Definition of initial in English:


Syllabification: in·i·tial
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.
    More 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) Back to top  
  • 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] Back to top  
  • 1Mark or sign (a document) with one’s initials, especially in order to authorize or validate it.
    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, initialize, sign, ink, countersign, autograph, endorse, inscribe, witness, verify
  • 1.1Agree to or ratify (a treaty or contract) by signing it.
    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 ads and access premium resources

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