of, pertaining to, or occurring at the beginning; first: the initial step in a process.
Phonetics. occurring at the beginning of a word or syllable, as the (k) sound of kite, chasm, or quay.
an initial letter, as of a word.
the first letter of a proper name.
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.
to mark or sign with an initial or the initials of one's name, especially as a token of preliminary or informal approval.

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

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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
initial (ɪˈnɪʃəl)
1.  of, at, or concerning the beginning
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
vb , -tials, -tialling, -tialled, -tials, -tialing, -tialed
5.  (tr) to sign with one's initials, esp to indicate approval; endorse
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1526, "of or pertaining to a beginning," from L. initialis "initial, incipient," from initium "a beginning, an entrance," from pp. stem of inire "to go into, enter upon, begin," from in- "into, in" + ire "to go" (see ion). Meaning "standing at the beginning of a word, sentence,
etc." (1622) led to noun sense of "initial letter of a name or surname" (1627). The verb meaning "to mark or sign with initials" is from 1864.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Three years later, that initial challenge has turned into a way of life.
After that initial flush fades, simply nip off spent blooms and the plant will
  slip into another round of bloom.
Milk was not the initial idea for this property, and neither was cheese.
Towards the close of the eighteenth century, changes started in the
  pronunciation of initial h and wh.
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