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Merriam-Webster says "initiative" can be also an adjective, however, it is adjectival from "to initiate", meaning "introductory" or "preliminary". What is then the correct adjective of "initiative" as in "this guys shows great initiative"? This guy is...?

Edit: I am afraid I did not phrase my question clearly: I am not interested in the meanings derived from "to initiate", actually I was quite surprised to find out this other meaning of the word. My question relates to -- what I believe is today's prime meaning of the word -- initiative as a positive quality in people who come up with their own solutions, need not to be told exactly what to do, etc. These people are ...?

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An overused résumé phrase is (a) self-starter. :) –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jun 20 '12 at 16:37
Yep, I would use self-starting. –  JLG Jun 20 '12 at 16:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

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.

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The OED also records initiative as an adjective, but I’d be surprised to find it used as such today. In your example, I think you’d have to use a different word altogether, such as enterprising.

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Maybe "Proactive" could work? Hope it helps!

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Welcome to EL&U. The purpose of StackExchange is to provide definitive answers; yours could be improved by explaining why you suggest proactive, quoting a dictionary definition, and/or providing examples; without support, this is simply personal opinion. I encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. –  choster Sep 16 at 14:04

protected by Mitch Sep 16 at 13:16

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