[ih-nish-ee-uh-tiv, ih-nish-uh-]
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.
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 ).
the general right or ability to present a new bill or measure, as in a legislature.
of or pertaining 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.

1785–95; initiate + -ive

initiatively, adverb
self-initiative, noun
superinitiative, noun
uninitiative, adjective

2. leadership, forcefulness, dynamism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
initiative (ɪˈnɪʃɪətɪv, -ˈnɪʃətɪv)
1.  the first step or action of a matter; commencing move: he took the initiative; a peace initiative
2.  the right or power to begin or initiate something: he has the initiative
3.  the ability or attitude required to begin or initiate something
4.  government
 a.  the right or power to introduce legislation, etc, in a legislative body
 b.  the procedure by which citizens originate legislation, as in many American states and Switzerland
5.  on one's own initiative without being prompted
6.  of or concerning initiation or serving to initiate; initiatory

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1793, "that which begins," also "power of initiating," from Fr. initiative (1567), from L. initiatus (see initiation). First attested in Eng. in writings of William Godwin. Phrase take the initiative first recorded 1856.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see on one's own account (initiative); take the initiative.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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.
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