the ability to make decisions and take action without waiting for someone to tell you what to do:
I wish my son would show more initiative.
Don't keep asking me for advice. Use your initiative.
Lt. Carlos was not obeying orders. He acted on his own initiative (=he was not told what to do).
an important new plan or process to achieve a particular aim or to solve a particular problem:
a government initiative to help exporters
an education initiative
a new initiative for peace in the Middle East
if you have or take the initiative, you are in a position to control a situation and decide what to do next:
Why don't you take the initiative and ask him out?
Politicians need to seize the initiative from the terrorists.
The government must not lose the initiative in the fight against terrorism.
a process by which ordinary citizens can officially suggest a change in the law by signing a petition