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a. The act or process of initiating something.
b. The process of being initiated.
c. The condition of being initiated.
2. A ceremony, ritual, test, or period of instruction with which a new member is admitted to an organization or office or to knowledge.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act of initiating or the condition of being initiated
2. the often secret ceremony initiating new members into an organization
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ɪˌnɪʃ iˈeɪ ʃən)

1. formal admission into an organization or group.
2. the ceremonies or rites of admission.
3. the act of initiating.
4. the fact of being initiated.
[1575–85; < Latin]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. The action of a device used as the first element of an explosive train which, upon receipt of the proper impulse, causes the detonation or burning of an explosive item.
2. (nuclear) The action which sets off a chain reaction in a fissile mass which has reached the critical state (generally by the emission of a "spurt" of neutrons).
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.



(See also BEGINNINGS.)

baptism of fire An extremely trying initial experience; a first encounter which tests one to the utmost. The phrase applies literally to the first time a soldier faces battle fire, but even that usage was originally figurative. The expression has its origin in the early Christian belief that an as yet unbaptized believer who suffered martyrdom by fire was thereby baptized, i.e., received into the community of the faithful and consequently saved. A synonymous term for other kinds of martyrdom is baptism of blood. Conventional baptism is called baptism of water.

break the ice To initiate a conversation or make a friendly overture; to overcome existing obstacles, prepare the way; begin, dive in, get started. In the late 16th century, break the ice meant literally to facilitate a ship’s passage by breaking the ice. Soon after, it was used figuratively in regard to any efforts made to begin a new project or to upset the status quo of a stalemate, deadlock, impasse or such. In modern figurative use, break the ice is heard mostly in the context of interpersonal relationships. Any attempt to cut through another person’s reserve is considered “breaking the ice.”

I availed myself of a pause in the conversation to break the ice in relation to the topic which lay nearest my heart. (Henry Rogers, The Eclipse of Faith, 1853)

get one’s feet wet To get a start in or begin something new; to get one’s first taste of, to get the feel of. The allusion is probably to the way a bather tests the water by putting his toes or feet in before committing himself to total immersion.

get the ball rolling To initiate or begin; to assume active leadership of a project, event, or other matter; to set an activity in motion. This expression probably originated in the ancient British game of bandy, a hockeylike sport in which players kept a ball in constant motion as they attempted to score points by getting it in the goal of the opponent. A variation is start the ball rolling.

A related expression, keep the ball rolling, is probably also derived from bandy. It means to continue or to spark renewed interest and enthusiasm in an activity or project already underway. One source credits the popularity of this expression to the 1840 presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison whose followers wrote political slogans on a huge paper ball and then pushed it from city to city shouting, “Keep the ball rolling.”

get under way To get started, begin moving. This is borrowed from an old nautical idiom under way ‘in forward motion.’

pave the way See PREPARATION.

ring up the curtain on To begin or initiate a project, plan, or activity; to start the ball rolling. Originally limited to use in the theater, this expression referred to raising the curtain on cue (usually the ringing of a bell) to mark the start of a performance. Though still used in this theatrical context, ring up the curtain on is often applied figuratively to describe the inauguration of a project or other endeavor.

Before the curtain was rung up on the great spectacular drama of Vaal Krantz … (M. H. Grant, Words by an Eyewitness; The Struggle in Natal, 1901)

A variation is the shortened ring up.

Look sharp below there, gents, … they’re a-going to ring-up. (Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, 1837)

See also ring down the curtain on, TERMINATION.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.initiation - a formal entry into an organization or position or officeinitiation - a formal entry into an organization or position or office; "his initiation into the club"; "he was ordered to report for induction into the army"; "he gave a speech as part of his installation into the hall of fame"
inaugural, inauguration - the ceremonial induction into a position; "the new president obviously enjoyed his inauguration"
ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony, observance - a formal event performed on a special occasion; "a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor"
coronation, enthronement, enthronisation, enthronization, investiture - the ceremony of installing a new monarch
bar mitzvah - (Judaism) an initiation ceremony marking the 13th birthday of a Jewish boy and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility; "a bar mitzvah is an important social event"
bas mitzvah, bat mitzvah, bath mitzvah - (Judaism) an initiation ceremony marking the 12th birthday of a Jewish girl and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility
2.initiation - the act of starting something for the first timeinitiation - the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new; "she looked forward to her initiation as an adult"; "the foundation of a new scientific society"
commencement, start, beginning - the act of starting something; "he was responsible for the beginning of negotiations"
authorship, paternity - the act of initiating a new idea or theory or writing; "the authorship of the theory is disputed"
3.initiation - wisdom as evidenced by the possession of knowledge; "his knowledgeability impressed me"; "his dullness was due to lack of initiation"
wisdom, wiseness - the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight
4.initiation - an act that sets in motion some course of eventsinitiation - an act that sets in motion some course of events
causation, causing - the act of causing something to happen
instigation, fomentation - deliberate and intentional triggering (of trouble or discord)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. introduction, installation, inauguration, inception, commencement They announced the initiation of a rural development programme.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. The act or process of bringing or being brought into existence:
Informal: kickoff.
2. The act or process of formally admitting a person to membership or office:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
بَدْء، إدْخال
başla ma


A. N (= beginning) → inicio m, comienzo m; (= admission) (into society, organization) → admisión f (into en)
B. CPD initiation ceremony, initiation rite Nceremonia f de iniciación
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(= launching) [scheme, programme] → mise f en route; [talks, negotiations] → amorce f
the initiation of a rural development programme → la mise en route d'un programme de développement rural
There was a year between initiation and completion of the project → Un an s'est écoulé entre la mise en route du projet et son achèvement.
[person] (into secret etc)initiation f
initiation into sth [+ religion] → initiation à qch; [+ activity] → initiation à qch; [+ society, organization] → introduction dans qch
This was my initiation into the peace movement → Telle fut mon introduction dans le mouvement pacifiste.
modif [rite, ceremony] → d'initiation
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(of project, fashion etc)Initiierung f (geh); (of negotiations)Einleitung f; (of discussions)Eröffnung f
(into society) → Aufnahme f; (as tribal member) → Initiation f
(into branch of knowledge) → Einweihung f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ɪˌnɪʃɪˈeɪʃn] niniziazione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(iˈniʃəl) adjective
of, or at, the beginning. There were difficulties during the initial stages of building the house.
the letter that begins a word, especially a name. The picture was signed with the initials JJB, standing for John James Brown.
verbpast tense, past participle iˈnitialled
to mark or sign with initials of one's name. Any alteration on a cheque should be initialled.
iˈnitially adverb
at the beginning; at first. This project will cost a lot of money initially but will eventually make a profit.
iˈnitiate (-ʃieit) verb
1. to start (eg a plan, scheme, changes, reforms etc). He initiated a scheme for helping old people with their shopping.
2. to take (a person) into a society etc, especially with secret ceremonies. No-one who had been initiated into the society ever revealed the details of the ceremony.
iˈnitiate (-ʃiət) noun
a person who has been initiated (into a society etc).
iˌnitiˈation (-ʃiˈei-) noun
the act of initiating or process of being initiated.
iˈnitiative (-ʃətiv) noun
1. a first step or move that leads the way. He took the initiative in organizing a search party to look for the girl; A move to start peace talks is sometimes called a peace initiative.
2. the ability to lead or make decisions for oneself. He is quite good at his job, but lacks initiative; My son actually went to the hairdresser's on his own initiative!
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore, present proteins can act as an initiating agent or inhibitory agent accordingly to the ionic environmental composition.
LISA's Head said life settlement brokers want disclosure to prevent abuses from occurring and to prevent commissions from an initiating agent being out of line.
* Upper airway and ocular symptoms usually precede a lower tract response after exposure to an initiating agent. Early identification of an offending substance is associated with the greatest likelihood of recovery from occupational asthma.