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

Cousins also helped out with his legs, running for 10 yards on third-and-9 at the Minnesota 25 for the initial first down of the game. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Kirk Cousins sharp in only series as Vikings win sixth straight preseason opener," 10 Aug. 2019 The previous low inspection score for the Fantasy was a 78 on its initial sailing in March 1990. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Carnival Fantasy, based in Mobile, fails health inspection; flies, improper sneeze guards cited," 9 Aug. 2019 Curt James Brockway, 39, of Superior, Montana, made an initial court appearance Monday on a charge of assault on a minor. USA TODAY, "Emoji house, Saharan dust, turtle crossing: News from around our 50 states," 8 Aug. 2019 Brockway, of Superior, Montana, made an initial court appearance Monday on a charge of assault on a minor. chicagotribune.com, "Montana man slammed teen to ground for not taking his hat off for national anthem at rodeo, prosecutors say," 7 Aug. 2019 At an initial court appearance on Monday, prosecutors recommended his bail be set at $100,000, but a judge ruled that he can be released on his own recognizance, CBS affiliate KPAX reports. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Man allegedly throws 13-year-old boy to the ground for not taking hat off during national anthem," 7 Aug. 2019 Preliminary information showed the initial blast started a small fire that was extinguished by sprinkler systems. Washington Post, "Nevada students to live in hotel-casino after dorm blast," 2 Aug. 2019 The suspect in the Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) fire on July 18 had sent in a novel to the company, but it was rejected in its initial screening, KyoAni's lawyer Daisuke Okeda said Tuesday. Gavin J. Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, "Kyoto Animation Arson Attack: Suspect Had Submitted a Novel to Company," 31 July 2019 The trailer, released Tuesday, shows her initial escape from slavery, and her decision to help members of her family to freedom, which started her involvement with the Underground Railroad. Justin Curto, PEOPLE.com, "Cynthia Erivo Frees Slaves as Heroic Abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Moving Trailer for Biopic," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Monday does not want to be identified beyond his initials, S.D. his age, and his hometown area, Eisenberg said. Author: Julie Shaw, Anchorage Daily News, "800 men accuse leaders in Boy Scouts of America of sexual abuse, lawyers say in announcing lawsuit," 6 Aug. 2019 The couple’s initials — E and E, for Elizabeth and Eddie — were discreetly painted on the doors. James Barron, The Mercury News, "Piedmont man sells Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘Green Goddess’ Rolls-Royce at auction," 2 Aug. 2019 Now, though, Badu is debuting her most resourceful beauty look yet: A custom wig made from bottle caps, many of which are emblazoned with her name and initials. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Of Course Erykah Badu Has a Custom Wig Made From Bottle Caps," 1 Aug. 2019 Prescaling suggests that when a system first evolves from its initial, far-from-equilibrium condition, scaling exponents don’t yet perfectly describe it. Quanta Magazine, "The Universal Law That Aims Time’s Arrow," 1 Aug. 2019 The initial plaintiffs in the case, identified only by initials as J.B., S.R. and S.F., will receive $675,000 each under the settlement. oregonlive.com, "Archdiocese of Portland to pay nearly $4 million to settle sex abuse claims by 8 men against Oregon priest," 1 Aug. 2019 Electronic screens in the courthouse lobby list the day's cases, each identified by the first name and last initial of the child or children involved. Mary Jo Pitzl, azcentral, "These courts must protect kids' privacy. They also must be public. Can it be done?," 31 July 2019 The couple’s initials — E and E, for Elizabeth and Eddie — were discreetly painted on the doors. James Barron, New York Times, "Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘Green Goddess’ Rolls-Royce on the Auction Block," 31 July 2019 During this time, people also used tea towels to practice embroidery, often gifting friends and family tea towels stitched with flowers, initials, or other designs. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Is a Tea Towel, Anyway? Different Ways to Use This Not-so-Basic Kitchen Cloth," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Republic confirmed the authenticity of the postings, which are initialed, through further correspondence with the women. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Women incarcerated in Perryville prison use website to share their stories," 29 June 2019 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

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

15 Aug 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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