Definition of initial in English:


Line breaks: ini|tial
Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɪʃ(ə)l




(usually initials) Back to top  
  • The first letter of a name or word, typically a person’s given name or a word forming part of a phrase: they carved their initials into the desktops
    More example sentences
    • It would have been helpful to have each man's name or initials before each letter.
    • Bach concluded all his works with the letters AMDG - the initials of the Latin words meaning ‘To the greater glory of God’.
    • Robert's wife Susan said that the irons had such a positive effect that they gave someone who used them a good hair day - the initials of this phrase then became the company's name.
    initial letter, beginning letter; (initials) abbreviation, acronym, initialism

verb (initials, initialling, initialled; US initialing, initialed)

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Mark or sign (a document) with one’s initials in order to authorize or validate it: the man initialled the three warrants see that your client initials all alterations
    More example sentences
    • Jones read over and initialled or signed the document.
    • Please initial any alterations you make thereafter signing the statement of truth at the end.
    • This document, which he signed and initialed, reads as follows.
    put one's initials on, sign, countersign, autograph, endorse, put one's mark on, inscribe, superscribe, witness
    archaic underwrite
  • 1.1Agree to or ratify (a treaty or contract) by signing it: Greece and the United States initialled a new defence cooperation agreement
    More example sentences
    • The PA Supervisory Board's decision came as a surprise to foreign investors and the public in Bulgaria, after the PA initialled the draft contract with Viva Ventures.
    • The Tlicho Agreement was initialled Sept. 4 by the chief negotiators of the Dogrib Treaty 11 council, the government of the Northwest Territories and the government of Canada.
    • Raul Castro initialed a draft treaty with the Soviet Defense Minister that governed the deployment of Soviet forces to Cuba.


early 16th century: from Latin initialis, from initium 'beginning', from inire 'go in', from in- 'into' + ire 'go'.

More definitions of initial

Definition of initial in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little