6

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.

4
  • 1
    Obligatory economics joke: inflation-adjusted. Dec 3, 2010 at 23:21
  • 1
    How about anominal? Not anonymal, and not an animal, nor an anonymal nominally mammalian animal. Okay, I'm done.
    – Jon Purdy
    Dec 3, 2010 at 23:32
  • 1
    In some senses 'substantial' can also work.
    – Resquiens
    May 19, 2015 at 22:24
  • "Unofficial" .....
    – SAH
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:44

13 Answers 13

14

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

8
  • 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, 2012 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, 2014 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, 2014 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, 2014 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, 2014 at 1:09
8

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.

1
  • 1
    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, 2010 at 22:21
6

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.

5

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.

1
  • 2
    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.' Dec 4, 2010 at 16:05
2

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

1

Tacit. Oxford Living Dictionaries has this definition:

tacit ADJECTIVE Understood or implied without being stated.

2
  • Hi, and welcome to English Language & Usage. I've added a link to a dictionary definition of tacit that matched yours (except that it also adds the phrase "without being stated" to the end of the definition). At this site we try to provide reference-work support for definitions of words suggested in response to single-word requests. Thanks!
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 30, 2016 at 6:13
  • Word. See what i did there?
    – Jess
    Sep 30, 2016 at 6:14
0

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

0

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

0

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

0

The most fitting antonym to nominal (or any other word for that matter) usually emerges from contextual usage. From the information you have provided, de facto seems the most apt. If you are allergic to Latin, you may try 'factual' or 'substantive.' However, make sure your ultimate choice blends with your contetual usage.

0

It depends on what point you are trying to make. Is this a positive bragging point or indicating he was put upon to do this extra task? If it's for bragging rights, try: Though Brian’s business card identified him as a programmer, his role was often expanded to include Project Manager duties, as one was being in charge of scheduling. If it was a burden, try: Brian’s business card identified him as a programmer, but he was often expected to carry out some project manager duties. He was put in charge of doing the scheduling. For more bland, try: Brian was often expected to carry out Project Management duties, like being in charge of scheduling, but his business card identified him as a programmer.

Also, as nominal means supposed, so-called, token, insignificant, assumed, considered, expected, try looking up opposites of these in a thesaurus. I just used the 1 in my word processer.

-1

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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  • 2
    That's not what maximal means at all. Maximal has no connotation of reality vs named.
    – Mitch
    Nov 22, 2012 at 22:50
-2

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

1
  • "Official, assigned, ex-officio" are the opposite of what OP's final sentence tells us is sought. Nov 23, 2012 at 4:28

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