Etymology
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initial (v.)
"to mark or sign with initials," 1837, from initial (n.). Related: Initialed; initialing.
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initial (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." (1620s).
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initial (adj.)

1520s, "of or pertaining to a beginning," from French initial or directly from Latin initialis "initial, incipient, of the beginning," from initium "a beginning, a commencement; an entrance, a going in," noun use of neuter past participle of inire "to go into, enter upon, begin," from in- "into, in" (from PIE root *en "in") + ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go"). Related: Initially.

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initialese (n.)
"abbreviation by use of initials," 1950, from initial (n.) + -ese.
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initialize (v.)
"to make ready for operation," 1957, from initial (adj.) + -ize. The same formation had been used earlier to mean "use initials instead of a name" (1837); "designate by initials" (1833). Related: Initialized; initializing; initialization (1957 in the modern sense).
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initiative (n.)
"power of initiating," 1775, from French initiative (16c.), from Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare "to begin," from initium "a beginning" (see initial (adj.)). From 1793 as "disposition to take the lead." Phrase take the initiative recorded by 1815.
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ab initio 
c. 1600, Latin, literally "from the beginning," from ab "from" (see ab-) + ablative of initium "entrance, beginning," which is from or related to the verb inire "to go into, enter upon, begin" (see initial).
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initiation (n.)

1580s, from French initiation or directly from Latin initiationem (nominative initiatio) "participation in secret rites," noun of action from past-participle stem of initiare "originate, initiate," from initium "a beginning" (see initial (adj.)).

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initialism (n.)
"written word formed from the first letters, in order, of other words in a name or phrase," 1957, from initial (n.) + -ism. The word was used earlier in a sense "group of initial letters of an author's name (rather than the full name) on a publication" (1868). An earlier term for what we now call an initialism was alphabetic abbreviation (1907).

The distinction from acronym is not universally agreed-upon; but in general, cases such as NATO, where the letters always are sounded as a word, are regarded as acronyms, those such as FBI, where the letters sound as letters, are initial-words or initialisms. The use of acronym in entries in this dictionary that are technically initialisms is a deliberate error, because many people will search all such words using "acronym."
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*ei- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to go."

It forms all or part of: Abitur; adit; ambience; ambient; ambit; ambition; ambitious; andante; anion; cation; circuit; coitus; commence; commencement; concomitant; constable; count (n.1) title of nobility; county; dysprosium; errant; exit; initial; initiate; initiation; introit; ion; issue; itinerant; itinerary; janitor; January; Janus; Jena; Mahayana; obiter; obituary; perish; praetor; Praetorian; preterite; sedition; sudden; trance; transient; transit; transitive; viscount.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit e'ti "goes," imas "we go," ayanam "a going, way;" Avestan ae'iti "goes," Old Persian aitiy "goes;" Greek ienai "to go;" Latin ire "to go," iter "a way;" Old Irish ethaim "I go," Irish bothar "a road" (from *bou-itro- "cows' way"), Gaulish eimu "we go;" Lithuanian eiti "to go;" Old Church Slavonic iti "go;" Bulgarian ida "I go;" Russian idti "to go;" Gothic iddja "went."
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