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I'm looking for a word that has the opposite meaning of the word nominal in the sense of in name only.

Here's an example (fill in the blank).

Brian was in charge of scheduling in his [    ] role as Project Manager.
He was often expected to carry out Project Management duties, even though his business card identified him as a programmer.

De facto sort of works, but I feel like the connotation of (in my example) having the role by tradition or default doesn't fit what I am trying to say.

I am essentially looking for a term that means we don't call it that, but in practice it really is.

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Obligatory economics joke: inflation-adjusted. –  Joshua Karstendick Dec 3 '10 at 23:21
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How about anominal? Not anonymal, and not an animal, nor an anonymal nominally mammalian animal. Okay, I'm done. –  Jon Purdy Dec 3 '10 at 23:32

10 Answers 10

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I think "We don't call it that, but in practice it really is" is a pretty good definition for de facto.

actual; especially: being such in effect though not formally recognized

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In some contexts, virtual might work too. "What with doing all the scheduling and conflict resolution and interfacing with upper management, Brian became a virtual Project Manager, even though his business card still just said 'Programmer'." –  Marthaª Jan 4 '12 at 21:56
    
@tchrist: your edit made it ambiguous as to which quote you're attributing to Merriam-Webster. I would think the link is attribution enough: even if the destination goes away, the link will still tell you where it used to lead. –  Marthaª Jul 8 at 1:04
    
A link is not an attribution. People should not need a link to figure out where you are copypasting from. Please always provide the name of where you got these copy-pasted citations from. See the meta question on What to do about missing source attributions: Copying, Linking, Attributions, and Plagiarism for discussion about this. –  tchrist Jul 8 at 1:06
    
@tchrist: in what way is this answer in any way "copypasting"? ("Copypasting" is defined as providing an answer that is 100% quoted, with no additional input. It's really not a nice thing to say about someone's post.) –  Marthaª Jul 8 at 1:07
    
What’s the part in quotes — that is, actual; especially: being such in effect though not formally recognized — if it is not copypasting? And where is that citation from? –  tchrist Jul 8 at 1:09

Actual? Effective? In this case I'd simply put:

Brian was in charge of scheduling in his role as project manager. He was often expected to carry out project management duties, even though his business card identified him as a programmer.

You can't be a Project Manager if you're not a Project Manager, but you can be a project manager if you just manage a project. In the former, you're stating a wishy-washy claim to a title, but in the latter you're simply relating a part of your job.

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Effective kind of works, but it doesn't have the exact feel that I'm looking for. Still +1 for a workable answer. –  JohnFx Dec 3 '10 at 22:21

I think a minor rephrasing makes de facto the best choice:

Brian was in charge of scheduling in his role as de facto Project Manager. He was often expected to carry out Project Management duties, even though his business card identified him as a programmer.

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It's a long phrase but you can also use "in everything but name"

Brian was in charge of scheduling, being the Project Manager in everything but name. He was often expected to carry out Project Management duties, even though his business card identified him as a programmer.

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Interestingly, it also reads well repunctuated as: 'Brian was in charge of scheduling. Being the Project Manager in everything but name, he was often expected to carry out Project Management duties, even though his business card identified him as a programmer.' –  Jonathan Leffler Dec 4 '10 at 16:05

Merriam-Webster lists the following antonyms (and near antonyms) of nominal: material, actual, real, true.

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You might try "real-life" there. It would emphasize the shirt-sleeves, day-to-day aspect of genuine or actual.

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I would use something along the lines of "practical" or "practiced." "Assumed" might work better in this case though.

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Other possible alternatives are supposed, putative, notional, theoretical and ostensible.

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I would rather use the word maximal:

Brian was in charge of scheduling in his maximal role as Project Manager. He was often expected to carry out Project Management duties, even though his business card identified him as a programmer.

As the word nominal means existing in name only. The word maximal being an exact antonym brings out the apt meaning into the sentence.

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That's not what maximal means at all. Maximal has no connotation of reality vs named. –  Mitch Nov 22 '12 at 22:50

Official, assigned, ex-officio, working, expert?

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"Official, assigned, ex-officio" are the opposite of what OP's final sentence tells us is sought. –  StoneyB Nov 23 '12 at 4:28

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