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no·tion·al / ˈnōshənəl/ • adj. 1. existing only in theory or as a suggestion or idea: notional budgets for hospital and community health services. ∎  existing only in the imagination: Lizzie seemed to vanish into thin air, as if her presence were merely notional.2. Linguistics denoting or relating to an approach to grammar that is dependent on the definition of terminology (e.g., “a verb is an action word”) as opposed to identification of structures and processes.3. (in language teaching) denoting or relating to a syllabus that aims to develop communicative competence.DERIVATIVES: no·tion·al·ly adv.