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


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈnɪʃɪeɪt/
  • Hyphenation: ini‧ti‧ate


initiate (plural initiates)

  1. A new member of an organization.
  2. One who has been through a ceremony of initiation.



initiate (third-person singular simple present initiates, present participle initiating, simple past and past participle initiated)

  1. (transitive) To begin; to start.
    • I. Taylor
      How are changes of this sort to be initiated?
  2. To instruct in the rudiments or principles; to introduce.
    • Dr. H. More
      Providence would only initiate mankind into the useful knowledge of her treasures, leaving the rest to employ our industry.
    • John Locke
      To initiate his pupil into any part of learning, an ordinary skill in the governor is enough.
  3. To confer membership on; especially, to admit to a secret order with mysterious rites or ceremonies.
    • Bishop Warburton
      The Athenians believed that he who was initiated and instructed in the mysteries would obtain celestial honour after death.
    • Spectator
      He was initiated into half a dozen clubs before he was one and twenty.
  4. (intransitive) To do the first act; to perform the first rite; to take the initiative.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Alexander Pope to this entry?)


Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


initiate (comparative more initiate, superlative most initiate)

  1. (obsolete) Unpractised; untried; new.
    • Shakespeare
      the initiate fear that wants hard use
  2. (obsolete) Begun; commenced; introduced to, or instructed in, the rudiments; newly admitted.
    • Young
      To rise in science as in bliss, / Initiate in the secrets of the skies.

Further readingEdit




  1. vocative masculine singular of initiātus