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

That was in January when Meghan wore her bright red coat and purple dress, three months after the initial comments about the gender. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Royal Baby's Sex May Have Been Revealed Through These Major Hints," 2 Mar. 2019 Investors will get their next snapshot on the health of the economy Thursday when the Commerce Department releases its initial reading on fourth-quarter gross domestic product. Jessica Menton, WSJ, "History Shows Rebound May Have More Legs as Dow Extends Rally," 22 Feb. 2019 Two days after the initial news broke, Jordyn has finally made a comment on everything that went down. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Tristan Thompson and Jordyn Woods' Cheating Scandal and Everything That Went Down," 22 Feb. 2019 In that situation, which would typically result in grotesque initial understeer, the Tesla somehow pivots around its inside tire and does a tight, not-especially-fast donut with a radius of one Model 3. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Electric Slide: We Drove the Tesla Model 3 in the Snow to See How It Fares as a Rally Car," 21 Feb. 2019 Just about two years after the initial release, Team Cherry’s announced a sequel, titled Hollow Knight: Silksong. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Hollow Knight gets a sequel, Neill Blomkamp makes a live-action Anthem trailer," 15 Feb. 2019 Top pet gifts for the 2018 holiday season: Knit your pooch a sweater with this DIY kit that makes a turtleneck bearing your pet’s initial for canine collegiate chic. Bree Coven Foster, The Seattle Times, "Best pet gifts for your four-legged friends," 14 Nov. 2018 After the initial meeting and a week playing tennis in the sun, the families had become fast friends. Cassie Shortsleeve, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Talking to Someone on a Plane Can Change Your Life," 5 Oct. 2018 Years in the making, the launch cemented SpaceX's initial lead in the new space race with the success of the most powerful rocket in the world, complete with booster-landing ballet. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "One Year On, the Falcon Heavy's Successful Launch Is Still Incredible," 6 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Instead of your typical stiletto, Miley's heels were shaped like her initials. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Miley Cyrus Wore the Coolest Monogrammed High Heels to the 2019 Grammys," 11 Feb. 2019 Those looking to make a more serious commitment can carve their and their significant other’s first initials into Jennifer Fisher’s heart-and-arrow necklace pendant or pick out charms for Monica Vinader’s charm bracelet. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Make It Personal: 14 Custom Jewelry Gifts for Valentine’s Day," 1 Feb. 2019 The process purges voters from the rolls if their registration paperwork doesn’t exactly match their information on government documents, down to mistakes like missing hyphens or middle initials. Ranjani Chakraborty, Vox, "Why American voter registrations are disappearing," 5 Nov. 2018 Inscribed on the gold wedding band were the Bryants' initials, as well as their Dec. 31, 1976, wedding date. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Man finds Mississippi governor's wedding ring in 'old couch' decades after it went missing, gov says," 28 Sep. 2018 Her initial cut and color was done by celebrity colorist Tracey Cunninghan and Jen Atkin. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian's New Haircut Is Giving Fans Marilyn Monroe Vibes," 14 Feb. 2019 The plaintiffs are identified in the complaint by their initials only. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Photographer Bruce Weber faces more allegations of sexual misconduct from male models," 21 Dec. 2018 The plaintiffs are all students who are referred to by their initials in the suit, which doesn’t identify Cruz by name. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cops should have stopped Parkland shooter, students say in lawsuit," 11 July 2018 So, yes: Every batter from Noblesville stepped to the plate on Monday armed with Jason Seaman’s words and Ella Whistler’s initials. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: As Noblesville hero Jason Seaman heals, a community heals with him," 28 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

14 Mar 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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