in name only

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in name only

nominally; not actual, only by terminology. The president is head of the country in name only. Congress makes the laws. Mr. Smith is the boss of the Smith Company in name only. Mrs. Smith handles all the business affairs.
See also: name

in name only

having a particular title without the power or duties that are a part of it He was my father in name only – I never saw him while I was growing up.
See also: name

in name only

if something exists in name only, it is officially described in a particular way, although that description is not really true Two-thirds of the population are Catholic, though many are so in name only.
See also: name

in name only

Also, only in name. Nominally, not actually. For example, He's the chief executive in name only; his vice-president makes all the decisions, or Theirs was a marriage only in name; they lived on different continents. [Late 1300s]
See also: name