1. The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.
2. A beginning or introductory step; an opening move: took the initiative in trying to solve the problem.
a. The power or right to introduce a new legislative measure.
b. The right and procedure by which citizens can propose a law by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate.
1. Of or relating to initiation.
2. Used to initiate; initiatory.
on (one's) own initiative
Without prompting or direction from others; on one's own.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.