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

The documentary Game of Thrones: The Last Watch, which aired tonight on HBO, showed a bit of that initial read-through with the show's biggest stars—and all of Harington's pure, incredible reactions. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke's Reactions to Daenerys's Death Are Too Much," 27 May 2019 Adams says most teams will have two variations of dry tires, one that puts a focus on durability and an alternate that has an initial performance benefit that drops away quickly. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Gaining Speed: A History of the Indy 500 Racing Tire," 24 May 2019 Now, a year after the initial diagnosis and an incredible 10 rounds of chemotherapy, the dance teacher has successfully beaten the disease. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Abby Lee Miller Is Officially Cancer Free," 23 May 2019 But as the directory expanded from the initial 25 designers to more than 140, the proportion of women to men sadly never righted itself—until now. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "The Women on This Year's ELLE Decor A-List Outnumber the Men," 22 May 2019 Clark, who worked with Wasser on the first ivory cases to use DNA evidence, remembers their initial meeting at a London conference of top wildlife law enforcement officials nearly 20 years ago. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Sam Wasser pours his intense passion for protecting wildlife into research and catching poachers," 21 May 2019 Tofel says that active development on Project Campfire halted last December after an initial flurry of activity. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "The dream of dual-booting Windows 10 on Chromebooks appears dead," 16 May 2019 The report, from the International Red Cross and Crescent, suggested that a generous portion of casualties among first responders—emergency workers tasked with initial disaster management—could be linked to poor situational awareness on the ground. Popular Mechanics, "The Squishy Robots That Could Save the World," 13 May 2019 But then, to many eager followers' delight, the entire group of initial offerings was revealed on Saturday evening. Marci Robin, Allure, "Kylie Skin’s First Products Have Been Revealed, and They’re Surprisingly Affordable," 12 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At school, Betty checks out her mom’s story: there are initials on the windowsill and chalices in the trophy case. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "Someone Died in the Riverdale Flashback Episode and I Need to Talk About It ASAP," 8 Nov. 2018 The names of the children were listed only by initials in the complaint. Katy Moeller And Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "3-year-old birthday girl dies after Boise stabbing, suspect charged with murder," 2 July 2018 Garcia, who wears a pin with Akins' initials on his hat at tournaments, served as a pallbearer at the funeral along with Brees. Jeff Duncan, NOLA.com, "Sergio Garcia bummed he didn't get to tee it off with relative Drew Brees," 25 Apr. 2018 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

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

6 Jun 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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