nominal

adjective
nom·​i·​nal | \ ˈnä-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce nominal (audio) , ˈnäm-nəl \

Definition of nominal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being a noun or a word or expression taking a noun construction
2a : of, relating to, or constituting a name
b : bearing the name of a person
3a : existing or being something in name or form only nominal head of his party
b : of, being, or relating to a designated or theoretical size that may vary from the actual : approximate the pipe's nominal size
c : trifling, insignificant his involvement was nominal charged only nominal rent
4 of a rate of interest
a : equal to the annual rate of simple interest that would obtain if interest were not compounded when in fact it is compounded and paid for periods of less than a year
b : equal to the percentage by which a repaid loan exceeds the principal borrowed with no adjustment made for inflation
5 : being according to plan : satisfactory everything was nominal during the launch

nominal

noun
nom·​i·​nal | \ ˈnä-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce nominal (audio) , ˈnäm-nəl \

Definition of nominal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word or word group functioning as a noun

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from nominal

Adjective

nominally adverb

Synonyms for nominal

Synonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Something nominal exists only in name. So the nominal ruler in a constitutional monarchy is the king or queen, but the real power is in the hands of the elected prime minister. In the United Kingdom, the British monarch is also the nominal head of the Church of England; and those baptized in the Church who aren't really churchgoers might be called nominal Christians. A fee can be called nominal when it's small in comparison to the value of what it buys. So, for example, you might sell a friend a good piece of furniture for a nominal amount. And the charge for a doctor's visit might be a nominal $20, since most of the cost is covered by an insurance plan.

Examples of nominal in a Sentence

Adjective What gave it resonance was that she was reflecting—in a fun-house mirror—the thuggish behavior of her nominal betters. — Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker, 5 Dec. 2005 Instead they will decentralize and devolve power, and rely on the people over whom they have nominal authority to be self-organizing. — Francis Fukuyama, Atlantic, May 1999 Approaching his 68th birthday, Rockefeller had never imagined that his twilight years would be so eventful. His fortune had failed to purchase him even a poor man's mite of tranquillity. As nominal president of Standard Oil, he was in a bind, responsible for actions he had not approved. — Ron Chernow, Business Week, 18 May 1998 Each of the ten years of nominal peace saw plenty of bloodshed. — Theodore Roosevelt, The Winning of the West: 1769-1776, (1894) 1995 Her title of vice president had been nominal only. They charge a nominal fee for the service.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Democrat Mike Levin easily won the election against Republican Diane Harkey, who didn’t put up much of a fight even though the GOP had a nominal voter registration advantage at the time. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Script flips in San Diego congressional races," 18 Sep. 2020 But the poll showed Mr. Biden with a nominal lead of two percentage points in that district. Matt Stevens, New York Times, "Virus Pulls Down Trump, Poll Shows, and G.O.P. Senators Suffer With Him," 18 Sep. 2020 Initially, Green Party officials faxed in an affidavit of candidacy for a placeholder candidate — under whose nominal candidacy the party gathered the signatures — by the Aug. 3 deadline. Marc Levy, Star Tribune, "Green Party candidate is ordered off Pennsylvania ballot," 17 Sep. 2020 Government health systems pay less than what private insurers in the U.S. do, but drug makers are by law required to give Medicare, Medicaid and hospital pharmacies hefty discounts that can increase nominal prices. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump and Future Cancer Cures," 16 Sep. 2020 Brown also has to remain active offensively, so the Heat aren’t able to park a nominal defender. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Winderman: Breaking down Heat-Celtics matchups, defensive challenges and a tough call | Commentary," 14 Sep. 2020 The standard economic literature that immigration increases aggregate wealth, and has minimal impact on low-wage workers, is presented as uncontroversial and unchallenged, despite a nominal nod to restrictionists such as George Borjas. Razib Khan, National Review, "One Billion Americans: A Contrarian Liberal Argues for Mass Immigration," 12 Sep. 2020 This problem did not arise only after the fall of the Soviet Union and Russia’s nominal transformation to a market economy. Jennifer Taub, Washington Post, "Trump among the kleptocrats," 3 Sep. 2020 The idea is to replicate the long-term positive returns typically generated by bonds while finding alternative ways to hedge a downturn in stocks, especially if higher inflation upends low-yielding nominal debt. Justina Lee, Bloomberg.com, "Bridgewater’s Risk-Parity Shift Jolts a $400 Billion Quant Trade," 1 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nominal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nominal

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1904, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nominal

Adjective and Noun

Middle English nominalle, from Medieval Latin nominalis, from Latin, of a name, from nomin-, nomen name — more at name

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nominal

Time Traveler for nominal

Time Traveler

The first known use of nominal was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for nominal

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nominal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nominal. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nominal

nominal

adjective
How to pronounce nominal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nominal

formal
: existing as something in name only : not actual or real
: very small in amount

nominal

adjective
nom·​i·​nal | \ ˈnä-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce nominal (audio) \

Kids Definition of nominal

1 : existing as something in name only He was the nominal head of the government.
2 : very small There's just a nominal fee.

Other Words from nominal

nominally adverb

nominal

adjective
nom·​i·​nal | \ ˈnä-mən-ᵊl How to pronounce nominal (audio) \

Legal Definition of nominal

1 : existing or being something in name or form but usually not in reality defenses…raised by the corporation as nominal defendant in a derivative suit— R. C. Clark
2 : being so small or trivial as to be a mere token charging a nominal fee
3 of a rate of interest
a : equal to the annual rate of simple interest that would obtain if interest were not compounded when in fact it is compounded and paid for periods of less than a year
b : equal to the percentage by which a repaid loan exceeds the principal borrowed with no adjustment made for inflation — compare effective sense 4

Other Words from nominal

nominally adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nominal

What made you want to look up nominal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!