Grammar. a word or group of words functioning as a noun.

Origin of nominal

1425–75; late Middle English nominalle of a noun < Latin nōminālis of, belonging to a name, nominal, equivalent to nōmin- (stem of nōmen; see nomen) + -ālis -al1
Related formspre·nom·i·nal, adjectiveun·nom·i·nal, adjectiveun·nom·i·nal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for nominal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nominal

Contemporary Examples of nominal

Historical Examples of nominal

  • His imprisonment was intended to be little more than nominal.


    James Anthony Froude

  • Such was the character of the nominal peace which now existed.

  • The land was let at a nominal rent, as being almost valueless.

    The O'Donoghue

    Charles James Lever

  • These can be procured through any local dealer at a nominal sum.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

  • “Of course they can, if they must,” returned their nominal mistress.

    Clare Avery

    Emily Sarah Holt

British Dictionary definitions for nominal



in name only; theoreticalthe nominal leader
minimal in comparison with real worth or what is expected; tokena nominal fee
of, relating to, constituting, bearing, or giving a name
grammar of or relating to a noun or noun phrase


grammar a nominal element; a noun, noun phrase, or syntactically similar structure
bell-ringing the harmonic an octave above the strike tone of a bell
Derived Formsnominally, adverb

Word Origin for nominal

C15: from Latin nōminālis of a name, from nōmen name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nominal

early 15c., "pertaining to nouns," from Latin nominalis "pertaining to a name or names," from nomen (genitive nominis) "name," cognate with Old English nama (see name (n.)). Meaning "of the nature of names" (in distinction to things) is from 1610s. Meaning "being so in name only" first recorded 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper