1. pertaining to or expressing a notion or idea.
  2. of the nature of a notion or idea: a notional response to the question.
  3. abstract, theoretical, or speculative, as reflective thought.
  4. not real or actual; ideal or imaginary: to create a notional world for oneself.
  5. given to or full of foolish or fanciful ideas or moods.
  6. Grammar.
    1. relating to the meaning expressed by a linguistic form.
    2. having full lexical meaning, in contrast to relational.
  7. Semantics. belonging to a class of words that express clear concepts rather than relations between concepts; presentive.Compare relational(def 3), symbolic(def 4).

Origin of notional

First recorded in 1590–1600; notion + -al1
Related formsno·tion·al·i·ty, nounno·tion·al·ly, adverbnon·no·tion·al, adjectiveun·no·tion·al, adjectiveun·no·tion·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for notionally

Contemporary Examples of notionally

Historical Examples of notionally

British Dictionary definitions for notionally


  1. relating to, expressing, or consisting of notions or ideas
  2. not evident in reality; hypothetical or imaginarya notional tax credit
  3. characteristic of a notion or concept, esp in being speculative or imaginary; abstract
  4. grammar
    1. (of a word) having lexical meaning
    2. another word for semantic
Derived Formsnotionally, adverb
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 notionally



"pertaining to notions," 1590s, from notion + -al (earlier nocional, late 14c., from Medieval Latin notionalis). Meaning "full of whims" is from 1791. Grammatical sense is from 1928 (Jespersen); economics use is from 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper