I'm looking for a word in that is an antonym of operational in something other than "does it function" and the online dictionary/thesaurus don't have it. Can you help me find the word, and tell me how you did it so I can find it myself later?

How I would like to use it:

  • The enumerated operational deliverables are one, two, and three; while the enumerated _______ deliverables are exx, wie, and tzee.

Webster gives the following definition for "operational":
enter image description here

My purpose uses it in the sense of day-to-day operations.

It goes on to enumerate antonyms and synonyms as follows:
enter image description here

These are really on the "does it work vs. does it not work" spectrum. They are not on the "day-to-day, recurring, small scope, tactical operations as contrasted against serving a non-recurring, larger scoped, more strategic goal."

Options that don't work:

  • strategy vs. tactics: It is primarily military terminology about the execution of war, or about very high (CEO-scale) corporate jargon. I think of operations as the things that keep the factory lights on, place clean and operating properly, the machines supplied with their inputs, and with room to output their outputs.
  • Functional vs. non-functional. This is about scope, not about functionality.
  • Deliverable. It could be argued that a deliverable encompasses both operational and the word that I am trying to find.
  • Material. I work with folks who will view it as input to a production process and not as an outcome of a particular type of work.

(update) About what should work:

  • it is a kind of deliverable, but deliverable is too broad, and material gets confused with the 5M+E/Ishikawa input. It tends to be one-off instead of recurring. Balancing books is operations, but making the certification tests for the new mark-3 widget isn't the same thing.
  • it is an antonym to operational, as in not sweeping floors or keeping lights on. It is about scope of functionality, not whether or not function exists.
  • it is more strategic than tactical in terms of scope, but the word isn't strategic because of the baggage that comes with it. Sometimes it is tactical, as in local goal oriented. Mostly it serves strategic goals.
  • 2
    You don't really explain what you mean by the opposite of operational. Maybe value-creating, business-critical, long-term, functional, profit-centre, sales? Strategic in business often returns to long-term planning as opposed to day to day work, but you seem to rule that out. Are you referring to the actual job of a business e.g. for an architectural firm designing buildings or for a software firm writing software, or a higher-level management or planning function?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 16:37
  • 2
    "Nonoperational" is the opposite of "operational" in every sense of the word. There are specific terms for nonoperational items, like employees not directly involved in operations (i.e., nonoperational employees) are categorized as either "support staff" or "management"; nonoperational expenses (i.e., expenses that don't directly fund operations) are called "overhead"; nonoperational material (i.e., material not used in operations, not used to directly manufacture goods, provide consumers services, wage war, etc.) is called "materiel." So there are other terms, but you must be more specific. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 2:26
  • 1
    It it necessary to give an example sentence when making single word requests.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 10:06
  • 1
    More than an example sentence, I think we need a description of a particular scenario, e.g. "for this business (description of business) it would describe these tasks (list of things done within the business)."
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 11:50
  • 1
    Collins gives a more appropriate definition: . operational: Operational factors or problems relate to the working of a system, device, or plan. // Stretching this to mean 'normal / usual / mundane [factors / processes / ...]', 'extraordinary' is a word that comes to mind (as in AGM) but its default meaning shouts too loudly. 'Supramundane' is too rarefied. I'd go with non-routine. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 13:49

2 Answers 2



From Collins Dictionary:

  1. ADJECTIVE [ADJ n] Organizational abilities and methods relate to the way that work, activities, or events are planned and arranged. Evelyn's excellent organizational skills were soon spotted by her employers.


  • 1
    I really don't think that organizational is the opposite of operational. It may be what the OP was looking for, in which case his/her description falls flat.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 15:21
  • Agreed. I kinda just got what the OP was looking for.
    – bhinojosa
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 8:08

Obsolete: A. adj.1. No longer used or practised; ....

1930 Economist 25 Jan. 163/2 The managing director of an important ship-building firm..expresses agreement with a statement that much of the plant in this industry is obsolete.

1967 A. E. Stevenson New Amer. II. iii. 64 Nothing is more hazardous in military policy than rigid adherence to obsolete ideas.

More obviously: Non-operational.

  • Something can be non-operational because it is broken or out of order or even non-functioning.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 15:22
  • @Lambie I agree, but we both agree that it can also describe those things that are necessary but not directly/immediately concerned with the aim/goal. The OP uses an example in which they say "I want to talk about... deliverables" I'm not sure why they would want to talk about things that are broken or out of order or even non-functioning, but I suppose it is possible.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 21:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.