AskDefine | Define nominal

Dictionary Definition

nominal adj
1 relating to or constituting or bearing or giving a name; "the Russian system of nominal brevity"; "a nominal lists of priests"; "taxable males as revealed by the nominal rolls"
2 insignificantly small; a matter of form only (`tokenish' is informal); "the fee was nominal"; "a token gesture of resistance"; "a tokenish gesture" [syn: token(a), tokenish]
3 pertaining to a noun or to a word group that functions as a noun; "nominal phrase"; "noun phrase"
4 being value in terms of specification on currency or stock certificates rather than purchasing power; "nominal or face value" [ant: real]
5 named; bearing the name of a specific person; "nominative shares of stock" [syn: nominative]
6 being such in name only; "the nominal (or titular) head of his party" [syn: titular]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From the nominalle "of nouns" < nōminālis "of names" < nōmen "name".

Adjective

  1. Of, resembling, relating to, or consisting of a name or names.
  2. Assigned to or bearing a person's name.
  3. Existing in name only.
  4. Of or relating to nominalism.
  5. Insignificantly small; trifling.
    He gave me only a nominal sum for my services.
  6. Of or relating to the presumed or approximate value, rather than the actual value.
    The nominal voltage is 1.5 V, but the actual figure is usually higher.
  7. In the context of "business": Of, relating to, or being the amount or face value of a sum of money or a stock certificate, for example, and not the purchasing power or market value.
  8. In the context of "business": Of, relating to, or being the rate of interest or return without adjustment for compounding or inflation.
  9. Of or relating to a noun or word group that functions as a noun.
    This sentence contains a nominal phrase.
  10. In the context of "engineering": According to plan or design.
    We'll just do a nominal flight check.
  11. Without adjustment to remove the effects of inflation; contrasted with real.
    My employer does not understand how low my nominal wage is.
    The nominal GNP of this polity is pretty low.
  12. Of a variable: having values whose order is insignificant.

Derived terms

Translations

of or related to a name or names
  • French: nominal
  • Portuguese: nominal
  • Romanian: nominal
of or relating to the presumed or approximate value
  • Czech: jmenovitý
of or relating to a noun
  • Portuguese: nominal
  • Romanian: nominal
economics: without adjustment to remove the effects of inflation
  • Czech: nominální
statistics: having values whose order is insignificant
  • Czech: nominální

French

Etymology

nominalis

Pronunciation

/nɔ.mi.nal/|lang=fr

Adjective

  1. nominal

Noun

  1. nominal

Portuguese

Etymology

nominalis

Adjective

  1. nominal

Romanian

Etymology

nominalis

Pronunciation

Adjective

  1. nominal

Declension

Extensive Definition

The adjective nominal (ultimately from Latin nōmen, "name") generally relates to the concept of names, and often to the difference between what something is in name (ideally or theoretically) and what it is in reality.

General principles

A nominal quantity (e.g., length, diameter, speed, volume, voltage, value) is generally the ideal quantity according to which some item has been named. Such a nominal value may often be different from the actual value, having a relation to the actual value that is anywhere on a spectrum from closely related (for example, differing only within a range of acceptable random variation) to only distantly related. An example of the former is a type of battery that has an actual voltage of 1.62 V, but is called a "1.5 volt battery"; it has a nominal voltage of 1.5 V (which cannot be measured anywhere). An example of the latter is the nominal size 2×4 for dimensional lumber: its actual size is 1½″ × 3½″ (38×89 mm) (plus or minus some small tolerance).
In human cognition, there are at least two concepts that relate to a difference between what something is in name and what it is in reality: (1) whether we even perceive that the difference exists; and (2) if so, whether we judge that the difference matters to us. A judgment in one case that the difference is very important and another judgment in another case that the difference is very unimportant can both relate to the concept of "in name only": we emphasize that the difference exists, in order to implicitly emphasize either its importance or unimportance. In the latter case (unimportance), the word nominal can approach synonymity with "small" or "unimportant", such as in the phrase paying a nominal fee. The fee is a monetary expense in name only; in reality, the amount does not matter very much. In the former case (importance), the word nominal can emphasize the irony of false appearances or assumptions, such as when a certain police department is especially corrupt—because we archetypically equate police to "the good guys", we may emphasize the badness of this department by saying that they are nominally the face of law and order in their community: that is, in name only.

Specific meanings deriving from the general concepts above

Economics

In economics, a nominal value is the listed value of an item in a monetary currency as opposed to the 'real' value in terms of purchasing power. See real versus nominal value. A nominal interest rate may refer to either a rate of interest that is not re-stated to correct for compounding, or an interest rate that does not take into account inflation (to derive the real interest rate).

Engineering

In engineering, nominal regarding measurements generally can be defined as "what is predicted without considering what deviation may occur or whether it is acceptable"; or "what is predicted plus or minus X number of standard deviations". The use of the phrase "all systems nominal" at NASA indicates that telemetry is reading as expected from historical data trends. This concept often overlaps with the layperson's sense of the word normal, but nominal does not always mean normal.

Law

In law, nominal damages may be assessed by a jury or judge in a lawsuit when it is found that the defendant committed the act complained of by the plaintiff, but that no harm was suffered by the plaintiff as a result.

Linguistics

In linguistics, a nominal is a word or group of words functioning as a noun. The word is also sometimes used as a shortened form of "nominal phrase", a synonym for "noun phrase". "Nominal" can also mean a sequence of one or more nouns that do not form a complete noun phrase. In other uses, it refers to a class of word that encapsulates both parts of speech in English as nouns and adjectives.

Statistics

In statistics, nominal data is a form of categorical data where the order of the categories is not significant. This is sometimes contracted to nominals.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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