"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[ih-nish-ee-uh-tiv, ih-nish-uh-] /ɪˈnɪʃ i ə tɪv, ɪˈnɪʃ ə-/
an introductory act or step; leading action:
to take the initiative in making friends.
readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise:
to lack initiative.
one's personal, responsible decision:
to act on one's own initiative.
  1. a procedure by which a specified number of voters may propose a statute, constitutional amendment, or ordinance, and compel a popular vote on its adoption.
    Compare referendum (def 1).
  2. the general right or ability to present a new bill or measure, as in a legislature.
of or relating to formal admission or acceptance into a club or other group; signifying an initiation:
The secret society's initiative events are best left undescribed.
serving to set in motion or initiate; introductory; beginning:
Initiative steps were taken to stop manufacture of the drug.
Origin of initiative
1785-95; initiate + -ive
Related forms
initiatively, adverb
self-initiative, noun
superinitiative, noun
uninitiative, adjective
2. leadership, forcefulness, dynamism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for initiative
  • It inspires the initiative that makes our productivity the wonder of the world.
  • The bride of good family need do nothing on her own initiative.
  • It was that personal character and initiative are the prime requisites in political and social life.
  • In my mind, these are types of management bullies' methods, whether by individual initiative or silent company policy.
  • The initiative was thus lost when it should have been won.
  • The other measure is an initiative to fix initiatives.
  • Rate each initiative on the basis of how it aids strategy and then implement it accordingly.
  • It hits many of the high spots, leaving the rest to your own initiative.
  • All had powerful personal motivations to make the initiative work.
  • Those who were able walked silently toward the suburbs in the distant hills, their spirits broken, their initiative gone.
British Dictionary definitions for initiative


/ɪˈnɪʃɪətɪv; -ˈnɪʃətɪv/
the first step or action of a matter; commencing move: he took the initiative, a peace initiative
the right or power to begin or initiate something: he has the initiative
the ability or attitude required to begin or initiate something
  1. the right or power to introduce legislation, etc, in a legislative body
  2. the procedure by which citizens originate legislation, as in many American states and Switzerland
on one's own initiative, without being prompted
of or concerning initiation or serving to initiate; initiatory
Derived Forms
initiatively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for initiative

1793, "that which begins," also "power of initiating," from French initiative (1560s), from Latin initiatus (see initiation). First attested in English in writings of William Godwin. Phrase take the initiative recorded by 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with initiative
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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