Definition of nominal in English:


Line breaks: nom|in¦al
Pronunciation: /ˈnɒmɪn(ə)l


  • 1(Of a role or status) existing in name only: Thailand retained nominal independence under Japanese military occupation
    More example sentences
    • The government plays a nominal role in dictating policy because it cannot monitor local fisheries or enforce fisheries regulations.
    • There are then individuals for whom religion plays only a nominal role in constructing a sense of self and of group membership.
    • It controlled Cuba even after its nominal independence from 1902, and gained sovereignty over the Panama Canal in 1903.
    in name/title only, titular, formal, official, ceremonial; theoretical, purported, supposed, ostensible; self-styled, so-called, would-be
  • 1.1Relating to or consisting of names: the streets have names like Third Avenue, but the resemblance to Manhattan is only nominal a nominal roll of the Grenadier Company shows a total of 86 men
    More example sentences
    • First, check that your name is on the nominal roll.
    • This was made possible by the Department of Veteran's decision to construct a nominal roll of all who served in the Australian Forces during World War Two.
    • A nominal roll of all participants will be included.
  • 2(Of a price or charge) very small; far below the real value or cost: they charge a nominal fee for the service
    More example sentences
    • While the charges are nominal at government health establishments, often the cost of the medicine they prescribe is steep, especially for the poor.
    • Office space will be rented out at nominal prices to IT firms.
    • If a nominal charge was introduced to defray the cost, I don't think too many people would complain.
    token, symbolic, emblematic, peppercorn; tiny, minute, minimal, small, infinitesimal, insignificant, trifling, not worth mentioning, not worth bothering about
    informal minuscule, piddling, piffling
    North American informal nickel-and-dime
    rare exiguous
  • 3(Of a quantity or dimension) stated or expressed but not necessarily corresponding exactly to the real value: EU legislation allowed variation around the nominal weight (that printed on each packet)
    More example sentences
    • All of these are nominal dimensions and we have to remember that there are always some tolerance spreads in brass.
    • Using the Friction Loss Chart as described above, the minimum nominal size of the main line is 3/4 inch.
    • We agree that the road runs straight as it passes through the scene and has a nominal width of around 6 metres.
  • 3.1 Economics Expressed in terms of current prices or figures, without making allowance for changes over time: the nominal exchange rate
    More example sentences
    • In spite of the existing low nominal interest rates, the real interest rates in the economy are still high, and also the credit off-take is low.
    • This is borne out by several studies that concur in stating real and nominal rates ‘are leading indicators of future output.’
    • During the transition, inflation would lower real rates; nominal rates would adjust incompletely.
  • 4 Grammar Relating to or functioning as a noun: a nominal group
    More example sentences
    • One tends to think of participants in a process as nominal entities designated by noun phrases.
    • Similar are sentences in which a pronoun or noun phrase with general reference is used instead of the nominal relative clause.
    • It is however a noun and ‘after’ clauses are nominal.
  • 5 informal (Chiefly in the context of space travel) functioning normally or acceptably.
    More example sentences
    • Spacecraft operations engineers take control of the satellite after it separates from the launch vehicle up to the time when the satellite is safely positioned in its final nominal orbit.
    • Since injection into orbit the spacecraft's behaviour has been nominal.
    • They are supplying ‘mission control’ with a steady stream of valuable data and all systems are nominal.



[sentence adverb]: he refused, nominally on health grounds
More example sentences
  • The book is nominally about a circus that comes to a small, anonymous, Hungarian town.
  • When he was picked, Idei was nominally fifteenth in line among Sony executives for the top spot.
  • The churches, even those nominally run by male clergy, have long since been turned over to women.


late 15th century (as a term in grammar): from Latin nominalis, from nomen, nomin- 'name'.

More definitions of nominal

Definition of nominal in: