Learn English – the adjectival form of “initiative”


Merriam-Webster says in its entry for
that this
word can also be an adjective:

  1. a : initiated or properly admitted (as to membership or an office)
    b : instructed in some secret knowledge
  2. obsolete : relating to an initiate

However, this sense means introductory or preliminary, as in just getting
started. But that is not the sense that I am looking for here. I don’t want
an adjective derived from the verb initiate but rather one derived from the noun initiative.

would like to know the correctly derived adjective to fit this blank:

  • This guy shows great initiative.
  • This guy is ______.

I am not interested in meanings derived from the verb to initiate,
and to be frank I was quite surprised to find out those other senses.

question instead seeks an adjective whose meaning relates to what I believe
to be today’s dominant sense of the noun
: the
one used to represent a positive quality in people who come up with their
own solutions, need not be told exactly what to do, etc. This is the sense
that Merriam-Webster gives as “energy or aptitude displayed in initiation
of action”.

In other words, I need something for this blank below:

  • People who come up with their own solutions and need not be told exactly show great initiative.
  • Such people are ________ people.

Best Answer

Somewhat to my chagrin, I think I'd go with proactive.

The adjective usage of initiative that you're finding documented would have to be spoken as "inish-ee-aytiv" (as opposed to the noun "inish-uh-tiv") in order to be understood, it would sound distractingly odd, and your chances of getting your meaning across still aren't too hot. In written communication it would be a total loss.

In some circumstances you could go with a fairly close mapping to initiatory, but that would not typically be understood properly either.