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Alternative formsEdit

ab init


From Latin ab (from) + initiō, ablative singular of initium (beginning).


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæb ɪˈnɪʃ.i.oʊ/, /ˌæb əˈnɪt.i.oʊ/, /ˌɑb əˈnɪt.i.oʊ/


ab initio

  1. (law) From the time when a legal document comes into force. [Early 17th century.][1]
  2. (sciences) Calculated from first principles, i.e. from basic laws without any further additional assumptions.
    • 1983, Monty Python, The meaning of life, at about 1h 15':
      [] this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
  3. (of an academic course) Taken with no prior qualifications.

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ “ab initio” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, ↑ISBN, page 4.