Etymology
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initiate (n.)

"one who has been initiated" (in secret doctrines, etc.), 1732, from obsolete or archaic past-participle adjective initiate "initiated, instructed in secret knowledge" (c. 1600), from Latin initiatus (see initiate (v.)).

initiate (v.)

c. 1600, "introduce to some practice or system," also "begin, set going," from Late Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare "to begin, originate," in classical Latin only in the sense "to instruct in mysteries or sacred knowledge." This is from initium "a beginning; an entrance," also in plural initia "constituent parts; sacred mysteries," a noun use of the neuter past participle of inire "to go into, enter upon, begin," from in- "into, in" (from PIE root *en "in") + ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go").

In some senses the English word is a back-formation from initiation. Related: Initiated; initiates; initiating; initiator.

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Definitions of initiate
1
initiate (v.)
bring into being;
He initiated a new program
Synonyms: originate / start
initiate (v.)
take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of;
Synonyms: pioneer
initiate (v.)
accept people into an exclusive society or group, usually with some rite;
African men are initiated when they reach puberty
Synonyms: induct
initiate (v.)
bring up a topic for discussion;
Synonyms: broach
initiate (v.)
set in motion, start an event or prepare the way for;
Synonyms: lead up
2
initiate (n.)
someone new to a field or activity;
Synonyms: novice / beginner / tyro / tiro
initiate (n.)
someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field;
Synonyms: learned person / pundit / savant
initiate (n.)
people who have been introduced to the mysteries of some field or activity;
it is very familiar to the initiate
Synonyms: enlightened
From wordnet.princeton.edu