Definition of initial in English:

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Pronunciation: /iˈniSHəl/


1Existing or occurring at the beginning: our initial impression was favorable
More example sentences
  • They want to see if the initial, favorable impression was justified.
  • The initial impression is of a tiny, brilliantly painted chapel.
  • There were 1,703 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 9 from the preceding week.
beginning, opening, commencing, starting, inceptive, embryonic, fledgling;
first, early, primary, preliminary, elementary, foundational, preparatory;
introductory, inaugural
1.1(Of a letter) at the beginning of a word.
Example sentences
  • This simple activity helps students focus on initial letters in words in both languages.
  • In Experiment 2, we found that the initial letter of the solution word was no better as a cue than either the middle or last letter.
  • In PDF files particularly, initial letters may be separated from the rest of the word.


(usually initials)
The first letter of a name or word, typically a person’s name or a word forming part of a phrase: they carved their initials into the tree trunk
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.

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

[with object]
1Mark or sign (a document) with one’s initials, especially in order to authorize or validate it.
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, initialize, sign, ink, countersign, autograph, endorse, inscribe, witness, verify
1.1Agree to or ratify (a treaty or contract) by signing it.
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'.

  • Initial comes from Latin initium ‘beginning’, from inire ‘go in (to)’.

Words that rhyme with initial

artificial, beneficial, interstitial, judicial, official, sacrificial, solstitial, superficial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·i·tial

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