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Pronunciation: nah-mê-nêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. (Grammar) Related to a noun, nouns, or a noun phrase. 2. Related to a name or names. 3. Functioning in name only. 4. Trifling, insignificant. 5. (Aeronautics) Normal, ordinary.

Notes: Here is an adjective with a large extended family. The adverb is nominally, the quality noun is nominality. To convert to a noun is nominalize, but if you nominate someone for a particular job, you name them for that position. In philosophy, nominalism is the belief that things called the same thing are similar in that name only.

In Play: This word originally referred to names: "Harvey Milquetoast is the nominal (in name only) head of the family, but his wife actually runs the household." But the Latin word for "name" also became the word for "noun": "The nominal form of strong is strength."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Old French nominalle "pertaining to noun", which French inherited from Latin nominalis "related to a name or names". The Latin word was based on nomen, nominis "name", inherited from PIE no-men- "name", source also of English name, French nom "name, noun", and German Name. Greek turned the PIE word into onoma, onyma "name", visible in all the Hellenic borrowings in English like synonym, homonym, and antonym. In the Slavic languages it became something like Russian imya, imeni and Serbo-Croatian ime, imeni. In Welsh it became enw, in Irish ainm, in Breton anv. It was honed down to anun in Armenian.

Dr. Goodword,

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