in·​au·​gu·​ral | \ i-ˈnȯ-gyə-rəl How to pronounce inaugural (audio) , -g(ə-)rəl \

Definition of inaugural

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to an inauguration
2 : marking a beginning : first in a projected series



Definition of inaugural (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an inaugural address

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Examples of inaugural in a Sentence

Adjective They attended the inaugural ball. the inaugural event in the city's week long festival honoring the sailing ships Noun attended the inaugurals of the city's last three mayors
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Billie Eilish will serve as one of the co-chairs of the 2021 Met Gala alongside actor Timothée Chalamet, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and tennis phenom Naomi Osaka. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Billie Eilish to Celebrate 'American Independence' Theme as 2021 Met Gala Co-Host," 3 May 2021 Amanda Gorman is an author, activist, model, and, notably, the youngest inaugural poet. The New Yorker, "Amanda Gorman and Jeremy O. Harris," 23 Mar. 2021 Adults should have active conversations with kids on the accomplishments -- and challenges -- of women like Vice President Kamala Harris, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and activist Malala Yousafzai, to name just a few. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "How Meghan should, and shouldn't, influence princess play," 11 Mar. 2021 Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Harvard graduate, became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history during President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration. Renee Morad, NBC News, "International Women's Day: 5 female trailblazers leading the fight for gender equity," 8 Mar. 2021 One of those conversations was led by Amanda Gorman, the 2021 inaugural poet. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Amanda Gorman Says the Royal Family Missed Its "Greatest Opportunity for Change" with Meghan Markle," 8 Mar. 2021 Amanda Gorman is detailing her recent experience with racial profiling after capturing America's heart and making history as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Amanda Gorman shares racial profiling incident: 'This is the reality of Black girls'," 6 Mar. 2021 Tonight, Amanda Gorman—who made history as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history – took to her social media accounts to detail her wretched racial profiling incident. D'shonda Brown, Essence, "Poet Amanda Gorman Was Racially Profiled And ‘Tailed’ During Her Walk Home," 5 Mar. 2021 Amanda is the sixth and youngest inaugural poet in US history to read at a presidential inauguration. Dr. Richard Osibanjo, Forbes, "The Next Generation Leader: Lessons From Amanda Gorman," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And his second inaugural meditated on a just God chastening a republic of liberty that tolerated slavery. Andrew F. Lang, WSJ, "‘Lincoln in Private’ Review: Confidential Ruminations," 4 May 2021 The 2020 event fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, one year after Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske won the inaugural. John Sturbin, Dallas News, "In his IndyCar return, Tony Kanaan is excited to split seat time with Jimmie Johnson," 2 May 2021 The Wednesday ceremony that installed Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. as the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Devi Harris as vice president was more than an inaugural. Star Tribune, "On historic day, democracy prevails," 20 Jan. 2021 Another precedent for the Editorial Board's position encouraging an indoor inauguration is the relatively recent second inaugural of Ronald Reagan. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Inauguration Day, Trump and impeachment, icy roads," 18 Jan. 2021 Trump exited the stage stealthily and was the first living president in over 150 years not to attend the inaugural. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, "What stood out in President Biden's inaugural address? Our panel weighs in," 21 Jan. 2021 In his first inaugural, Washington referred to Psalm 82. Stuart Halpern, WSJ, "God at the Inauguration," 21 Jan. 2021 Sisters Sylvia Luna, 43, and Norma Luna, 49, both teachers in Killeen, Texas, stood on the state Capitol steps in Austin to watch the inaugural on their cellphones. Los Angeles Times, "For some Americans, Biden-Harris inauguration reassures: ‘We’re going to be OK’," 20 Jan. 2021 Due to extreme weather, Ronald Reagan's second inaugural inside the Senate in 1985. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Six norm-busting inaugurations that paved the way for Biden's," 14 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inaugural.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inaugural


1689, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for inaugural

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The first known use of inaugural was in 1689

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Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inaugural.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for inaugural



English Language Learners Definition of inaugural

: happening as part of an official ceremony or celebration when someone (such as a newly elected official) begins an important job : happening as part of an inauguration
: happening as the first one in a series of similar events


in·​au·​gu·​ral | \ i-ˈnȯ-gyə-rəl How to pronounce inaugural (audio) \

Kids Definition of inaugural

: occurring as part of an inauguration an inaugural speech

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