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

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for initial

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Hernandez made his initial appearance in federal court in Portland before U.S. Judge Michael W. Mosman, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. oregonlive, "Alleged gang member accused of ‘murder in aid of racketeering’ stemming from 2015 Portland killing," 13 Sep. 2019 The developer, HN Gorin, on Wednesday filed initial plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency for a 300-room boutique hotel on tiny Stanhope Street, off Clarendon Street near the Massachusetts Turnpike and Back Bay Station. BostonGlobe.com, "A new hotel could be coming to the Back Bay.," 12 Sep. 2019 Wilson's initial court appearance was the first time the public learned that his legal team had worked with the state on a plea deal involving lesser charges. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Judge accepts Cody Wilson plea deal despite “sufficient evidence” of guilt," 12 Sep. 2019 Bruening was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Sept. 16. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Hartland man could face up to 14 years in prison for a 2016 burglary in the town of Merton, complaint says," 9 Sep. 2019 The initial plan for newcomer Wandy Peralta, claimed off waivers from the Reds Saturday, was to join the team in San Francisco Monday. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Giants’ Dereck Rodriguez: ‘It’s been a learning experience this year’," 8 Sep. 2019 As the Associated Press notes, the initial plan of the land reform was to take the country’s most fertile land, that was owned by the minority-white people, and redistribute it to the poor Black community. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Dead At 95," 6 Sep. 2019 He is scheduled for an initial court appearance in Oregon on Wednesday. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Oregon man arrested for teen’s murder in 41-year-old Anchorage cold case," 4 Sep. 2019 But four years after her initial diagnosis, the cancer returned. Diane Herbst, PEOPLE.com, "Skating & Cycling Coach Beat Cancer Twice and Devotes Her Life to 'Pure Joy' of Special Olympics," 30 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Venezuela has long provided support and refuge for Colombia’s National Liberation Army, known as the ELN for its initials in Spanish. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, "Fears of military conflict between Venezuela and Colombia as tensions over Maduro government escalate," 15 Sep. 2019 The towels have my initials and the pillows bear embroidery of my cats. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Meet the Mastermind Interior Designer Behind Lena Dunham's "Granny Chic" West Village Apartment," 20 Aug. 2019 The inmate, who is identified by initials in the discipline letters, suffered at least five lengthy seizures — for a total of 36 minutes — between the hours of 6 a.m. and noon on Feb. 2, 2018. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Denver jail deputy fired, 2 others disciplined for not helping woman suffering from hours of epileptic seizures in cell," 3 July 2019 Lobos coach Maopu Tuato said that the players wore stickers on their helmets bearing the initials of Harold McDowell, who died in April. Daily Pilot Staff, Daily Pilot, "High School Roundup: Los Amigos football drops opener against Dana Hills," 24 Aug. 2019 As your daughter has no doubt become aware — at doctor’s offices and airport ticketing counters — the alphabetized world is almost exclusively concerned with the first initial of a hyphenated surname. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: When the check came, I didn’t know what to do," 24 Aug. 2019 The explanation is now known as B.C.S. theory, after the initials of the last names of the three scientists who wrote the article: Dr. Bardeen; Leon N. Cooper, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Bardeen’s group; and Dr. Schrieffer. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "J. Robert Schrieffer, 88, Dies; Insight on Superconductivity Led to Nobel," 6 Aug. 2019 Paper dockets with first names and the first initial of their last name are also posted on each courtroom door, often minutes before the court begins its daily session. Mary Jo Pitzl, azcentral, "These courts must protect kids' privacy. They also must be public. Can it be done?," 31 July 2019 To make the exercise more personal, the participants were asked for the initials of their best friend. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "The Worst Form of Envy? In the Future Tense," 14 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Representatives initialed a constitutional document that would establish a joint military and civilian council to rule for a little over three years until elections can be held. Washington Post, "World Digest: Aug. 4, 2019," 4 Aug. 2019 Sudan’s ruling military council and pro-democracy protesters Sunday initialed a constitutional declaration aimed at paving the way for a transition to civilian rule after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir and months of unrest. Nada Rashwan, BostonGlobe.com, "Sudan factions sign agreement paving way for civilian rule," 4 Aug. 2019 In the warehouse, their bottles were shrink-wrapped, stored on pallets and initialed. Laurel Demkovich, Washington Post, "A man told wine fanciers he’d store their pricey bottles. Instead, he sold them and pocketed proceeds.," 3 Aug. 2019 Leaders of both teams initialed their copies and handed them to their Qatari hosts. Peter Baker, New York Times, "How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart," 8 Sep. 2019 Earlier this month, the two sides initialed a constitutional document in the wake of international pressure and amid growing concerns the political crisis that followed al-Bashir’s ouster could ignite civil war. Samy Magdy, BostonGlobe.com, "Sudanese protesters sign final power-sharing deal with army," 17 Aug. 2019 Earlier this month, the two sides initialed a constitutional document in the wake of international pressure and amid growing concerns the political crisis that followed al-Bashir’s ouster could ignite civil war. Washington Post, "Sudanese protesters sign final power-sharing deal with army," 17 Aug. 2019 Both had initialed the documents earlier this month. Samy Magdy, BostonGlobe.com, "Sudanese protesters sign final power-sharing deal with army," 17 Aug. 2019 Both had initialed the documents earlier this month. Washington Post, "Sudanese protesters sign final power-sharing deal with army," 17 Aug. 2019

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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for initial

The first known use of initial was in 1526

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More Definitions for initial

initial

adjective
How to pronounce initial (audio)

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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