Meaning of INITIAL in English

I. ə̇ˈnishəl adjective

Etymology: Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin initialis, from initium beginning (from initus — past participle of inire to go into, begin, from in- in- (II) + ire to go — + -ium, suffix used to form abstract nouns) + -alis -al — more at issue

1. : of or relating to the beginning : marking the commencement : incipient , first

initial symptoms of a disease

this initial series of outbreaks — Thomas Cadett

2. : placed or standing at the beginning

the initial word of a verse

3. : of that form regularly employed only at the beginning of a word — used of a letter in an alphabet that has two or more positional forms

II. noun

( -s )



(1) : the first letter of a proper name

(2) initials plural : the initial letters of an individual's name and surname ; also : the initial letters of the name of an organization, state, or other entity (as U.S.A. for “United States of America” or C.I.O. for “Congress of Industrial Organizations”) or of any group of words

the initials “PE” (meaning “Previous Experience”) — U.S. Code


(1) : a form of an alphabetical letter that regularly is used only at the beginning of a word

(2) : a large letter beginning a text or a division or paragraph usually capital and extending over two or more text lines and sometimes ornate and in more than one color

2. : anlage , precursor ; specifically : a meristematic cell

III. transitive verb

( initialed or initialled ; initialed or initialled ; initialing or initialling -sh(ə)liŋ ; initials )

Etymology: initial (II)

1. : to affix an initial to

initial a memorandum

: to mark (as a handkerchief) with an initial

2. : to authenticate and approve (as the draft of an international agreement) in a preliminary manner by the affixing of the initials of an authorized representative

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.