no·​tion·​al | \ˈnō-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\

Definition of notional 

2 : existing in the mind only : imaginary

3 : given to foolish or fanciful moods or ideas

4a : of, relating to, or being a notion or idea : conceptual

b(1) : presenting an idea of a thing, action, or quality has is notional in he has luck, relational in he has gone

(2) : of or representing what exists or occurs in the world of things as distinguished from syntactic categories

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from notional

notionality \ ˌnō-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē \ noun
notionally \ ˈnō-​shnə-​lē , -​shə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Examples of notional in a Sentence

The notional earnings of the company were close to the actual ones. she has a notional understanding of romantic love but no actual experience of being in love

Recent Examples on the Web

Two years ago, the idea of cooperating with Trump on his notional desire for a massive infrastructure bill was the leading alternative concept to resistance. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The lesson of the midterms: resistance works," 7 Nov. 2018 Today, the notional value of weather futures and options traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is approximately $362 million, according to a CME spokesman. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "How Do Energy Companies Measure the Temperature? Not in Fahrenheit or Celsius," 14 Sep. 2018 Today, because the UK and the Republic of Ireland are both members of the EU, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is purely notional. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "As clock ticks down, Britain finally reveals its plan for Brexit. What now?," 11 July 2018 Investors traded a record number of futures contracts tied to the dollar against the offshore yuan on Hong Kong’s exchange on Tuesday, representing a notional value of $2.2 billion, according to Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. Saumya Vaishampayan, WSJ, "China’s Yuan Reverses Course, Rises Against Dollar," 4 July 2018 Altogether, the orders in question represented more than five billion shares with a notional value of more than $141 billion, according to the SEC. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Bank of America to Pay $42 Million to Settle SEC Electronic-Trading Charges," 19 June 2018 For example, 16% of its €42trn of notional derivatives have a maturity of over five years. The Economist, "Should one of the world’s largest banks be wound down?," 19 Apr. 2018 The Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted 2-1 for a proposal that would permanently set the threshold for swap-dealer registration at $8 billion in annual notional value. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, "Regulators Back Threshold for Swap-Dealer Registration at $8 Billion," 4 June 2018 SpaceX has a notional goal of launching the first BFR to Mars in 2022. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk shows off a new tooling for the BFR spaceship," 9 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'notional.' 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 notional

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about notional

Statistics for notional

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for notional

The first known use of notional was in 1597

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for notional



English Language Learners Definition of notional

: existing as an idea rather than as something real

More from Merriam-Webster on notional

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for notional

Comments on notional

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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