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. 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.

  2. Seyoum Mesfin:

    The initial reaction we got from the delegations here is that it is a good document for negotiation.

  3. Joseph Votel:

    We help our embassies with some of their messaging activities that they are doing out there to make sure that truthful information is getting out to populations. We use our civil affairs capability to help connect governments to their populations and strengthen those relationships. In doing that, (we) reduce those vulnerabilities of populations who may be vulnerable to this type of pressure they get from outside countries . Asked about Al Qaeda, Votel said the terror group was diminished in east Africa, Syria and Yemen, but the lesson of the last decade is that the U.S. and its allies must maintain pressure or the groups will reinvent and reconstitute. The leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is believed to be in Pakistan, and has been noticeably silent on the June drone strike that killed the organization's number two , Naser al Wuhayishi, who also was the leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. To me it is a good sign it’s an indication that we have been very effective at isolating him so that is kind of my initial reaction.

  4. Terry Virts:

    I think that 100 years from now, 500 years from now, people will look back on this as the initial baby steps that we took going into the solar system. In the same way that we look back on Columbus and the other explorers 500 years ago, this is the way people will look at this time in history.

  5. Richard Branson:

    Imagine the possibilities for the 3 billion people in hard to reach areas who are currently not connected, we are pleased to join Virgin as an initial investor, and we look forward to helping fund initial technical feasibility work for the satellite system.

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

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    a deliberately offensive act or something producing the effect of deliberate disrespect
    • A. affront
    • B. cleave
    • C. emanate
    • D. famish

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