in, drill in, prime in, ground in, familiarize with, acquaint with, make conversant with, make aware of
      View synonyms


Pronunciation /ɪˈnɪʃiət//iˈniSHēət/
  • A person who has been initiated into an organization or activity, typically recently.

    ‘initiates of the Shiva cult’
    as modifier ‘the initiate Marines’
    • ‘The advisers give advice to the Guild-mistress, and are her closest friends, and they also train the messengers, neophytes, and initiates to do their duties.’
    • ‘But an initiate is no less an initiate for not being branded with a particular tradition.’
    • ‘A potential initiate is hardly going to stumble upon a support group this small.’
    • ‘Members are those initiates who have been to a few rituals and like what they see and the people they are working magic with.’
    • ‘It would take much before they were deemed worthy to become initiates, they indicated.’
    • ‘For centuries these paintings were reserved for sacred ceremonies and the eyes of the initiates and participants only.’
    • ‘He ruminates, at one point, that maybe awakened men and women of old were copied by students and initiates observing this movement in the hope that it would be beneficial or move them towards the ‘goal’.’
    • ‘This is a journey common to the initiates of Tantric cults, Australian Aborigines; even Chinese and Christians.’
    • ‘We know that many of the greatest men of Athens were initiates (including Plato) as well as were slaves; and later, senators and emperors of Rome.’
    • ‘He must also explain what new initiates are to be dropped or reduced as a result.’
    • ‘Its second task, in short, is to make activists of baptismal initiates.’
    • ‘The hippo alludes to someone looking for an extramarital relationship; the hippo mask thus serves to admonish initiates and the general public about inappropriate behavior.’
    • ‘He was, as a graduate student at a major university, an initiate into academic culture.’
    • ‘I had a conversation with a student on my campus who was a recent initiate of an organization.’
    • ‘His eyes scanned the gathering in the abbey's library; friends and family of the initiates were invited and encouraged to attend.’
    • ‘As with much of initiation art, this sculpture instructs the initiates and the community in matters of dispute resolution, sexual maturity, and good judgment.’
    • ‘There's also going to be a second level of membership, the initiates.’
    • ‘Like a young initiate into a cult, however, I took this failure to be a sign that ever greater and more glorious rewards lay ahead.’
    • ‘The mask was carved by a member of a men's secret society and was danced by another of these members at ceremonies for new initiates.’
    • ‘The mystery and terror of confronting unknown beings in this context places the initiate in an altered state and primes him to receive instruction.’
    novice, starter, beginner, newcomer
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (in initiate (sense 2 of the verb)): from Latin initiat- ‘begun’, from the verb initiare, from initium ‘beginning’.