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From ineō (go in, make a start) +‎ -ium, the former from in (in, into) +‎ (go).



initium n (genitive initiī or initī); second declension

  1. beginning, start
    Synonyms: prīncipium, exordium, limen, orīgō, rudīmentum, prīmōrdium
    Antonym: fīnis
  2. a going in, entrance
    Synonyms: ingressus, limen, iānua, ingressiō, foris, porta, vestibulum
    Antonym: abitus
  3. (in the plural) rites, mysteries


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative initium initia
Genitive initiī
Dative initiō initiīs
Accusative initium initia
Ablative initiō initiīs
Vocative initium initia

1Found in older Latin (until the Augustan Age).

Derived terms[edit]


  • Old Breton: enet
  • Catalan: inici
  • Galician: inzo
  • Galician: inicio
  • Italian: inizio
  • Portuguese: início
  • Spanish: inicio
  • Old Irish: init
  • Welsh: Ynyd


  • initium”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • initium”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • initium in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to begin with a thing: initium capere; incipere ab aliqua re
    • to commence a thing: initium facere, ducere, sumere (alicuius rei)
    • to start from small beginnings: ab exiguis initiis proficisci
    • to begin to speak: initium dicendi facere
    • to commence hostilities: bellum incipere, belli initium facere (B. G. 7. 1. 5)
    • (ambiguous) the elements: elementa; initia or principia rerum
    • (ambiguous) at the beginning of the year: initio anni, ineunte anno