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

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 initial estimates of 5.1 and 5.4 magnitude were revised to 5.2 by the agencies. Anchorage Daily News, "Magnitude 5.2 earthquake shakes Southcentral Alaska," 17 Sep. 2019 The initial seniors were first-generation survivors of the Japanese World War II incarceration camps. Glenn Nelson, The Seattle Times, "Battle for ‘soul’ of Seattle’s Japanese American community as Keiro Northwest nursing home closes," 16 Sep. 2019 Morales’s initial victory in 2015 marked a breach in the dam that was quickly followed by a flood of progressive victories in major cities. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019 Available in yellow, rose or white gold, the bracelet is customizable with any initial and retails for $1,700. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé Kardashian's Daughter True, 17 Months, Is Ready for 'Fashion Week' in Chic All-Pink Outfit," 12 Sep. 2019 His initial reaction was, preposterously, to blame the fires on NGOs. The Economist, "The Amazon’s fires could burn Jair Bolsonaro," 29 Aug. 2019 The initial reaction to the decision in Washington vaguely split down party lines. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Cherokee Nation Is Coming to Congress," 26 Aug. 2019 Stories of survival are trickling out across northern Bahamas as the initial shock wears off from Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history. Washington Post, "As shock wears off, mental health concerns grow in Bahamas," 16 Sep. 2019 In a Monday press conference Daytona Beach Police officials said that Hayes had been a person of interest during the initial investigations of the deaths between 2005 and 2006. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "A serial killer roamed Central and South Florida for decades, police say. Now he’s behind bars.," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Their topsheets held the initials of his parents, three sisters, and seven brothers, but there was no time for sentiment now. National Geographic, "Meet the skier who made the 'impossible' first solo descent of K2," 12 June 2019 According to documents from the two-year legal proceedings, Ali was aware of and an active participant in Manasra’s ongoing scheme to mark the fraudulent jewelry with the initials and markings of Native American artists and tribes. Alexandra Mondalek, Vox, "Fake turquoise jewelry is hurting Native Americans economically," 24 Oct. 2018 The phone was found later that day in the pocket of a jacket belonging to Wilson, a woman named in an FBI affidavit only by the initials of JJ told authorities. Fox News, "Alaska man charged with murder in 10-year-old girl's slaying," 24 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

10 Oct 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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