initial

adjective
ini·​tial | \ i-ˈni-shəl \

Definition of initial

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : of or relating to the beginning : incipient his initial reaction
2 : placed at the beginning : first the initial word of the verse

initial

noun

Definition of initial (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : the first letter of a name
b initials plural : the first letter of each word in a full name found that their initials were identical
2 : a large letter beginning a text or a division or paragraph
3 : anlage, precursor specifically : a meristematic cell

initial

verb
initialed or initialled; initialing or initialling\ i-​ˈni-​sh(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of initial (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to affix an initial to
2 : to authenticate or give preliminary approval to by affixing the initials of an authorizing representative

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Other Words from initial

Adjective

initially \ i-​ˈni-​sh(ə-​)lē \ adverb
initialness \ i-​ˈni-​shəl-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for initial

Synonyms: Adjective

earliest, first, foremost, headmost, inaugural, leadoff, maiden, original, pioneer, premier, virgin

Antonyms: Adjective

final, last, latest, latter, terminal, terminating, ultimate

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Examples of initial in a Sentence

Adjective

you've resolved my initial complaint, but now I have a new question

Noun

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's middle initial stood for “Delano.” She put her initials on each page of the contract. The initials F.D.R. stood for “Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

Verb

She initialed each page of the contract.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Years in the making, the launch cemented SpaceX's initial lead in the new space race with the success of the most powerful rocket in the world, complete with booster-landing ballet. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "One Year On, the Falcon Heavy's Successful Launch Is Still Incredible," 6 Feb. 2019 My initial reaction was to just stand there in shock because I was surrounded by people. Seventeen Editors, Seventeen, "23 Juicy Spring Break Confessions That Actually Happened," 5 Feb. 2019 If the startup's iterations on its tech can accomplish the initial goal, its finished design should be able to gather trash twice as fast. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Project to Clean Up the Pacific Garbage Patch Is Literally Falling Apart," 8 Jan. 2019 Previously, Rebel responded to one commenter in an attempt to clarify her initial statements from Ellen. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Rebel Wilson Is Now Apparently Blocking People for Calling Her Out About Erasure," 5 Nov. 2018 That earlier assertion, in turn, backtracked from an initial statement that Saudi authorities knew nothing about what happened to the columnist for The Washington Post, who vanished after entering the consulate Oct. 2. Aya Batrawy, The Seattle Times, "Saudi Arabia again changes its story on Khashoggi killing," 25 Oct. 2018 Field ran Tesla’s vehicle production and engineering, but CEO Elon Musk took over responsibility for production this year after the company failed to meet its initial first-quarter goal for the Model 3. Sam Byford, The Verge, "Tesla’s chief vehicle engineer returns to Apple," 10 Aug. 2018 The GoFundMe page has collected more than $118,000 in donations as of midday Thursday, far more than its initial goal of $75,000 set a day earlier. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "J.J. Watt quietly donates $10K to fallen Wisconsin firefighter's family," 12 July 2018 Griffin started a GoFundMe page for the family to help with medical bills with an initial goal of $10,000. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Ladonnis Griffin's biggest play ever at Lakota West was a GoFundMe page," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This patch sports a giant eagle ripping through cloth, wearing dog tags with the initials of an old Union commander during the Civil War, Col. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Stay up late to watch ULA launch a secret satellite with its most powerful rocket," 7 Dec. 2018 Students joke that the school’s initials stand for University of California Socially Dead. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "UC San Diego begins building largest complex in campus history," 17 June 2018 The Goop name came from a combination of her initials and the double o that a branding-expert friend had joked was a trend in Silicon Valley ( Yahoo ; Google). Elisa Lipsky-karasz, WSJ, "Gwyneth Paltrow Wants to Convert You," 4 Dec. 2018 Two pieces of athletic tape in the shape of a cross with 10 sets of initials were attached to the Santa Fe dugout. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Two Santa Fe shooting victims back in dugout for baseball team's playoff game," 20 May 2018 The name of the business uses the letters of their first initials. Washington Post, "Ex-boyfriend of blast victim arrested on bomb charge," 17 May 2018 This wasn't just the standard charm bracelet with her kids' initials or birthstones on it — the mother of the bride wore a bangle with both of her daughters' names written out in diamonds. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "No One Noticed Sarah Ferguson's Touching Tribute to Beatrice and Eugenie at the Royal Wedding," 18 Oct. 2018 The appeal argues, as did the initial failed lawsuit, that, by using the SDSU name, Friends of SDSU violated state election law and education code. Jennifer Van Grove, sandiegouniontribune.com, "SoccerCity continues legal action against SDSU West," 13 July 2018 Ariana appears to have replaced a tattoo of Pete's initials with a black heart, as Glamour points out. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Seemingly Have Matching Breakup Tattoos," 25 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Board of Elections and Voter Registration on Tuesday rejected five ballots that would have counted during the May primary because poll workers failed to initial the filings. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Training aims to stop poll workers' errors from disqualifying votes," 19 June 2018 Fajman said ballots not being initialed when machines fail is always an issue. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Training aims to stop poll workers' errors from disqualifying votes," 19 June 2018 At East Carolina State, Williams-Sutton might have just been coming into his own on the diamond with a career-high .562 slugging percentage as a junior after initialing using baseball and soccer to stay in shape for basketball. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres place premium on athleticism in Day 2 of draft," 5 June 2018 Shane Keyser The settlement agreement at the heart of the House report was negotiated, signed and initialed by Adams, Greitens’ campaign attorney at the time. Lindsay Wise, Jason Hancock And Steve Vockrodt, kansascity, "Greitens’ legal woes entangle political advisers with ties to Pence’s chief of staff | The Kansas City Star," 3 May 2018 Instead, the agreement was initialed and signed by Essential Consultants. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The definitive guide to the Stormy Daniels scandal," 24 Mar. 2018 Bates' dated and initialed notes showing the bus’ mechanical deficiencies were fixed the same day as the Dec. 6 inspection was provided to Pottawattamie County Sheriff investigators within an hour of the bus fire, Hupp said. Jason Clayworth, USA TODAY, "Inspection records altered a week after Iowa school bus caught fire, killing 2," 8 Feb. 2018 The historical thread is made up of documents such as agent reports, handler reports, transcripts of conversations, personal letters and initialed minutes of emergency meetings, a device that works superbly. Henry Hemming, WSJ, "Rendezvous With le Carré," 1 Sep. 2017 Another thing Veliz has noticed is now many of tags are initialed. Mayra Cruz, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County inmates help remove graffiti through sheriff's office program," 7 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'initial.' 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 initial

Adjective

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for initial

Adjective

Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French iniciel, from Latin initialis, from initium beginning, from inire to go into, from in- + ire to go — more at issue entry 1

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Statistics for initial

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for initial

The first known use of initial was in 1526

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More Definitions for initial

initial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of initial

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: occurring at the beginning of something

initial

noun

English Language Learners Definition of initial (Entry 2 of 3)

: a first letter of a name
: the first letters of each of a person's names

initial

verb

English Language Learners Definition of initial (Entry 3 of 3)

: to mark (something) with your initials

initial

noun
ini·​tial | \ i-ˈni-shəl \

Kids Definition of initial

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the first letter of a name
2 : a large letter beginning a text or a paragraph

initial

adjective

Kids Definition of initial (Entry 2 of 3)

: occurring at or marking the beginning an initial effort the initial word

Other Words from initial

initially \ -​shə-​lē \ adverb

initial

verb
initialed or initialled; initialing or initialling

Kids Definition of initial (Entry 3 of 3)

: to mark with the first letter or letters of a name

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Comments on initial

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