What does initial mean?

Definitions for initial
ɪˈnɪʃ əlini·tial

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word initial.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. initial(adj)

    the first letter of a word (especially a person's name)

    "he refused to put the initials FRS after his name"

  2. initial(verb)

    occurring at the beginning

    "took the initial step toward reconciliation"

  3. initial(verb)

    mark with one's initials


  1. initial(Noun)

    The first letter of a word or a name.

  2. initial(Noun)

    In plural, the first letter of each word of a person's full name considered as a unit

    You can get your initials printed at the top.

  3. initial(Noun)

    A distinguished initial letter of a chapter or section of a document.

  4. initial(Noun)

    onset, part of a syllable that precedes the syllable nucleus in phonetics and phonology.

  5. initial(Verb)

    To sign one's initial(s), as an abbreviated signature.

    Please initial each page and sign the contract in full at the bottom.

  6. initial(Adjective)

    Chronologically first, early; of or pertaining to the beginning, cause or origin

  7. initial(Adjective)

    Spatially first, placed at the beginning, in the first position; especially said of the first letter of a word

Webster Dictionary

  1. Initial(adj)

    of or pertaining to the beginning; marking the commencement; incipient; commencing; as, the initial symptoms of a disease

    Etymology: [L. initialis, from initium a going in, entrance, beginning, fr. inire to go into, to enter, begin; pref. in- in + ire to go: cf. F. initial. See Issue, and cf. Commence.]

  2. Initial(adj)

    placed at the beginning; standing at the head, as of a list or series; as, the initial letters of a name

    Etymology: [L. initialis, from initium a going in, entrance, beginning, fr. inire to go into, to enter, begin; pref. in- in + ire to go: cf. F. initial. See Issue, and cf. Commence.]

  3. Initial(noun)

    the first letter of a word or a name

    Etymology: [L. initialis, from initium a going in, entrance, beginning, fr. inire to go into, to enter, begin; pref. in- in + ire to go: cf. F. initial. See Issue, and cf. Commence.]

  4. Initial(verb)

    to put an initial to; to mark with an initial of initials

    Etymology: [L. initialis, from initium a going in, entrance, beginning, fr. inire to go into, to enter, begin; pref. in- in + ire to go: cf. F. initial. See Issue, and cf. Commence.]


  1. Initial

    In a written or published work, an initial is a letter at the beginning of a word, a chapter, or a paragraph that is larger than the rest of the text. The word is derived from the Latin initialis, which means standing at the beginning. An initial often is several lines in height and in older books or manuscripts, sometimes ornately decorated. In illuminated manuscripts, initials with images inside them, such as those illustrated here, are known as historiated initials. They were an invention of the Insular art of the British Isles in the eighth century. Initials containing, typically, plant-form spirals with small figures of animals or humans that do not represent a specific person or scene are known as "inhabited" initials. Certain important initials, such as the B of Beatus vir ... at the opening of Psalm 1 at the start of a vulgate Latin psalter, could occupy a whole page of a manuscript. These specific initials, in an illuminated manuscript, also were called Initiums.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Initial

    in-ish′al, adj. commencing: placed at the beginning.—n. the letter beginning a word, esp. a name.—v.t. to put the initials of one's name to:—pr.p. init′ialing (-alling); pa.p. init′ialed (-alled).—v.t. Init′iāte, to make a beginning: to instruct in principles: to acquaint with: to introduce into a new state or society.—v.i. to perform the first act or rite.—n. one who is initiated.—adj. fresh: unpractised.—n. Initiā′tion, act or process of initiating: act of admitting to any society, by instructing in its rules and ceremonies.—adj. Init′iātive, serving to initiate: introductory.—n. an introductory step: the power or right of commencing.—adj. Init′iātory, tending to initiate: introductory.—n. introductory rite. [L. initialisinitium, a beginning, inīre, inītumin, into, īre, ītum, to go.]

Editors Contribution

  1. initial

    A number of letters to express a name.

    The employees did initial their change on the quality assurance procedure.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 15, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'initial' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1626

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'initial' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3390

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'initial' in Adjectives Frequency: #207

How to pronounce initial?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say initial in sign language?

  1. initial


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of initial in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of initial in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of initial in a Sentence

  1. Housing Minister Mustafa Madbouly:

    Any memorandum of understanding is just an initial demonstration of interest but when you start to negotiate the details you definitely have the possibility of not reaching the expectation of any one of the partners and this is what has happened.

  2. Jamie Lettner:

    Austin took his hog,Millhouse, to the auction hoping to raise at least $1,000, but to his surprise, he was able to bring in more than $11,000. The initial bidders came in high at $12 a pound, bringing in a total of almost $3,000 but the auctioneer informed the eager crowd they were going to open up the bidding to anyone who wanted to donate an additional dollar per pound that would go directly to charity. Austins dad said he was shocked when he saw dozens of hands go up. It was a sea of cards that just came up.

  3. Adam Schiff:

    The committee... will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.

  4. Shaun Osborne:

    The rate hike was not at all surprising. The markets were, however, expecting a dovish hike and we haven't got that... That accounts for the rally we've seen in the Canadian dollar, the initial headlines from the bank are... downplaying some of the big concerns they've had with regard to the domestic economy, trade and housing.

  5. Sandy Ageloff:

    We have heard initial reservations and disagreement, but have yet to see definitive action from employers on how to ... avoid or minimize the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on their benefits and corporate philosophy.

Images & Illustrations of initial

  1. initialinitialinitialinitialinitial

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for initial

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • إنسيال, أولArabic
  • inicial, obertura, caplletra, inicialsCatalan, Valencian
  • počáteční, výchozíCzech
  • Initial, ursprünglich, Anfangsbuchstabe, anfänglich, Initiale, ersterGerman
  • αρχικόςGreek
  • inicialSpanish
  • varhainen, alkuperäinen, alku-, ensimmäinen, nimikirjaimilla, nimikirjaimet, anfangi, alkukirjain, alustava, esi-Finnish
  • initiale, lettrine, initial, première lettre, parapherFrench
  • túslitirIrish
  • tùsailScottish Gaelic
  • प्रारंभिकHindi
  • սկզբնատառArmenian
  • inizialeItalian
  • イニシャル, 最初, 始め, 声母, 初期Japanese
  • 聲母, 성모Korean
  • initialLatin
  • initiaal, paraferen, voorletter, beginletterDutch
  • førsteNorwegian
  • inicjałPolish
  • inicial, inicialmentePortuguese
  • iniţialăRomanian
  • начальный, начальная буква, инициал, оригинальный, первичный, первоначальный, инициаль, исходный, буквица, первый, парафироватьRussian
  • иницијал, inicijalSerbo-Croatian
  • initialSwedish
  • แรกเริ่มThai
  • ilkTurkish
  • thanh mẫu, 聲母Vietnamese
  • ערשטYiddish
  • 初始Chinese

Get even more translations for initial »


Find a translation for the initial definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these initial definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "initial." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 29 Nov. 2020. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/initial>.

    Are we missing a good definition for initial? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for initial:

    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.