I want to describe a player who is not officially the captain of a team but shoulders as much responsibility. I have read the phrase in name only being used when a person holds a title, but doesn't perform or is unable to perform the duties typically associated with it. I would guess that in my case I am looking for a phrase which is opposite of in name only. The person is performing the duties but doesn't officially hold the title.

I searched for the opposite on Google but couldn't find one. Ended up with a similar result from a couple of dictionary searches as well.

  • 6
    You want de facto. – Dan Bron May 7 '15 at 20:54
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  • @DanBron That would be a good answer. – DJClayworth May 8 '15 at 1:20

The person is performing the duties but doesn't officially hold the title.

Jerry is the CEO in name only.

Csarina is effectively the CEO:

1.1 Actually but not officially or explicitly:



I think Scot's answer is perhaps more accurate, but for my exact sentence I ended up using:

in all but name

It applies to conditions as well and is not limited to describing a person. Source: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/in+all+but+name

  • 3
    I consider that an excellent choice, @Shashank. In all but name is the opposite of in name only. – ScotM May 8 '15 at 15:30

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