Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To set going by taking the first step; begin: synonym: begin.
  • transitive verb To introduce to a new field, interest, skill, or activity.
  • transitive verb To admit (someone) into membership, as with a ritual or ceremony.
  • adjective Initiated or admitted, as to membership or a position of authority.
  • adjective Introduced to something new, such as a new field of knowledge.
  • noun One who is being or has been initiated into an organization.
  • noun One who has been introduced to or has attained some knowledge in a particular field.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining or incident to the beginning or introduction; initial or initiatory.
  • Initiated; commencing; introduced to knowledge; prepared for instruction.
  • noun One who is initiated; specifically, one who has been admitted to a knowledge of or participation in secret doctrines, mystic rites, or the like.
  • To begin or enter upon; make a beginning of; introduce; set going or on foot.
  • To introduce by preliminary instruction or forms; guide primarily; admit formally; induct: as, to initiate a person into an art, or into a society.
  • To do the first act; perform the first rite; take the initiative.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb rare To do the first act; to perform the first rite; to take the initiative.
  • adjective obsolete Unpracticed; untried; new.
  • adjective Begun; commenced; introduced to, or instructed in, the rudiments; newly admitted.
  • adjective (Law) said of a husband who becomes such in his wife's estate of inheritance by the birth of a child, but whose estate is not consummated till the death of the wife.
  • noun One who is, or is to be, initiated.
  • transitive verb To introduce by a first act; to make a beginning with; to set afoot; to originate; to commence; to begin or enter upon.
  • transitive verb To acquaint with the beginnings; to instruct in the rudiments or principles; to introduce.
  • transitive verb To introduce into a society or organization; to confer membership on; especially, to admit to a secret order with mysterious rites or ceremonies.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A new member of an organization.
  • noun One who has been through a ceremony of initiation.
  • verb To begin; to start.
  • verb To instruct in the rudiments or principles; to introduce.
  • verb To confer membership on; especially, to admit to a secret order with mysterious rites or ceremonies.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb set in motion, start an event or prepare the way for
  • verb bring up a topic for discussion
  • verb accept people into an exclusive society or group, usually with some rite
  • noun someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field
  • noun someone new to a field or activity
  • verb bring into being
  • noun people who have been introduced to the mysteries of some field or activity
  • verb take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin initiāre, initiāt-, from initium, beginning; see ei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin initiātus, perfect passive participle of initiō ("begin, originate"), from initium ("a beginning"), from ineō ("go in, enter upon, begin"), from in +  ("go").

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