[ noh-shuh-nl ]
See synonyms for notional on
  1. pertaining to or expressing a notion or idea.

  2. of the nature of a notion or idea: a notional response to the question.

  1. abstract, theoretical, or speculative, as reflective thought.

  2. not real or actual; ideal or imaginary: to create a notional world for oneself.

  3. given to or full of foolish or fanciful ideas or moods.

  4. Grammar.

    • relating to the meaning expressed by a linguistic form.

    • having full lexical meaning, in contrast to relational.

  5. 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

Other words from notional

  • no·tion·al·i·ty, noun
  • no·tion·al·ly, adverb
  • non·no·tion·al, adjective
  • un·no·tion·al, adjective
  • un·no·tion·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use notional in a sentence

  • Notionally, the speech was merely to announce how many U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan over the next 18 months.

  • Had it undertaken to convey, or ought it to be expected to impart anything defined, anything notionally recognizable?

    A Dish Of Orts | George MacDonald
  • And though God be loved as one that is notionally conceived to be best, and most to be loved, yet he is not loved best or most.

British Dictionary definitions for notional


/ (ˈnəʊʃənəl) /

  1. relating to, expressing, or consisting of notions or ideas

  2. not evident in reality; hypothetical or imaginary: a notional tax credit

  1. characteristic of a notion or concept, esp in being speculative or imaginary; abstract

  2. grammar

    • (of a word) having lexical meaning

    • another word for semantic

Derived forms of notional

  • notionally, 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