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initial

[ih-nish-uh l] /ɪˈnɪʃ əl/
adjective
1.
of, relating to, or occurring at the beginning; first:
the initial step in a process.
2.
Phonetics. occurring at the beginning of a word or syllable, as the (k) sound of kite, chasm, or quay.
noun
3.
an initial letter, as of a word.
4.
the first letter of a proper name.
5.
a letter of extra size or an ornamental character used at the beginning of a chapter or other division of a book, manuscript, or the like.
verb (used with object), initialed, initialing or (especially British) initialled, initialling.
6.
to mark or sign with an initial or the initials of one's name, especially as a token of preliminary or informal approval.
Origin of initial
1520-1530
1520-30; < Latin initiālis, equivalent to initi(um) beginning (init-, noun derivative of inīre to enter, begin; in- in-2 + īre to go; cf. comes) + -ium -ium) + -alis -al1
Related forms
initialer, noun
initially, adverb
preinitial, verb (used with object)
subinitial, verb (used with object), subinitialed, subinitialing or (especially British) subinitialled, subinitialling.
uninitialed, adjective
uninitialled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for initials
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here he seems to assume the character of the Drapier besides adding his initials.

    Ireland in the Days of Dean Swift Jonathan Swift and J. Bowles (John Bowles) Daly
  • What are the initials of your name and the first letter of the place in which you were born?

    The Story of a Cat mile Gigault de La Bdollire
  • Taking the knife that Gud had left sticking in the tree, she carved a word below the initials.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • I heard him telling one man that scouts had to have plenty of initials.

    Roy Blakeley's Camp on Wheels Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • When bought for use the name or initials of the dead person, and the date of his death, were engraved upon the ring.

British Dictionary definitions for initials

initial

/ɪˈnɪʃəl/
adjective
1.
of, at, or concerning the beginning
noun
2.
the first letter of a word, esp a person's name
3.
(printing) a large sometimes highly decorated letter set at the beginning of a chapter or work
4.
(botany) a cell from which tissues and organs develop by division and differentiation; a meristematic cell
verb -tials, -tialling, -tialled (US) -tials, -tialing, -tialed
5.
(transitive) to sign with one's initials, esp to indicate approval; endorse
Derived Forms
initialer, initialler, noun
initially, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin initiālis of the beginning, from initium beginning, literally: an entering upon, from inīre to go in, from in-² + īre to go
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for initials

initial

adj.

1520s, "of or pertaining to a beginning," from Middle French initial or directly from Latin initialis "initial, incipient," from initium "a beginning, an entrance," from past participle stem of inire "to go into, enter upon, begin," from in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + ire "to go" (see ion).

v.

"to mark or sign with initials," 1864, American English, from initial (n.). Related: Initialed; initialing.

n.

"initial letter of a name or surname," 1620s, from initial (adj.) in a specialized sense "standing at the beginning of a word, sentence, etc."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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8
10
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