initial

adjective
ini·​tial | \ i-ˈni-shəl How to pronounce initial (audio) \

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 How to pronounce initialling (audio) \

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 How to pronounce initially (audio) \ adverb
initialness \ i-​ˈni-​shəl-​nəs How to pronounce initialness (audio) \ 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

And baby name speculation based off of that initial would be off the charts. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have the Sweetest Message for Princess Charlotte," 2 May 2019 Since the initial release of the list of NEOM advisors, Dan Doctoroff and Ernest Moriz, a former U.S. Secretary of Energy, have each dropped out of the project. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "‘Smart city’ in Saudi Arabia releases list of design advisors," 11 Oct. 2018 The investigators did an initial assessment, interviewing the co-worker and noting a pizza in the kitchen, some pieces covered in foil and others strewn on the floor. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Fitbit data used to charge 90-year-old man in gruesome hacking murder case," 5 Oct. 2018 Its run was already extended once past its initial closing date. Jeffrey Bauman, ELLE Decor, "See This Record-Breaking Guggenheim Exhibit Before It’s Gone," 18 Apr. 2019 Despite initial reports suggesting that only the male members of the royal family—including Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince Philip—went on the traditional Boxing Day hunt this year, it's now been revealed that Kate Middleton also joined in. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Went Hunting on Boxing Day, but Meghan Markle Gave It a Hard Pass," 31 Dec. 2018 Today in Twitter not living up to its promises: a colleague of mine gets doxed, and the company does not respond to the initial reports of harassment. Casey Newton, The Verge, "One easy thing Facebook should do in Myanmar," 10 Nov. 2018 And not just in raw speed increases: The initial DLSS implementations in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus were widely panned for creating an overly blurry image to achieve those faster frame rates. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "BioWare's Anthem adds DLSS support as Nvidia's RTX push continues," 26 Mar. 2019 Earlier this year, Jonas and Turner got commemorative tattoos for their respective grandfathers, with Jonas intricately sketching a photograph of his grandfather on his arm and Turner opting for a small cursive initial on her finger. Brooke Marine, Glamour, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas' New Tattoos Take Their Wedding Prep to the Next Level," 8 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In March, fans noticed that Taylor was wearing a ring with her boyfriend's initials at the Cats' wrap party. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "5 Signs Taylor Swift Is Definitely Engaged To Joe Alwyn," 29 Apr. 2019 Andrew Milne, 32, wanted his ex-wife's initials removed from the third finger on his left hand. Sarah Lumley | Swns, Fox News, "Man develops blister on finger during tattoo removal procedure," 24 Sep. 2018 However, perhaps to downplay the romantic implications, Kylie pointed out that the initials could also stand for Jordyn Woods, her best friend. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner Might've Just Called Travis Scott Her Husband on Instagram," 23 Jan. 2019 Eager not to lose the record, Noble planned to defend it with Thrust 2's successor, Thrust SSC (the initials stand for SuperSonic Car). Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 In Portuguese, the group’s initials stand for Mozambique National Resistance. Alan Cowell, New York Times, "Afonso Dhlakama, Mozambique’s Opposition Leader, Dies at 65," 6 May 2018 The group, whose initials stand for Basque Homeland and Freedom, took up arms to try to win independence for a new nation carved out of northern Spain and southwestern France, mixing radical nationalism with revolutionary socialism. Esteban Duarte, Bloomberg.com, "Basque Terror Group ETA Dissolves Seven Years After Cease-Fire," 3 May 2018 Raymond HallGetty Images Raymond HallGetty Images The $2,000 house slipper is made of navy mink fur and had the LV initials splashed on it in pink letters. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Wore Her Cozy Louis Vuitton House Slippers Outside," 3 Apr. 2019 For example, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the wives of George V and George VI respectively, used the regal initial. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Real Reason the Queen Signs Her Name as "Elizabeth R"," 14 Mar. 2019

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

9 May 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 How to pronounce initial (audio) \

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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