What is the difference between initialize and initiate words? Where should we use and can somebody explain it with some examples.

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    Interesting question -- +1 to counteract the baloney downvote. – Cyberherbalist Jun 26 '13 at 16:43

They both imply we start something


Cause (a process or action) to begin: "initiate discussions".


Set to the value or put in the condition appropriate to the start of an operation.

Also if you initiate something, it is your initiative, whereas if you initialise something, you can have been asked to do so.

In programming, we use the word initialise, when we declare a variable and give it an initial value

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    As the word is virtually nonexistent in Google NGrams before 1950, I suspect it's only used in computing. – Andrew Grimm Jul 15 '15 at 5:46
  • Ngram – zypA13510 Jul 19 '18 at 1:47
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    I feel an ngram is meaningless here. The two words are used in different contexts – mplungjan Jul 19 '18 at 4:16

Initiate means to start something, and there is often (though not always) an implication that this is something new, that has never been done before.

Initialize means to set a system to a starting state. This may be one step (or even the only step) in initiating the system.


Initiate means to start, engage, or begin something.

Initialize means to take the beginning letters of something. For example, United States of America becomes USA. Such initialization is very common. It can also mean to apply initial value to something that will have a variable value, over time.

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